All Aboard for the Bronx

Botanical Gardens that is. If, like me, you have never been to the NYBG’s Holiday Train Show, don’t let another decade go by. We went and what a delight it is. Interested and informed by a fine PBS documentary, The Treasures of New York, we were eager to experience what has become another of New York’s holiday traditions. Although I am not one to seek out the snow, I have to say the Gardens had a beautiful white winter coat on

Botanical Gardens and Arthur Ave 078

and considering that we would be spending our time in the very warm Enid A. Haupt Conservatory,

Haupt conservatory corrected

the weather was fine.

You may say you’re not interested in model trains (G gauge for those in the know), but these are very special trains—“from American steam engines and streetcars from the late 1800s to modern freight and high-speed passenger trains and trolleys.” (


The buildings are set amidst rare orchids, ferns, bromeliads, violets, and palms as though New York had been transplanted whole to some tropical paradise. “Artistically crafted by Paul Busse’s team at Applied Imagination, the landmarks are made of natural materials such as bark, twigs, stems, fruits, seeds, and pine cones ….” The amazing creativity and talent behind this display have brought our city alive for us through plants, complete with recreations of old mansion-filled streets,


four New York bridges,


famous buildings, past and present, including glorious lost Penn Station,


St. Patrick’s Cathedral,


the old Yankee Stadium,


and a beautifully rendered version of the Haupt Conservatory itself.Image

While it’s wonderful to bring a child and enjoy his delightImage

every adult there was transfixed by the amazing constructions. Especially wonderful were the Alice in Wonderland-like depictions of the airport complete with leafy TWA terminal Image

and raptor-like Concorde.


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they surprised us with a midtown New York scene complete with Rock Center, the Image

Chrysler building, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Empire State.

We saw it for half price (through Travelzoo I think) but much as it pains me to suggest it, if you can’t get a discount, you should go even at full retail. This is worth it.

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