New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show 2019

Have you ever seen a model of a famous building? Have you ever seen one that was created almost entirely from natural materials? The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show is a sight to behold! It’s a view of New York like no other because all the buildings are scale models made from a variety of natural materials, there are 25 trains and carriages that run nearly half a mile in length of lanes, and the fantastic bridges that connect the boroughs of New York hover above the sky for an aerial view.

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show 2019: Statue of Liberty and Liberty Tower (Photo: Ceara Rossetti)

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) has presented the Holiday Train Show since 1992. Paul Busse, creator of the Holiday Train Show, is a botanical and landscape architect. After graduating from college in landscape design, he discovered g-scale model trains and embarked on a journey of incorporating trains into his landscaping. Once he started installing train plans, he never stopped. He founded his company, Applied Imagination, in 1991 and has created countless award-winning garden train exhibits across the country. Although he is now retired, his daughter, Laura Busse Dolan, has taken over the business and continues his legacy of creating enchanting installations.

The 2019 NYBG Holiday Train Show featured more than 175 famous New York landmarks, from the Statue of Liberty to the Coney Island Lighthouse to the Lyndhurst Mansion, from structures demolished over the years to three that still stand, all the scale models recreated with a foam board core which is then embellished with bark, leaves, berries, seeds, acorns and other sources found in nature. Central Park and its iconic landmarks were new this year and are absolutely stunning! Bethesda Terrace, the Cop Cot, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Naumburg Bandshell, Belvedere Castle and many more have been recreated among moss and holly to represent the park itself. It is a remarkable showcase of the park and many of the aspects that make it special.

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show 2019: Radio City

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show 2019: Radio City (Photo: Ceara Rossetti)

While looking at the intricacies of each replica, a miniature train passes by every few minutes. From rod engines to passenger trains to a single car that looks like a bumblebee, the trains travel along mosses, over streams, across bridges and create a welcome sense of motion. The trains are of course a big part of the show, but what makes them even more remarkable is that this year the length of their tracks is more easily visible. The show is usually held at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, but it is currently undergoing extensive renovations. Thus, the show is in an entirely new location, which offers a clearer view of the trains, their tracks and the buildings themselves, unlike the bustling flora of the conservatory.

Entering this winter wonderland surrounding a marvelous miniature New York gives the visitor a lot to think about. Have you really looked at the buildings around you? How well do you know the history of New York? What do you like in New York? There is so much to see in New York that one wonders how these specific buildings were chosen. Sure, the Freedom Tower and Yankee Stadium are easy picks, but what about Staten Island homes and demolished buildings that no longer hold up? This exhibition is not only artistically stimulating, but encourages viewers to really take a look at their home (or wherever they are visiting), question their knowledge, and find answers to these questions.

This spectacular show is on until January 26, 2020 and is absolutely worth seeing! In person, you can look at all the fine details and understand the incredible amount of work that goes into each building. From the boughs forming the bridges to the radish seeds spelling out “RADIO CITY”, every feature is stunning. If you’re looking for a fun vacation, the Holiday Train Show at NYBG is the place to go!

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