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Posted by on Jan 1, 2017 | 88 comments

New York City’s Holiday Train Show

Happy new year my dearest friends!

I hope all of you have started the year with the right foot.

What if I tell you I want to kick off things in the blog with magic? What about that? Are you in?

Well, as many of you may know, I spent the holidays in New York City.  Travel connoisseurs agree this is one of the best places in the world to enjoy the season.

Yes, I walked past the window displays on 5th Avenue, saw the giant tree placed in front of the Rockefeller Center and strolled around the Christmas market stalls at Bryant Park.

All that was great, but today, I want to share the place that gave me the maximum amount of goosebumps per minute, the place where I felt like a kid again.

For 25 years, the Holiday Train Show, presented inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Gardens, has been enchanting families and individuals.  This exhibition consists of model trains moving around 150 landmarks of the city.

Now, get this, all the structures have been created with natural materials such as bark, stone, leaves, flowers, twigs and so on.  I admit that doesn’t sound that exiting but wait till you see the final product.  I am warning you, it will blow your mind.

As I mentioned, the show presents more than 150 structures.  That means I went crazy taking photos and ended up with about three hundred.  To summarize things, I have decided to present the most iconic structures of New York City.  In that way, you will be able to get the wow factor since you have some sort of familiarity with the actual structure.

Here we go!

We’ll start will New York’s most famous train station and architectural marvel, the Grand Central Terminal (located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue).

Holiday Train Show

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Sport lovers will recognize the Yankee Stadium.  The model on the exhibition corresponds to the old stadium which was demolished in 2010.  A new stadium has been constructed.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Most of us can recognize Manhattan’s most iconic skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Rockefeller Center.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

In the pictures, you can also see Saks Fifth Avenue, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower and the Radio City Hall.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

They even recreated the Prometheus Statue in front of the Rockefeller Center and the Channel Gardens (where the seasonal displays are planted).

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Another landmark located close to the Rockefeller Center is the St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

And, this will not be an exhibition about New York without having the Statue of Liberty.

Holiday Train Show

Or, the main structure at Ellis Island.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Another highlight of the exhibition is the New York Public Library.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

The minds in charge of building all the models got very creative when designing the main museums of the city. Here we have the Guggenheim.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

and, The American Museum of Natural History

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

You may recognize the Washington Arch located in Washington Square.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

There were lesser known structures such as the Vanderbilt Mansion…

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

The Park Avenue Armory …

Holiday Train Show

And tons of Manhattan’s Row Houses.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Manhattan’s landmarks were heavily represented for obvious reasons but structures from the other 4 boroughs were present.  Hudson River mansions (upstate New York) recreations were on display too.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

It was beautiful to see the main structures of Coney Island forming part of the exhibition.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

The city’s most famous connector, the Brooklyn Bridge was present.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

The George Washington and the Manhattan Bridges were there too.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Loved the way the John F. Kennedy airport was created.

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

The jewel of the exhibition was the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (or the building we were, they modeled that too). Not sure how they achieve that level of transparency and shine with natural materials.

Holiday Train Show

Holiday Train Show, New York Botanical Gardens, New York City

I really want to continue talking about the Train Show but I will stop.  I am sure at this point you get the idea of why this exhibition is so special.

In the words of an attendant: “It is too much to take in.”

I couldn’t stop smiling.  My jaw dropped like 20 times. And, the thing is that I am not even a New York native or resident.  However, I was able to savor the details of the reproductions and tour one of the world’s largest cities in 250 acres.

If you are in New York City for the holidays, make sure you stop by the Holiday Train Show at the Botanical Gardens.  It is an experience you will cherish for a long time.

Once again, happy new year! I hope I have injected some magic to your day!

What do you think about the Holiday Train Show?

Ready to pin? Let’s do this!

train-show

88 Comments

  1. Great shots from exhibition.
    Wish you Happy and Prosperous New Year.

    • Thanks Rajesh! Same good wishes to you.

    • I am with you. I was amazed at the structures but was 10 times more amazed when saw an introductory video showing how everything was made.

    • The structures can last years. Therefore, they do not have to recreate everything each year. They create new things thought since they want each show to be different. And once in a while, they create a new model of a structure that already exists.

    • Thanks! Best wished for the new year!

    • So true! I was surprised by the amount of plants and flowers. It was a magical experience without a doubt.

    • You would like this show for sure. The other thing is that the attention to detail is seen in every reproduction.

