The Wonders of Nature

February 15, 2017

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As the end of 2016 approached we took a look at our bucket list and decided it was time to visit the New York Botanical Garden and see its exciting and special Train Show which is celebrating it’s 25th year here. The event was from November 19th to January 16th. Take note for next year.

A replica of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory where the Holiday Train Show is located every year

One can travel to the Garden by subway, but on Tuesday, December 13th, we elected to take the 20-minute trip on the Metro North train for $13.00 round-trip from Manhattan’s Grand Central. This turned out to be an enjoyable and effortless way to go.

It’s a very short walk to the entrance of the Garden where one pays a general admission plus an extra $15.00 for the Train Show itself. Trust me, this is money well spent. The exhibit itself, which showcases more than 150 scaled and iconic buildings and structures (created with bark, leaves, twigs, bamboo, pine cones and other natural materials) is located in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a breathtakingly beautiful place.

Before we get to the exhibit itself, let’s take a quick look at four interesting facts about this institution that we distilled from the NYBG garden map.

Photo on the Garden Map: New York Botanical Garden

  • In 2016, the Garden celebrated its 125th Anniversary and its role as an oasis in a busy metropolis since 1891.
  • NYBG is a National Historic Landmark and consists of 250 acres of verdant landscape that supports over 1,000,000 living plants in extensive collections.

Ad for “Frontgate” in the Jan.-Feb. 2017 issue of Verandah magazine features prints from NYBG

  • The Garden is also a major educational institution. More than 300,000 people annually learn about plant science, ecology and healthful eating through the NYBG hands-on programs.
  • Finally, NYBG operates one of the world’s largest plant research and conservation programs, with nearly 200 staff members – including 80 Ph.D. scientists who lead programs in 49 countries.

THE TRAIN SHOW

The very first structure we saw when entering was Macy’s Herald Square. This was followed by a dazzling lineup of famous sites: the New York Public Library, Saks Fifth Avenue, the New York Stock Exchange, Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty, the Frick Museum, Grand Central Station, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Yankee Stadium and the Flatiron Building (not in this order – but you get the picture).

Postcard: New York Botanical Garden, Yankee Stadium at the Holiday Train Show

Moving on, a half-mile of brass track runs across rustic bridges, through tunnels, past cascading waterfalls and along overhead trestles. Or, as one Garden employee said to me, “The buildings are fairly easy to install – but laying all that track takes hours and hours.” Yes, I can believe this. And then there’s the steam, diesel and electric trains zipping between all the famous landmarks. We loved hearing the train whistles blowing – as did all the five-year-olds around us.  

Highland Gardens, Newburgh, New York 

WHO CREATED ALL THIS MAGIC? 

This wondrous exhibit was created way down south in Kentucky by Paul Busse at his company called, Applied Imagination  (a great name) and his fantastically creative employees who also handle projects in Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, Omaha and Cincinnati (this is a short list). Busse has a sense of humor along with his inventiveness. In a picture of him that’s on the web, he sports a T-shirt that says, “Still Plays With Trains.”

Be forewarned: wear comfortable shoes because there’s a fair amount of walking, standing and bending when peering closely at unusual details. At the end, we headed for the Pine Tree Café for giant cups of coffee and treats to rev up our energy. Our final stop was at the Garden’s spacious and beautifully stocked gift shop.

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

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2 Responses

Karen Armitage
Karen Armitage

February 20, 2017

What a fascinating special event that appealed to all ages. In future a delightful way to spend a day at any time of the year given the vastness of the gardens.

Marilynn
Marilynn

February 16, 2017

Amazing display, what a wonderful event tourists and NY’s can spend time at.

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