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Christmas at the Botanical Gardens

21st December 2010

As Christmas rapidly approaches I am always filled with a sense of tradition. One of the traditions that my college friends have kept is getting everyone together for a Christmas outing, which often includes coming home to Fordham to see the Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show. The train show runs through January 9th this year in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. My Fordham friends are not the only alumni that enjoy returning to the Garden. Fordham alum, Aurelio Zucco is publishing I’m Dreaming of a Bronx Christmas which features the Botanical Gardens.

Even though I’d been to the Botanical Gardens dozens of times, I did not know anything about Enid A. Haupt. While I was waiting on line across from a carefully constructed model of the Statue of Liberty, I read that she was an avid horticulturalist and through her philanthropy she saved the Botanical Gardens from being demolished. However, she was also editor and chief of Seventeen Magazine. Publishing is everywhere!

Soon the lines dissipated inside the heart of the conservatory and we were free to mill about looking at the amazing creations out of twigs and bark that make up New York City landmarks.

One of my favorites is the Edgar Allen Poe house, which I remember seeing as a little girl when the exhibit was outside. I love the way the gnarled porch wound around the house and small berries framed the windows. I’ve never been to the actual house, which is located on the Grand Concourse and East Kingsbridge Road.

This year, my friend’s daughter saw the train show for the first time. It’s always great to see how children react. Life is still magical for them and she loved watching the trains weave around Yankee Stadium, the New York Public Library, and of course, St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

I myself am always amazed at the bridges that are so carefully constructed. The Brooklyn Bridge is as stunning as a well-crafted miniature as it is in life-size stone.

If you are interested in reading more about the landmarks of NYC that are brought to life at the Botanical Gardens, I would suggest All Around the Town: Amazing Manhattan Facts and Curiosities, Second Edition by Patrick Bunyan for great snapshots of information.

However, if you’re the focused reader, looking for a lot of detail on individual landmarks, I would suggest picking up Intersections: The Grand Concourse at 100 for a look into the area the houses one of our greatest American Gothic writers or Brooklyn Is—Southeast of the Island for the restless prose of James Agee that captures the spirit of the borough.

For our digital reader, I’d suggest Fifth Avenue Famous: The Extraordinary Story of Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral by Salvatore Basile. Just out on the Kindle, as well as the Nook and Sony Reader, Sal Basile explores the colorful history of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Merry Christmas!
Katie Sweeney