  2. I’ve been to NYC for the holidays but never seen the train show. It looks like a lot of fun. Those building statues made with natural materials are amazing! So intricately detailed! I guess I know where to go next time I’m in NYC during the holiday season… 🙂

    • I think it is the perfect show to see during the holidays. You get all those warm and fuzzy feeling related to the season plus, everything is indoors. In that way, you can escape the cold!

  3. Oh how delightful, creative and magical ~ lovely photos ~ thanks for the train ride ~

    Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year ~ ^_^

    • Thanks lot! I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  4. Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this before! Recently I was in New Orleans and saw many wonderful gingerbread representations of buildings in New Orleans. It was so much fun to see the small details created in sugar.

    This set up is just amazing! I am adding it to the things I so want to see in NYC during the holiday time. Sometimes hubby has meetings there and I tag along…I’m already hoping there will be a need to go to New York next holiday season!! Thanks for the info!

    • Those gingerbread representations you are referring to sound very interesting. Creativity has no limits! The shows runs from mid-November to mid-January. There is plenty of time to stop by.

  5. Wow, that must have taken some amount of hard work. I wonder how many people were involved inbuilding the models? #Mondayescapes

    • I am not sure how many people are involved. I got the book about the show but have not started to read it yet.

  6. Happy New Year- love this last taste of the holidays though, the detail is incredible. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted..City Tripping #58My Profile

    • I am glad you liked it! We need a lot of good vibes to start the year on the right track.

  7. The detail looks amazing and they’ve put so much attention to it all. It’s no wonder you took over 300 photos, I think I’d do the same! #citytripping
    Notmyyearoff recently posted..Things I’d love to do in 2017My Profile

    • I couldn’t stop shooting. It was one amazing building after another. And, the thing is that there wasn’t a repetition in patterns and forms. Each reproduction was unique in terms of materials used or design.

    • Thanks much! Best wishes for the new year!

  8. Oh wow the detail is just incredible, I love how they have managed to recreate New York in such a way, we keep thinking we may spend Christmas in NY but just cant decided. Thanks so much for linking up and have a great 2017 #MondayEscapes xxx

    • Spending the holidays in New York is great! It is the second time I go during the season and there are tons of things to see and do. The drawbacks are the cold weather and the crowds. I think I would prefer the city during warmer months.

  9. Wow – that is amazing!

  10. What a great train show — amazing detail! We are booked for a trip to NYC in April so we will miss this show but should find plenty to keep us busy and happy! I would love to visit NYC for the holidays sometime.
    Sharon recently posted..5 Travel Highlights of 2016My Profile

    • I am sure April is an excellent month to visit New York. The city is always booming with activity.

  11. What a fascinating exhibition. An incredible amount of work must gone into it. I had no idea about it so thanks for detailing with such fab photos. #citytripping

    • Elizabeth, I am glad you enjoyed the photos. I loved the show, so, I had to share!

  12. This looks similar to the Wonderland Express at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We went for the first time this Christmas season and like you, I was blown away. We’ll have to go to this one if we’re ever in New York during the holiday season. #farawayfiles
    Allison recently posted..2017 Travel PlansMy Profile

    • Thanks for letting me know about the show in Chicago. It would be nice to attend that one.

  13. We took our young boys there about 13 years ago! Too many people to really appreciate all the details, but I remember being terribly impressed! Thanks for the memory jog – what a cool exhibit. Cheers from Copenhagen and happy new year, thanks for linking with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • Whoaaa! That is a long time ago! I am glad you still have warm memories about the show. I was lucky since it wasn’t that crowded when I went.

  14. Hello Ruth, You are right the Tamales show is amazing!! (And my schedule for tomorrow was to make tamales, one of the few Mexican food I make decently). No idea you lived in California!
    Did not know you had this meme, so I’ll link up here, and I’ll be back next week to ask a few questions about the meme/challenge

    • I do not get what you are saying about the tamales (?). Thanks for linking up!

  15. Absolutely amazing recreations of some iconic places! Great photos! Cheers to a 2017 the best travel year yet!

    • Thanks a lot Dan! Glad you enjoy the recap from the show.

  16. our toddler (and my husband) would love this show!! we have a model train at home and we also visit a model train museum from time to time 🙂
    shere recently posted..Xmas in Madrid with kidsMy Profile

    • I am sure your toddler wold enjoy the show. They had some characters from Thomas (the train) and kids were going nuts because of them.

  17. I’ve heard of many New York City Christmas events but I didn’t even know the train show existed. Looks fantastic – and I am sure kids and train enthusiasts would love it!

