Monday, January 1, 2018

This Month in the Garden: A Historical Visit to the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

The NYBG Holiday Train Show
I had the pleasure of finally getting to see the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in Brooklyn, New York. A display of 150 historical landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials can be seen under the dome of the Conservatory from the end of November to mid-January. Model locomotives travel on nearly a half a mile of track alongside Midtown Manhattan’s landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island and Yankee Stadium. In addition  to the display for 2017 are replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew’s Church. The amount of thought and creativity that has gone into these replicas is extraordinary. While compiling this post, I also included some of the fascinating history behind these iconic landmarks.
New York Botanical Garden December

Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in Brooklyn, New York. 
About the Artist: Artist and creator of the Train Show, Paul Busse resides in Alexandria, Kentucky, where he and his wife, Margaret, run their design company Applied Imagination, Paul’s imagination using natural elements to re-create landscapes had become greatly recognized when he mounted the first Holiday Train Show for The New York Botanical Garden in 1992. Since then, he has produced special exhibits for many other venues around the country.
The Enid A Haupt Conservatory 1901-1902
The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (1902) is a known New York City landmark and major part of the New York Botanical Garden. The Victorian-style glasshouse is the home to "A World of Plants", a display showcasing plants from around the world, including tropical rain forests, desert environments, palms and aquatic and carnivorous plants.
Pennsylvania Station Built 1910, Demolished 1963
The history of the Pennsylvania Railroad started when it was chartered by the state legislature in April of 1846 to provide direct rail access between the capital in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. As demand for travel increased, the Pennsylvania Railroad expanded along the east coast. With a need to provide transportation across the Hudson, Pennsylvania Station, designed by McKim, Mead, and Whitecon was constructed and completed by 1910. Widely praised for its Beaux-Arts style architecture, the building was considered to be one of the jewels of New York City, and provided the first access into New York City's downtown area, Manhattan Island. Unfortunately, during the post war years, as trains were abandoned for highways and airliners, a critical decision was made, and In 1963, the original upper floor of Penn Station was demolished. Today, the original below-ground terminal remains and continues to serve millions of commuters annually.  
Rockefeller Estate 1913 
Kykuit, also known as Rockefeller Estate is a 40-room mansion in Pocantico Hills, Westchester County, New York. Built by order of oil tycoon, capitalist and Rockefeller family patriarch John D. Rockefeller at the end of the 19th century,  the estate is protected under the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The home was altered in 1913 to its current appearance. 
Coney Island
Between 1880 and World War II, Coney Island became the birthplace of the largest amusement area in the United States, attracting several million visitors per year. It is the seaside destination known for its infamous Nathan's hot dogs, boardwalks, shopping, restaurants, and the well known Cyclone Roller Coaster, which features over 2,640 feet of track, 12 drops and 27 elevation changes!
Yankee Stadium Bronx Built 1923, Demolished 2010
Yankee Stadium was one of the most historic landmarks to baseball fans across the world. Since its opening more than eight decades ago, the original Yankee Stadium was home to  legendary players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, and in later years, Alex Rodriquez and Derek Jeter. In June of 2005, the Yankees announced plans for a new stadium and on September 21, 2008, the Yankees played their last regular season game. The new Yankee Stadium opened across from East 161st Street in April  of 2009.
Some of the Model Trains

