Last drop of Christmas

The New York Botanical Gardens’ Train Show. 

Valentine’s Day is over, New Year’s is only a memory, so I decided to take a backward look at Christmas and my favorite thing to do during that season. A trip to the Botanical Gardens’ Holiday Train Show, a miniature wonderland of New York City that encompasses 6,000 square feet in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, mounted first in1992, by Paul Busse and a team of botanical artists.

Oh yeah.  There are trains, too.  But for me it’s the depiction of the city that keeps me coming back each year.  Here are some of my favorites.

Statue of Liberty

Like immigrants of old, you’re greeted by the Statue of Liberty and from there are swept into a bustling city, not of steel and glass and exhaust fumes, but dried flower pods, seed, twigs and pure imagination.




The Metropolitan Museum of Art, better know as The Met, unless you’re talking about the Metropolitan Opera, also know as the Met.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Though in reality the museum’s façade is made of stone, this version is made from Zinnia petals, grass fibers, arborvitae cones, Walnut shells, cinnamon sticks and many other natural pieces.




Rockefeller Center, the building in the center. Lined with buildings, the angels blow a

Rockefeller Tree

fanfare as you walk down the court way to the skating rink and tree. To the left the New York Stock Exchange. To its right is Radio City Music Hall.  Don’t use this as a guide around Manhattan.  The Stock Exchange is actually downtown on Wall St. and Radio City is behind the Center on the Avenue of the Americas.




Folies Bergere Theatre

The lost Folies Bergere Theater, built in 1911,  renamed the Helen Hayes in 1955, and torn down in 1982.  Remembered here in magnolia and poplar leaves, bamboo, wisteria pods, cattails, beechnuts and many more found bits of nature.





The Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, his only New York City Building. The art is viewed from a sloping spiral walkway.  My choice is to start at the top and proceed to the bottom.  This miniature representation is made of black locust shelf fungi.




Bet you can guess what this is

Need a clue?

Another great landmark that no longer  looks the way it once did, Pennsylvania Station ws a grand old building.






But like this

Since 1919 Belvedere Castle, in Central Park has been the location of the National Weather Service.

Belvedere Castle








And last but not least, Tammany Hall one of my favorites, when the theatre district centered around Union Square before it moved up town to Broadway. The Era  of Boss Tweed, Roosevelt, Jenny Lind, and PT Barnum.

There are so many more, the bridges, and museums, and brownstones and statues. And if you can’t make the show, theres ‘a lovely accompanying book to the exhibit.

                                                     All Aboard!


3 thoughts on “Last drop of Christmas

  1. Shelley, I have waited for a long time for this post and it was worth all the waiting. Not only am I lover of trains and flowers and the Botanical Gardens … I am a lover of miniatures. There are dozens of shows throughout the country designed by talented men and women who create all types of themes for their displays.

    This show is by far one of the best. To see some of the buildings that have been lost to developers and fools. And thanks to others that we didn’t lose Grand Central Station since this show is one of the only ways people can see how divine Penn Station really was before it was ruined.

    How delightful to see so many wonderful sights made of flowers and plant life … to see the dedication to design and the perfection of the miniatures … is a treat. A great Christmas treat. Lucky that you are to have it in your backyard as it were … to hop on a train and be transported to another time and place so lovingly reproduced.

    Thanks for the grand memories and for this trip to a true Christmas wonderland 🙂

    • Somehow seeing those lost buildings in miniature is more heartrending than when you look in real life at the buildings and try to imagine what the originals looked like.Sometimes I just walk around a neighborhood with my list of buildings that are no longer there and try to place them in the modern context. I di the same thing last time I was in London took my list of Regency buildings and found where they once stood, or at least got close.