February 18, 2019

Memories of the Blue Train Hidden Inside Bloomingdale's NYC

I shudder to think about all the things in New York City I missed out on despite living there for 14 years.

Photo: Circa 2007, by Coolcaesar via Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

I managed to squeeze one of them in on a return visit at Christmastime back in 2013—something I'd never found hidden inside the flagship Bloomingdale's store in Manhattan, despite having shopped there many times.

It was an oddity like no other—Le Train Bleu, a ladies-who-lunch type of restaurant built onto the department store's rooftop.

Climbing aboard felt as though you'd seamlessly been transported across the Atlantic to ride on the Paris rail.

Originally created in 1979, it only lasted 37 years—and in 2016, Bloomingdale's took their dining car out of commission, as part of a restoration that either removed or painted over many of the store's French influences.

When I insisted to Michelle that we lunch there, I had a feeling I'd never make it back. But I didn't know that was because it wouldn't be there if I ever tried to return.

Having recently mentioned it to a native New Yorker who'd never heard of it—much less been—I found myself regretting not having documented it better.

It felt first class all the way.

But I was more than comfortable eating my casual croque madame...

...and Michelle with her smoked salmon and salad.

Looking back, I can't believe that Le Train Bleu actually ever existed in New York City. And now, I can't believe it's gone.

It wasn't a real train, of course. It was a bit of Hollywood magic in New York City—no more than a prop or a set piece.

And now that it's gone, it'll always remain a mystery to those who never got to go (and those like myself who never got to go enough).

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