New York Holiday Train Show, NYBG’s 30th Year Milestone Celebration

Member Day at NYBG The Holiday Train Show® on line with timed tickets, waiting to get in. The lines move quickly. (Carole Di Tosti)

The parking lot was jam packed on Member Day, November 19th, as long standing and new members of New York Botanical Garden came to see the amazing architectural wonders ingeniously constructed from a variety of plant parts that are the showpiece along with the fun trains that comprise one of the most enjoyable exhibits at the Garden. The Holiday Train Show® (Saturday, November 20, 2021 – Sunday, January 23, 2022 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) a favorite of New Yorkers, features new additions to its collection which now numbers over 190 structures.

The iconic Macy’s building in downtown Manhattan on 34th St. that was boarded up during the pandemic is now busy as ever on 34th St. as people with masks line the streets. Here the replica shines with decorative icicles and holiday balls. (Carole Di Tosti)
This is an older building in the collection. Note the twigs and bark construction and the trolley with its conductor (Carole Di Tosti)
In this close-up note the Macy’s sign which is constructed of red pepper flakes and white peppercorns. (Carole Di Tosti)

After the trials of COVID, the shut down and restricted access of the last year, the Garden ushers in the 30th year for the train exhibit whose landmark building collection is designed by Applied Imagination’s team and then situated throughout the Haupt Conservatory and galleries in collaboration with the NYBG staff over a two week period.

The LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building, LIllian Goldman Fountain of Life, the John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee (Carole Di Tosti)
Detail of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building and the Lillian Goldman Fountain of Life, bordered by the John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee (Carole Di Tosti)

In celebration of the NYBG Holiday Train Show’s 30th year, the creative team at Applied Imagination re-created one of the central aspects of the Garden: the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building with the Lillian Goldman Fountain of Life, and the John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee. These buildings and attendant features were declared a New York City Landmark in 2009. The care and effort taken to manifest these structures took thousands of hours of work. Take a moment to appreciate the designs and materials used to create the display. Especially appreciate the myrtle topiaries that simulate the Tulip Tree Allee.

Locomotive whipping by one of the Tulip Trees in the John J. Hoffee Tulip Tree Allee, made of a myrtle topiary (Carole Di Tosti)

The Holiday Train Show® may be appreciated on many levels. From the vantage point of a child’s, one delights as more than 25 model trains of various gauges careen, zip and plow along the miles of track laid down between the brilliant foliage and flowers and plantings graded to maximize happiness. For adults, there is always the astute appreciation of the craftsmanship and design of the New York landmarks.

Coney Island display bright and whimsical as is Coney Island’s fun (Carole Di Tosti)

A colorful change up in the display from previous years. The Wonder Wheel at Coney Island, the seats on the wheel are pods (Carole Di Tosti)
Member Day at NYBG, the Grand Central Station Display with train bridges in a 360 degree circumference (Carole Di Tosti)
Detail of a train and a figure at the balcony of the station, a tycoon of trains (Carole Di Tosti)

Whether in daylight or evening twilight, there is magic in being swept away into a miniaturized world of perfection created with loving artistry and passion that spills out into the hearts of the visitors of the exhibit who return many times during the season bringing friends, grandchildren and sweethearts. The holidays wouldn’t seem complete without the Garden’s Holiday Train Show® accompanied by a wealth of activities for children and adults during the Winter season.

One of the larger gauged locomotives in the Haupt Conservatory (Carole Di Tosti)

For children, there’s the “Evergreen Express” in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden (November 20, 2021–January 23, 2022). Make sure to dress warmly as you climb onto a kid-sized play train and move through additional activities at the mini-train table having fun with the wooden train cars. Along the way of your adventures which might including hiking through the landscape, stop at the outdoor musical instrument station for family jam sessions on marimbas, amadindas and drums. For self-guided explorations with your kids be aware of the times: daily (10 am-5 pm) Guided activities (click here) run on weekdays (1:30-2:30 p.m.) Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays (10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) The Everett Children’s Adventure Gardens is included in all ticket types.

A whimsical train in the Haupt Conservatory (Carole Di Tosti)

Exclusive benefits for Members of the NYBG are always welcome and prized. For members entrance to The Holiday Train Show® is free and the parking lot becomes swamped so you may have to park at the Fordham University parking lot across the street. Also, make your reservations online to schedule the days you want to visit so you aren’t closed out. The next Member Day is Friday, January 7, 2022 when you can take advantage of exclusive benefits, including free parking, 20% off at the NYBG Shop, 15% discount at all dining venues, and up to 4 half-price tickets for guests. For more Member benefits, CLICK HERE. If you aren’t already a Member of the Garden, sign up online today.

