As we all know by now, I can never get enough of the New York skyline. And apart from the more recognizable buildings – the Empire State, the Chrysler Building, Freedom Tower – I also love the aesthetic of the other properties, from apartment rows, downtown streets and olde homes. Tonight I headed to a place I could see them all in one place: the Botanical Gardens’ holiday train show.
This beloved holiday tradition is a real winner. Every Christmas for the past 22 years, the New York Botanical Gardens, which are up in the Bronx, have staged the show in their huge greenhouse. Strewn between the plants are beautifully detailed mini versions of 140 New York buildings – and even more impressively, they’re made of botanic matter, from acorn hats to bark, twigs and seeds.
Meandering between the buildings are train tracks. Electronic ladybugs, trains and Thomas the Tank Engines flit along as visitors admire the buildings.
I was amazed at every single building I passed – they kept getting better and better, and every time I thought I’d seen it all, there was some surprising detail. But my favorites were probably the model of the Botanical Gardens and the rows of apartment blocks, similar to where I live in the East Village.
The buildings are so impressive and must each take hours to create. For the past two decades, they’ve been lovingly created by Kentucky artist Paul Busse and his team. There was also a small exhibit showing his other work – which was creative and bizarre and amazing.
Getting to the Bronx wasa bit of a pain in the ass – but the show was totally worth it. I’ve been to a couple of similar events – the train show at the MTA museum and the gingerbread exhibit – but they paled in comparison to the professionalism and detail of the Botanical Gardens’ holiday train show.