Sunday, December 10, 2006
Today we took the kids to the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. This was the Corporate Sponsorship free day for this event, and the Raggedys are not ones to pass up something for free ;) RaggedyDad reminds me of the Russian saying that for free, even vinegar is sweet. Tell me that that's not the most Russian of sayings. I love it. Though today's outing was no vinegar. It was great.
The show was really fascinating. First off, we'd only previously visited the rose garden in late June, and a fraction of the remainder of the gardens. Walking around inside the Conservatory on the way to the show was amazing. So many different climates and regions were recreated inside the area, which itself was a sort of labyrinth of greenhouses.
Once inside at the actual event, we were able to see amazingly accurate replicas of dozens of NYC landmarks - buildings, bridges, The Statue of Liberty, everything - made entirely out of natural things like branches, bark, berries, and leaves. I really wasn't sure what to expect from reading this description ahead of time, but in actuality it was very beautiful. More exciting still was the fact that working model trains were circulating on tracks throughout the whole exhibit.
The truth is, our kids, at 3 and 1, are totally too young for all of this stuff. Definitely baby Andy. If we were paying, it would run our family ($18/adult, $5/child 2-12, free/2 and under) over $40. Pricey, no? It really was one of those things that we adults wanted to do, and shlepped the kids to, though Ann did find the trains fascinating, and also adored the "The Little Engine That Could" puppet show (also free for corporate employees - score!).
I cannot ignore the fact that for me, the train show fell decidedly between a 4 & 5 on the "other people's holiday's scale" immortalized by JT at DaBoysof905. It wasn't a Christmas show per se, and there was a big effort to use the term "The Holidays" often, but who are we kidding? The decorated trees, the color scheme, the music, and the atmosphere all had a very December 25th feel.
Having gone to a secular and then a Catholic university, and taught in public schools, this didn't really get to me that much, but I see that Ann is getting a little *jealous* of our neighbor's decorations, and going to see a holiday-ish show is a little bit confusing when you're 3. It sounds kind of lame, though, if I tell her that I know our neighbors have all those lights and candy canes outside, and I know she really likes how they look, but we have our own beautiful menorah . . . and by the way, look at the holiday trains!
In summation, the show was beautiful, and the Statue of Liberty makes me cry every time I look at it, even in a replica or in a book, and two great things we did were to bring sandwiches and to get an early start (Street parking! Shorter lines! Being home by 2!). Happy . . er, holidays!