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12.28.2015

New York Botanical Garden
Holiday Train Show

Along with the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show has become a quinessential New York holiday tradition, attracting more than 200,000 visitors each year. 

Over the holiday period, the Haupt Conservatory is transformed into a whimsical wonderland with G-scale model trains coursing through a Lilliputian New York with familiar landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Midtown Manhattan skyscrapers and this year's new offering of a reimagined replica of the New York Public Library.
The mastermind behind the magnificent train show and New York City in miniature is landscape architect Paul Busse, who was first approached in 1992 by the Botanical Garden to design a holiday train show. 
In the last two decades he has built over 140 structures for their collection, although in recent years he has had to relegate the building of exhibits to his 15-member team of artisans at Applied Imagination because of his advancing Parkinson's Disease. 
No photo will ever do the botanical structures justice, because you have to see them in person and as a totality to appreciate the exact replication and intricate details. 

The textures and colors are an absolute feast for the eyes. For instance, the torch Lady Liberty upholds is fashioned out of a pomegranate and dried flower petals, while the Chrysler Building is made from gingko leaves and pine cone scales and the yellowed window panes are made from plant-resin.

Only organic materials like birch bark, dried leaves, fungus, acorns and cinnamon sticks are used, and a single building can take hundreds of hours to construct.

This was my first time experiencing the Holiday Train Show and despite the high entrance fee and long waiting line, I had the most wonderful time and hope to make it back again before it closes mid-January.

The  New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show runs until January 18, 2016. Tickets are $30 between now to New Year's Day and $20 on weekdays and $30 on weekends thereafter.
Have you seen the Holiday Train Show? 
What is your favorite holiday tradition?

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