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Luna Park Arch, 1903

Luna Park Arch, 1903. Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Garden. Photo © Jim Levine. All Rights Reserved

Every Christmas, exquisite models of long-vanished Coney Island landmarks are part of a holiday tradition at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Thanks to ATZ reader Jim Levine, who sent us his photos of the 20th annual Holiday Train Show.

Among the replicas are the original entrance and a ticket booth from Coney Island’s first Luna Park, which opened in 1903 on the north side of Surf Avenue. There’s also a Coney Island bound trolley and the Galveston Flood Building, where a cyclorama of the 1900 catastrophe was a popular attraction.

Galveston Flood Building

Galveston Flood Building, 1908 and Luna Park Ticket booth, 1903. Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Garden. Photo © Jim Levine. All Rights Reserved

According to the Botanical Garden’s release, “Natural materials such as bark, twigs, stems, fruits, seeds, and pine cones are used to create more than 140 scaled iconic buildings, including the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Radio City Music Hall, and the original Yankee Stadium. More than a dozen large-scale model railway trains—from late-1800s American steam engines and streetcars to modern freight and high-speed passenger trains and trolleys—traverse nearly a quarter-mile of track across rustic bridges, along overhead trestles, through tunnels, and past waterfalls that cascade into flowing creeks.”

Jim shared a bit of trivia about the trolley in the picture below, which he says is a model of car number 1001. “It was one of the last trolleys to run in Coney Island. My father, who was just starting with the Transit Authority in the 1940s, drove that trolley in Coney Island. That car, 1001, is now at the Shore Line Trolley Museum up in Connecticut and has been fully restored.”

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show runs through January 16, 2012. Tickets are available online.

Coney Island Bound Trolley

Coney Island Bound Trolley. Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Garden. Photo © Jim Levine. All Rights Reserved

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