For the 25th anniversary of NYC’s favorite winter tradition, enchanting model trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center on nearly a half-mile of track. The recent exhibition expansion continues with more trains, an all-new Queensboro bridge, and a true New York finale featuring a whimsical tribute to the iconic Coney Island amusement park’s architecture and attractions.
This year’s New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show® will exhibit its first roller coaster. The Coney Island Cyclone will join NYBG’s collection of more than 150 replicas of New York buildings that are all made out of plant parts and enlivened by large-scale model trains. The Holiday Train Show runs through Monday, January 16, 2017. In addition to the famous Cyclone, new this year are Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel (complete with LED sign) and the Elephantine Colossus, a gigantic elephant-shaped hotel from the 1890s. The Holiday Train Show already features several Coney Island structures, including the Galveston Flood Building, the Luna Park Arch, the Luna Park Central Tower, and the Luna Park Ticket Booth. All of the collection’s Coney Island models will be displayed in the Reflecting Pool of the Palms of the World Gallery in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. This year the 30-foot-long Brooklyn Bridge will be relocated to the Palms Gallery, completing the Brooklyn scene. The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge will also make its exhibition debut. The Holiday Train Show rolled out an expansion last year of more than 3,000 square feet and the addition of an introductory short film about the exhibition’s behind-the-scenes magic. The response from visitors was overwhelmingly positive, and the expansion remains in place this year. In celebration of the 25th Annual showcase, a new book entitled The Holiday Train Show: A City within a City will be published. Dazzling full-page views of the entire spectacle make the experience come alive for readers, while essays explore the engineering of the tracks and bridges as well as notable featured trains.
In the Holiday Train Show, more than 25 G-scale model trains and trolleys will hum along nearly a half mile of track past re-creations of iconic sites such as the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, The New York Public Library, and Radio City Music Hall. Artistically crafted by Paul Busse’s team at Applied Imagination, all of the New York landmarks—which include Hudson River Valley houses and other buildings from New York State as well—are made of natural materials such as bark, twigs, stems, fruits, seeds, and pine cones. American steam engines, streetcars from the late 1800s, and modern freight and passenger trains ride underneath overhead trestles, through tunnels, and across rustic bridges and past waterfalls that cascade into flowing creeks. Thomas the Tank Engine™ and other beloved trains disguised as large colorful insects delight children as they zoom by. Seasonal events and programming accompanying the Holiday Train Show include Bar Car Nights, Evergreen Express for children, Holiday Tree Lighting, annual poetry reading with NYBG poet laureate Billy Collins, Winter Harmonies Concerts, All Aboard with Thomas and Friends™ mini-performances, Holiday A Cappella, and Holiday Film Screenings. Visitors can also explore 250 acres of crisp winter landscapes during tours of the Garden’s many collections and purchase gifts for everyone on their lists at NYBG Shop. Dining venues include the Gingerbread Café, a family dining option with kid-approved menu choices; the Pine Tree Café with panini, Neapolitan-style pizza, and signature snacks; and Hudson Garden Grill, a full-service dining destination featuring the innovative flavors of American cuisine. The year 2016 marks the 125th Anniversary of the founding of The New York Botanical Garden. Since 1891 NYBG has been a museum of plants dedicated to achieving excellence in horticulture, education, and plant research and conservation. Today it is one of the great cultural institutions in the world, a preeminent center for botanical research, a natural treasure for visitors of all ages, and a leader and national model for plant-based education.
Holiday Train Show at The New York Botanical Garden. All photos courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden.