Back when SNL was a show I found worth watching, Mike Myers use to do a skit based on his mother-in-law. The segment was called “Coffee Talk with Linda Richman.” He would dress as a woman and with a heavy fake accent say things like “Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island; discuss”. I found this hysterical and true.
The reason I bring this up is because the title of this event is kind of like Rhode Island. It is neither really a holiday nor train show. But, we can discuss this together.
The Holiday Train Show is an annual event at the NYC Botanical Gardens. This was my second consecutive year attending and my first time going during the day. I had heard about this for so many years but because I did not really know what it was and that it would be something I would want to go to, I did not go until they were about to close last year and the only available tickets I could get were in the evening. I am glad now that I have gotten both vantage points.
The truth is last year that I was watching a holiday special on the Travel Channel, hosted by Samantha Brown, detailing her favorite things to do this time of year in her home town. When she went to the Holiday Train Show I was literally stunned by what I saw. How had no one ever mentioned this to me before? How has no one told you before? Well read closely because I am telling you now. You have to go, and you still have time, so finish this first.
The Holiday Train Show is actually this remarkable world you enter of NYC landmarks, past and present, in life like detail made from fruit and plants and all natural materials. They are preserved with painstaking efforts each year and every year there are new additions to the group. Everything is labeled by name and the year so you will never have to do any guessing. There will be familiar sites and things to learn along the way.
The trains play a small part of the exhibit which is why I am not positive why they are in the title. Though there were far more of them this year than last. They make noise now and go over and through sculptures. They are nice but I suppose mostly for the kids. I can go either way with them.
Another new addition this year was the artist workshop. They showed one centerpiece and how it was created step by step from beginning to end. That was a nice touch. I think it makes you appreciate the work behind what you are looking at. There are so many tiny pieces that go into each display it is really overwhelming.
As you walk around the exhibit (which is kept warm for the plants so dress lightly or in layers) you will marvel and point at what you see. You can take flash photography here which is yet another plus for me. I don’t want to ruin anything for you but I can’t hold this one in: there are even BRIDGES!!! That’s right. Bridges made out of twigs and plants. Honestly this exhibit should be on the register as one of the wonders of the world.
This year the first model I saw is my absolute favorite. I am still in shock as to how they managed the detail on this. It was the old JFK airport with the TWA terminal and a plane flying in the sky. It was awesome.
After last year I didn’t think I could ever be more impressed. Now I am wondering what I will see next year. That’s the thing about NYC and seasonal events like this. You always leaving wanting more and the artists behind it are working year round to make sure you get what you want.
The Holiday Train Show closes January 2nd.
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