    • I found about this show at a blog called Peaches and Salt. Like you, I have not heard about it in other medium.

  18. I went a few years ago and just loved it. I couldn’t believe how many miniature building and structures there were. I would definitely go again. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • Cool! Glad you were able to go and got impressed by all the little buildings.

  19. The holiday train show IS really magical Ruth. I so appreciate the time and effort taken to create such unique little structures from natural materials. My son would absolutely adore this place and I think I’d have a lot of trouble getting him to leave. Thanks for sharing this piece of magic with us on #FarawayFiles

    • In general, I think kids will have trouble leaving. I now I had problems trying to get out. I kept walking and walking around.

    • It is so big and complete! And, like you mentioned, tons of trains are moving around. It is just a beautiful place.

    • I like how you describe it! It is funny! It would be nice for this to be permanent but I understand why they have it for this specific season.

  20. How cute, and I had not heard of this. Love that the structures are all naturally made. Next time we are in NYC we will visit.

    • Yes, you have to visit one day. I am sure you will enjoy every bit of this show.

  21. Hi, Ruth. I knew nothing about this until I read your post and scrolled through your gorgeous photos. It’s easy to see why you were so enchanted. NYC for the holidays would be memorable, and if I get there, this will be on my list of sites to see. Thanks for co-hosting this week. #TPThursday

    • For some reason, a lot of people do not know about the show. Even some locals do not know about. My sister have lived in the Bronx for years and she didn’t know about it. I am glad I learned about it in a blog.

  22. I’ll admit that the name “Holiday Train Show” alone may not have convinced me to go to this. But now that I’ve seen your pics… wow! That is amazing. I like how they created the Guggenheim and the airport. Good call on featuring familiar landmarks. I would have taken a ton of photos, too.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..A Walk on the Yorkshire Moors with the Brontë SistersMy Profile

    • I get what you say. Looks like the show used to emphasize the trains. With time, things changed but the name remained.

    • Jim, happy new year to you too! Glad I gave you an idea for New York City.

  23. This looks so fantastic, Ruth, and something I’d love to see. The detail in the buildings are amazing. I’m not surprised it gave you goosebumps. What a wonderful Christmas tradition in New York. Definitely adding it to my list 🙂 Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted..Faraway Files #12My Profile

    • So glad you liked it! Like you mentioned, I think it is a nice tradition to a lot of people. I noticed that a lot of visitors were members of the Botanical Garden. That means they can visit whenever they feel like or when there are special exhibitions.

    • That is right! I would not mind playing with trains around here.

  24. Interesting that the miniatures have all been made of natural materials. Sounds like a unique show.

    • Ahila, that is hard to believe when you see certain features of the show. There are a lot of creative people behind this.

  25. I’m glad you got to see the Train Show. I’m not sure how many tourists drag themselves away from away Times Square and Rockefeller at all much less venture all the way up to the Bronx. But it really is spectucular and in unique. And it’a chance to see a part of the city that is unique and stories in its own way.

    • Eileen, my sister lives in the Bronx, so, it was not difficult to drag myself from the “main attractions.” I found the Bronx very interesting. I would like to discover more of it.

  26. I’ve never been in New York for the Holidays. The train show looks awesome, so much detail! This is why I love big cities: you’ll never find something like this in a small provincial town. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • That is true Anda. New York is the perfect city since it has something for everybody. I only saw about a quarter of what I wanted to see.

  27. This is such an interesting post – love all the pictures!

  28. Wonderful; something I’ve never heard about in my life. Glad you were able to take pictures at this interesting exhibit.

    • Thanks Sallie! I am happy I was able to take pictures too. You know some exhibitions prohibit photos.

    • Happy New Year Rob! Thanks for stopping by!

  29. I’m a sucker for dioramas and tiny towns, the New York holiday train show looks like my kind of fun! I wish I had known about it when I lived there.

  30. Wow, what amazing value for money it would be to visit here, I can see how you could lose hours! Absolutely fascinating that these structures are made from natural materials, thank you so much for sharing this post. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  31. We love the Holiday Train Show! The art behind it is amazing. We usually go every year but took a year off this year. I have a post on it too :). #farawayfiles

  32. Ruth I had taken my kids to the Gardens back in 1995 before they rebuilt the conservatory. They had a train show back then too. But of course now it is much better and bigger. Your photos are fantastic.
    Mary – the boondocks blog recently posted..Sweet Inspiration Link Party #41My Profile

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