I have been ill informed about the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. I thought you actually rode a train or a train was done up in lights. In a word, it never really seemed appealing to me. But this year, with family visiting for the holiday weekend, we decided to have a look. And I was pleasantly surprised. Yes there are trains — model trains and street cars whizzing along tracks nestled among the tropical plants in the garden’s conservatory. So you’re warm and indoors! But for me, the surprise appeal were the replicas of New York City landmarks, houses and brownstones. More than 140 from all five boroughs. Each one its own botanical wonder, constructed entirely of the natural materials often destined for the compost heap: seed pods, twigs, palm sized gourds, cloves, mushrooms and some roof tops of overlapping oak leaves. Criss-crossing over our heads were New York City bridges of various tree branches with little Italian lights winding all around them. I can only imagine how spectacular the show looks at night. I had such low expectations of the show I didn’t bring my camera, but I snapped a few photos of the Bronx landmarks with my cell phone.
The Holiday Train Show ends on Sunday, January 11th. An exclusive evening viewing is open to members only on Friday, January 9th. No strollers are allowed inside the exhibit. This was a deterrent for my sister in bringing my 17 month old nephew. Much of the exhibit is eye level to a child and within easy, albeit, forbidden reach. She may forgo the Train Show for the Thomas the Tank Engine.