Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Best of 2014: Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden

Model of the TWA Terminal at JFK, complete with runway

Every year, the wonderful folks at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx take ten days to assemble a fantastical miniature representation of many of the city's most recognizable landmarks. Now a 23-year-old tradition, the Holiday Train Show in the NYBG's Haupt Conservatory is the brainchild of Kentucky artist Paul Busse. Using twigs, leaves, acorns and other assorted materials culled from nature, Busse and his team have expanded the exhibit to more than 150 buildings from New York's past and present. Model trains run on tracks weaving around, over and under the Brooklyn Bridge, Old Penn Station, the Statue of Liberty and Yankee Stadium, just to name a few. While the trains seem to be the main attraction for the younger crowd, the exquisitely detailed cityscape is the real masterwork. For the curious (or the former architecture students) a small exhibit-within-the-exhibit illuminates the process by which the artists create a building, beginning with a cardboard model, which takes on progressively finer levels of organic detail, before being coated in a protective shellac. The photos (and video) below attempt to capture a bit of the show's magic, but it really must be seen up close for a true appreciation of the work. Luckily, it will be on display through January 19. If you plan to go, I would recommend purchasing advance tickets, as space is limited. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

Roof detail of the old Penn Station

St. Patrick's Cathedral
The Haupt Conservatory at the NY Botanical Garden

Detail of Grand Central Terminal

Detail of the Statue of Liberty

Foreground (L-R): Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Met Life Tower. Background: Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Detail

Detail of TWA Terminal roof

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