Park Avenue Armory 1881
The Park Avenue Armory (once the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard) is a historic landmark on New York's Upper East Side, built between 1877 and 1881 by the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard, the first volunteer militia to respond to President Lincoln’s call for troops in 1861. The Regiment included prominent Gilded Age families including the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Van Rensselaers, Stewarts, Harrimans and Livingstons. Constructed as both a military facility and social club, the first floor reception rooms and company rooms on the second floor were designed by some of the most prominent designers and artists of the day including Louis Comfort Tiffany. In 2000, the building was listed as one of the most endangered historic sites in the world,  but was taken on and revitalized by a non-profit group called the Park Avenue Armory; hence the name. The location, now an art center, is the home of New York's most dedicated visual and performing arts.
 Grant's Tomb 1891-1897 General Grant National Memorial, Manhattan
Grant's Tomb, formally known as General Grant National Memorial, is the largest mausoleum in North America and final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885), the 18th President of the United States, and his wife, Julia Dent Grant (1826–1902). Completed in 1897, the tomb is located in Riverside Park in Upper Manhattan.
William A. Clark Manor Gilded Age Mansion
Built in 1897 by millionaire mining and railroad tycoon William A Clark, the  Clark Manor Mansion was one of the largest residences in the New York City, with over 100 rooms and 6 stories. The Fifth Avenue mansion was sold shortly after William's death in 1925, and  in 1927 was demolished to make way for a luxury apartment building.
Empire State and Chrysler Buildings
In 1928, The Chrysler Building, a 1,046 foot structure, was built by Walter Chrysler. It was the world's tallest building for 11 months before it was surpassed by the Empire State Building in 1931. Being the 28th tallest building in the world and 5th tallest structure in the United States, the Empire State Building is an icon in itself. Construction on the 1,454 foot tall  building started on March 17, 1930 with the building officially opening on May 1, 1931, thirteen and a half months after the first steel beam was erected. In 1986, the building and its street floor interior were designated as a National Historical Landmark
Into the Rainforest
As you come to the end of the Train Show exhibit, venture through the doors to the rest of the Conservatory, where you will see the aquatic plants exhibit, Tropical Rain forest, palms from around the world and Desert Garden rooms. After the show and gardens, you may choose to end the day with a leisurely lunch in any of the fine cafe locations near the Conservatory.
Water Feature and Aquatic Plants

Tropical Rain forest Bromeliad

Desert Garden

Tropical Blooms

Lotus Flower in Conservatory 

Replica of Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
For tickets and more information, visit NYBG Holiday Train Show

 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 – Monday, January 15, 2018

As Always...Happy Gardening and Happy New Year!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved


  1. I've read with interest about your trip to Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show, many replicas of buildings and railways.
    Dear lee, a happy New year to you and your family, health and success in your landscaping and gardening!

    1. Happy New Year to you and yours Nadezda! I am glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Wow, what a treat! The replicas are amazing. How sad that the Pennsylvania Station was demolished. Birmingham, AL also once had a very special train station that was demolished in the 60s. Immediately afterwards people began to realize what a treasure was lost.
    Happy New Year and best wishes for great gardening in 2018!

    1. I enjoyed learning about the different landmarks as I researched for this post. There is so much history there. Best wishes to you and your family for a very happy new year.

  3. I heard about this last week and would love to be able to see this. Lucky you. We've demolished a lot of old buildings in Detroit and our train depot is in ruins.

    1. I hear there are similar exhibits in various cities. There may be one near you. It really was fabulous and it's hard to believe that all the structures are made from plant parts.

  4. I dearly love botanical gardens! Maybe someday I’ll actually get to NY to visit. My favorite miniature you featured is Yankee Stadium. We’re big baseball fans at our house.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the photos Robin. The artists really did an amazing job on the stadium with every slightest detail...truly amazing!

  5. Oh my, that must have been fun to see in person. You did an amazing write-up. Love especially the replica of Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. That is so nice to hear. I spent a lot of time on the post so that I could share the history behind the landmarks in the photographs. Happy new year to you and yours!

  6. Beautiful! I'd love to see that in person someday.
    :) gwingal

    1. Put it onto your list Nikki. It's worth the visit. Happy new year!

  7. This looks like a wonderful show. I have never been to the New York Botanical Garden but I would very much like to go. The miniature historical buildings constructed out of natural elements are amazing. We have a great botanical garden near us in North Carolina. Hopefully, some day they can host a Paul Busse exhibition. Thanks so much for sharing your visit.

    1. Thank you for visiting. I makes me happy that you enjoyed the post about the gardens. Happy new year to you and yours!

  8. Lee I had the pleasure of visiting the Botanical Gardens back when the train show was held outside in the cold before the Atrium was finished. I definitely need to get back, I have since been in the Atrium but not during the train show. It is quite the show stopper.

  9. After many visits to NY I have yet to visit this garden. It will definitely be at the top of my list next time. What a wonderful exhibition.

  10. This looks like such a warm setting and it really appeals to me now. I love
    the thought of a train in the garden. I don't like the idea of the upkeep. This is the number one reason why I don't have one. I will have to keep having those interesting thoughts about them I guess until I win the lottery so I could hire someone to take care of it. :) Thanks for the warm pictures.


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


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