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A locomotive zips past the Brooklyn Bridge, towards Rockefeller Center, then around One World Trade Center and the historic Battery Marine Building where two vintage ferry boats are docked.
For those who know New York City, no Amtrak or Metro North train track follows this path. The locomotives that do this track are G-scale and an attraction of the yearly Holiday Train Show appearance at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Now through January 21st, the model trains zip on a half-mile of train track through and around more than 125 New York iconic landmarks, each made of bark, leaves, pods acorn caps, lotus pods, beech nuts and other natural materials. Among other well-known sites, visitors see Yankee Stadium and the Statue of Liberty plus overhead iconic New York City bridges which come together to create an aerial bridge.
Trains Crossing the Brooklyn BridgeNYBG
Around the turn of the century, model railroads were a popular feature in American gardens. Paul Busse, whose Kentucky company Applied Imagination creates original garden exhibits and railways, is the mastermind behind the design. As a child, he loved miniature locomotives and remembers growing up riding on miniature trains in peoples’ yards. He grew up to become a landscape architect including designing a private garden railroad for a private client. In 1991, he was invited by Cincinnati’s Krohn Conservatory 1991 to build a miniature railroad.
In 1992, NYBG invited him to create a Lilliput-scale village of New York City landmarks railroad garden and the Holiday Show has been running ever since. There isn’t a word to define the reproductions Busse create, but he calls them ‘mechanical botanicals.’ Since 1992 he has created 140 structures ranging from an eight-inch-high town house to the brand new 18-foot-tall World Trade Center (four feet taller than the 14-foot-tall reproduction of the Brooklyn Bridge, also part of the show). The 18 G-scale gage trains include freight trains, passenger trains, Metro North trains, little trolleys which mostly go across the bridges which include the Brooklyn Bridge, George Washington Bridge, and Hellgate. The show includes Thomas the Train Engine along with a couple of his friends in his own special area near Yankee stadium.
Holiday Train ShowNYBG
This article first appeared on www.forbes.com
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