Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden, one of the largest ever

I did get to the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden (link ), which is next to the Bronx Zoo, literally at the northernmost part of that borough.  I had thought this was in Brooklyn, before I checked the ticket.

I would indeed get a "bonus tour" getting there. 
I had taken Acela in the morning, and walked over to get the B Train on 6th Avenue (Herald Square).  At the 145th Street Station, in Harlem, the train stopped, and we were soon told that the rails had lost power.  I had to get a cab, and was lucky to find one quickly, and it was still quite a distance.  I got an “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” tour of The Bronx, almost the entire borough.

I got there on time, found the Conservatory enormously crowded, but we got in about ten minutes after the scheduled time of 2:30.  It takes about an hour to do the visit. There was a drag queen on stilts (actually female, I think, but not sure -- "somebody's gotta do it", like Mike Rowe).

 The buildings are replicas of NYC landmarks, including Penn Station and Yankee Stadium, made from natural plant materials.  The layout spreads on both sides of the aisle, and the two halves come together after about 200 feet.  But many of the rail loops are separate and do not connect.  On the “fringes” all the rolling stock consists of street cars.  More conventional trains are in the middle.  This is one of the largest exhibits I have ever seen (although in 2010, there was an exhibit near Dulles Airport in Virginia that was supposed to simulate 60 miles of track between two cities).  The style of the exhibit resembles that in Washington DC at the US Botanical Garden near the Capitol, but it is much larger.  There is a certain "Middle Earth" look to it all.  In fact, I don't think there are any trains in "Tolkien" as I recall, but there are in some of the dominions of Clive Barker's "Imajica", so that could motivate further attractions, maybe in Las Vegas or in Orlando.  But this exhibit must be New York City's answer to those two resort cities.
There is also a separate exhibit with unusual cars in feudal Japan.

After visiting the exhibit, a three-year old Canon Power Shot started getting “lens errors”, which might have been provoked by very high humidity in some of the exhibit.  Fortunately, all the pictures were OK.  

(It's hard to put these pictures in logical order.)
Note the replica of the globe from the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing (which I attended in 1965).

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