Friday, December 1, 2017

Sixty at Sixty - Holiday Train Show, NY Botanical Gardens

Since 1992 the NY Botanical Gardens has been host to the Holiday Train Show, an event which is now considered one of the highlights of NY's holiday events. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory becomes a magical world of large-scale model trains running through a landscape dotted with miniature iconic NY buildings and bridges, made wholly from natural materials.

It's an event which I've meant to go to for years, yet somehow always managed to miss, but in keeping with my Sixty at Sixty challenge I decided this was the year to finally go and see what it was all about.

The intricate attention to detail on the models was mind-blowing. It just shows what can be done with nature's scraps. It's hard to believe that all the structures are made from pieces of bark, leaves, pine cones, seeds, etc.

Maybe not surprisingly, the first model is of the conservatory itself.

The Enid A Haupt Conservatory

The old Pennsylvania Railroad Station is also featured. It's hard to believe that such a beautiful building was demolished in 1964 - what were they thinking?

Pennsylvania Station

Many of the historic estates north of the city are included in the depictions, including Lyndhurst, Boscobel and the Rockefeller estate, Kykuit.
Kykuit - the Rockefeller estate, Sleepy Hollow

But there are also depictions of more modest houses such as Poe Cottage in the Bronx which was the home of Edgar Allan Poe from 1846 until his death in 1849.
Poe Cottage

Some of New York's most famous recreational locations are included:

Coney Island

Yankee Stadium

Central Park

And I was pleased to see one of my favorite buildings in New York beautifully rendered - The New York Public Library.
NY Public Library

Up above our heads, model trains zipped along through the greenery and over replicas of the many bridges in the city including the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge pictured below.

Brooklyn Bridge & Manhattan Bridge
The centerpiece, however, is the Statue of Liberty and the famous towers of the New York skyline, set on the reflecting pool under the Palm Dome. Whether it is Lady Liberty herself, the art deco of the Chrysler Building or the soaring Empire State Building, just to name a few, the attention to detail is just magnificent. 

Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building

In total there are 150 landmarks included and almost half a mile of track for the trains so there is plenty to look at.

A holiday train show may sound like an attraction aimed at either model railway enthusiasts or small children but the show at the Botanical Gardens is a delight to behold for all ages and interests. And the joy on the faces of the little ones at the sight of the trains is an added bonus.

The show runs until Monday, January 15th, 2018. Well worth a visit. 

When Mel is not out exploring she writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon.  


  1. Those are fantastic, Mel. Looks like a great time.

    1. Thanks, Karen. I wonder if any other cities have similar events.

  2. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a scale model of the city with a train circling it, but it's not quite as beautiful as these.