Ken and I had hopped up to Manhattan for the day on Saturday and after a yummy Italian lunch at Lattanzi on W. 46th St., we strolled to Rockefeller Center to see the world-famous Christmas tree.
What? Not decorated yet? (I’m from Baltimore, what do I know.) Instead the enormous tree was hidden behind sky-high scaffolding and word on the street was that it would light up on the day after Thanksgiving … but hello New Yorkers! Those of you who told us incorrectly will be standing there waiting for five days — the ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 2.
It was perfect, then, that Ken had been invited to the annual tree lighting ceremony at The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, which was “a huge success,” said Robert Heinisch, Vice President for Site Operations. “It was a thrilling event for the [approximate] 1,000 people that were present to witness the annual lighting of our trees.”
Collaboratively lighting the tree at the NY Botanical Garden Saturday was (l to r) Ken Singleton, Assemblyman Carle Heastie, Senator Jeff Klein, Senator Jose Serrano Jr. and Congressman Jose Serrano.
Garden staff member Gayle Schmidt, Manager of Public Education, coordinated the show. After a few words from Assemblyman Heastie and Senator Klein (who also lit the menorah), Ken had the podium and was greeted enthusiastically by many Yankees fans on the promenade, some who are members of the Botanical Garden and had turned out on Members Day & Community Holiday Open House to tour the 18th Annual Holiday Train Show.
Mr. Heinisch treated us as well to an exploration of the model train garden in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory with Yankees staff members Gina Chindemi, Senior Manager of Non-Baseball Events, and Tony Morante, Director of Stadium Tours and Team Historian. (Also on hand outside at the tree lighting was Robert Brown, Yankees Vice President and CFO, and Michael Margolis, Media Relations Manager.)
I sound like a commercial here, but if you have a chance between now and Jan. 10, skip over to the Bronx and see that illuminated lush train garden. Take the kids. Take the grandparents. It’s beautiful! Very well done. Who needs Rockefeller Center?
Inside a Victorian-style glasshouse, replicas of New York’s historic landmark buildings, including Yankee Stadium, were designed using all natural and plant materials such as grape leaves and orange peels. This year designer Paul Busse added Penn Station and the Brooks Brothers flagship store to the annual favorite displays such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral and some of New York’s most treasured Hudson River mansions. Trains of all shapes and sizes — even a ladybug train — wind their way through the buildings and foliage.
We loved it. What a splendid way to infuse the beginning magic of the holiday season into our hearts. As Senator Klein said in his brief speech before assisting Ken and the others with the lighting of the trees, “If you don’t believe in miracles, you’re not a realist.”
For more details on the train garden and other features of the beautiful NY Botanical Garden, visit them online.