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Bar Car Night in the Garden

Shortly before Christmas, my friend and I rode the train from Grand Central Station to the Bronx for an event at the New York Botanical Garden.

On select weekend evenings throughout the holiday season, the Garden presents a festive program anchored by the popular Holiday Train ShowBar Car Nights. Guests can enjoy performers, food trucks, live ice sculpting, dueling pianists, the train exhibit, and, of course, alcoholic beverages. Yes, Bar Car Nights are adults-only.

NYBG night

Bar Car Night guests strolling through the New York Botanical Garden in the moonlight–a rare experience. (Photograph by author)

For the uninitiated, the Holiday Train Show exhibits models of past and present New York landmarks. All the models are unique and handcrafted from plant-based materials, such as bark, branches, and herbs. Fascinating to behold.

Luna Park NYBG

The exhibit takes one to Luna Park at Brooklyn’s Coney Island. (Photograph by author)

Several long-lost landmarks haunt the train show.

Penn Station NYBG

The original Penn Station–destined to be forever mourned. (Photograph by author)

Visitors can travel back in time to New York’s gilded age.

5th Ave Mansion NYBG

Models of former 5th Avenue mansions. (Photograph by author)

I enjoyed seeing a replica of Lyndhurst, a historic home on the Hudson River Valley. My wife and I visited the estate on our anniversary several years ago.

Lyndhurst NYBG

Ride up the Hudson River to Lyndhurst. (Photograph by author)

The exhibit masterfully captured today’s New York, too.


Staten Island Ferry Terminal. (Photograph by author)

Both my friend and I could have wandered through the exhibit all night. However, other guests were waiting patiently for their turn. With spiked hot chocolates in hand, we made the most of the other Bar Car offerings.


Live ice sculpting–one of the many attractions at Bar Car Night. (Photograph by author)

Bar Car Night was wonderful. If you enjoy history, trains, or nature or if you’re looking for a special evening with a friend or a significant other, buy a pair of tickets. Dates run through the end of January.

My friend and I already are making plans for a Bar Car Night next winter.

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