By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Under a canopy of verdant tropical flora, the annual Holiday Train Show is in full bloom at the New York Botanical Garden. The exhibit features 175 Lilliputian landmarks, ferries and famous bridges, all under the watchful eyes of Local 374 Quasi-Public Employees at the famed Bronx cultural institution.
The NYBG staff of maintainers, attendant guards, custodians, and gardeners and others work behind the scenes to help make this traditional holiday display, unveiled in 1992, one of the most successful cultural exhibits in the city.
The collection includes 25 G-scale trains and trolleys that travel over a half-mile of tracks through a cityscape built to rival any Pixar animation. This year children thrill to see a train’s caboose whiz past replicas of the Freedom Tower and the Oculus of Lower Manhattan, the latest models in the Botanical Gardens’ growing collection of architectural wonders that include St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Lady Liberty, the Woolworth Building, even the Garden’s own Haupt Conservatory, complete with gilded dome.
The exhibit also includes Coney Island’s famous Ferris wheel, the Cyclone rollercoaster and the Elephant Hotel that recall the turn-of-the-century glory days of Brooklyn’s iconic seaside amusement park.
Local 374 members maintain the Garden’s 200 acres of parkland and forests and the greenhouse tropical flora in the conservatory. They watch over the miniscule City of New York, guarding the precious replicas to make sure curious tiny hands don’t topple the painstakingly built structures.
“Our members are dedicated to make this annual feature a marvel for visitors from all over. This spectacular display adds a special touch in making the NYBG a place to visit and to work at.” said Local 374 President Len Paul.
The NYBG’s Holiday Train Show runs through January 21. All-Garden Pass tickets start at $23 for adults and $10 for children (ages 2-12).
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