Member Day, stilt walker and attendant posing for photos (Carole Di Tosti

Throughout the show there are additional features to make your visit enjoyable and memorable. The Uptown Brass will be presenting festive selections of classical and popular holiday favorites. These professional musicians have been featured in venues throughout New York City. They will be performing for your pleasure on November 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, & 28; December 5, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, & 30th at the Leon Levy Visitor Center (1, 2, & 3 p.m.) For more information about The Uptown Brass CLICK HERE.

TWA and Laguardia in a colorful display with a trolley moving past in a gallery of the Haupt Conservatory (Carole Di Tosti)
TWA Flight Center in a gallery of the Haupt Conservatory. What plant part makes up the roof? (Carole Di Tosti)
The mystery of the roof in the TWA Flight center revealed to be huge leaves. The planes are made with gourds, pine cones and other plant parts. (Carole Di Tosti)

In the Garden’s Sounds of the Season, listen to solo performers roll out the red carpet and rouse your spirits on weekends through December 26th in the Conservatory Entry Tent from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. beginning with Louis Apollon (November 19 & December 4). Louis Apollon is a Brooklyn-based jazz-folk singer-songwriter. Other musicians include the Bronx-based DJ Collective and Community Organization Uptown Vinyl Supreme (November 27, 28, December 5, 11, & 12) and Darren Solomon (December 4) the Clio and Cannes Gold Lion award-winning composer, producer, bassist and keyboard player. For more on the musicians and additional performers CLICK HERE.

Downtown Manhattan, the World Trade Center, Woolworth Building, Statue of Liberty, Occulus in the Palms of the World and Reflecting Pool Gallery of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory (Carole Di Tosti)

Another favorite, Holiday Classes are back where you will learn how to fill your home with the warm scents, tastes, and textures of the season. Interesting offerings include styling magnolia leaf wreaths and making decadent fruit preserves. For more information on other class offerings CLICK HERE.

The World Trade Center and other building replicas in shadow (Carole Di Tosti)

As a part of the festivities during the Winter Season, celebrate the waning of sunlight with the brightening of NYBG’s GLOW, an enchanting outdoor color and light experience (November 24, 26, 27; December 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30; January 1, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.). GLOW’s pageantry lights up NYBG’s iconic landscape and historic buildings turning them to whimsical beauty after the sun sets. This otherworldly illumination has been expanded to an additional 1.5 -miles of spectacular.

Another view of the World Trade Center display with the ferries of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty (Carole Di Tosti)

If is possible to see both The Holiday Train Show® and GLOW at a reduced price and savings. CLICK HERE. You will feel welcome with all of the activities offered. Talented performers dressed up in holiday costumes, stilt-walkers and other artists will stop for your selfies and family photos. And returning is the deft ice sculptor, always fun to watch as chips of ice are narrowed into figures and shapes. Taste local cuisine from the Bronx Night Market and enjoy a cocktail, beer, wine, and more from one of the festive. seasonal bars. For additional information and ticketing CLICK HERE.

Queens County Farm, one of the oldest replicas represented in the Queens County section of the show (Carole Di Tosti)

Look for my future posts with specific details about the wondrous architectural collection created by Applied Imagination from natural materials i.e. twigs, leaves, seeds from trees and fruits, pods, gourds, acorns, bark, fungi, pine cone scales, nut shells, nuts and more. I absolutely love The Holiday Train Show and GLOW to usher in winter and waning sunlight as we move to the darkness of the shortest day of the year. Knowing I can venture to the Garden to lift my spirits with family and friends makes the light deprivation in our northern clime seem worth it. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS AND PROGRAMS.

About caroleditosti

Carole Di Tosti, Ph.D. is an Entertainment Journalist, novelist, poet and playwright. Writing is my life. When I don't write I am desolate. Carole Di Tosti has over 1800 articles, reviews, sonnets and other online writings. Carole Di Tosti writes for, Theater Pizzazz and other New York theater websites. Carole Di Tost free-lanced for VERVE and wrote for Technorati for 2 years. Some of the articles are archived. Carole Di Tosti covers premiere film festivals in the NY area:: Tribeca FF, NYFF, DOC NYC, Hamptons IFF, NYJewish FF, Athena FF. She also covers SXSW film. Carole Di Tosti's novel 'Peregrine: The Ceremony of Power,' is being released in November-December. Her two-act plays 'Edgar,' 'The Painter on His Way to Work,' and 'Pandemics' in the process of being submitted for representation and production.

Posted on November 22, 2021, in New York Botanical Garden and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Supposed to be one up here too??? Don’t now where Great pictures Sent from Mail for Windows


  2. Thanks. Google it…maybe it’s a GLOW type outdoor event???


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