Of course, I go see the darnedest things.
And the two converged at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx during my recent visit to New York, where there was a train show to beat all train shows.
You see, these model trains chug along tracks that go past miniature versions of 150 New York-area landmarks...
...that are made purely out of natural materials.
Someone with a bit of architectural savvy and natural design know-how...
...has managed to reconstruct really complex historic structures...
...out of bark, leaves, twigs, acorns, pinecones, and what have you.
I mean, we're talking everything from Grand Central Terminal and the old Penn Station...
...to any of the dozens of historic houses...
...to the Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty.
Honestly, the trains get completely overshadowed.
They almost get in the way when you're trying to get a good look at the TWA Terminal...
...or peer into the lit windows of the Frick Collection to see if someone built a replica of the bowling alley inside, too.
It surprised me to see something so hand-crafted in New York—nay, the Bronx—
...since the city usually comes off as a bit more slick and not quite so...folksy.
I couldn't imagine the patience it would take for someone to assemble these environments along a half mile of G-scale train track.
Then again, this train show wasn't built in a day.
Although I'd only just heard about it this year, it dates back to 1992—and many of the tiny replicas have survived several years.
On the other hand, other ones are completely new, like this year's finale on the reflecting pool in the garden's conservatory: the sites of the '64/'65 World's Fair (including a replica of the multicolor paneled ceiling of the Tent of Tomorrow).
There are other shows by the same artist throughout the year at gardens and museums in cities like Chicago, Philly, Dallas, Omaha, and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.
New York Botanical Garden, Past Bloom
Photo Essay: The Tiny World of the San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Nostalgia Train Ride
Photo Essay: Rose Parade 2014 Floats, In Progress