Citigroup Center’s Holiday Trains Display (12/2008)

These photos are a couple of years old as you can see by the date in the title that I gave to the posting, but they have never been presented to the readers of the PiercingKen blog since it did not yet exist.  Since its overall goal is to share some of the adventures in life and photography that I have taken I wanted to post these for all of you to enjoy.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

One of the coolest things that a corporate entity can do is deliver something that makes people smile and engages the spirit of the holidays for free.  Such was the case found with the annual model train display that was set up in the lower level of the Citigroup Center for many years.  Taking a couple of sentences from its description the massive display is said to feature “thirty-one trains circle through the display, which portrays a journey from Weehawken, New Jersey, just outside New York City, to a fictional town in the Hudson River valley, then up to the Catskills and the Adirondacks.”  Let’s begin our walking tour of this massive train setup.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

My timing of the visit was not the smartest one as it was only a day after the Christmas holiday and that pretty much meant that EVERY tourist in the city was interested in seeing these same trains in all their glory.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display


Based on the scenery description I guess I was around the Weehawken, NJ portion. As you can see there was some very nice detail to this display.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

The trains were all different sizes as you will see and I was glad to catch this little locomotive since I liked the look of it.  Look above him to see a lone trolley making its way around the lengthy track.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

There was some serious attention being paid to detail with this display.  Just check out the Main street with its shops.  Those are the buildings in white if you are not paying attention.  There were also a hefty amount of coal bearing train cars behind them.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I wasn’t able to get any super zoom in close-ups since the line that was enjoying the display was being moved along on the quick.  Plus I had little children on either side of me that their parents were either shooing ahead or pulling to keep up.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Soon we would be leaving beautiful Weehawken and begin to head into the mountains. There is nothing like a little mountain air to clear the senses.  Too bad this was currently only in my imagination.  Oh well.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

One last visual of NJ and now up into the hills we venture forth.  Note all the faux advertising on the box cars.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

They had the mountains set up rather nice and there were a series of tunnels in them where the trains were coming out from as they made their journey around the numerous tracks.  Some were 3D and yet the farther away visuals were painted.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

For some reason this one had a very old fashioned movie feel to it.  Maybe a Western where they at least already had trains.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I lost track of where we were heading now but it appeared to be a very busy local town square.  You can stare at this part for awhile since there was so much detail to absorb.  Our engine a part of the Pennsylvania RR.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

A closer look at this same setting.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

And a better view into all of the towns activity.  Something was a happening over there on the left hand side that was for sure.  Maybe a parade was hitting our little imaginary municipality.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I stuck around this view for a moment to make sure I caught the train passing thru.  They were moving rather quickly so you needed to be on your ready to snap.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Deeper into town we go and look, yet another locomotive in the lower right.  There also appeared to be a old style diner in this visual.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Some additional views of the main street area with all of the billboards that get presented to the trains passengers.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

More town.  I was really impressed with the level of detail in everything and was starting to feel a lot like Gulliver.  With that in mind, travel on I would.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

A little bit of a closer look at the discovered Starlite Diner where we see folks coming in and out of.  We were close to dinner time ourselves at this point and getting rather hungry.  I wonder how their cheeseburger is.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I tried to get a bigger shot of the engine coming down the track but my timing was off for this one and I had zoomed in too close.  Oh well.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

More of the town and its church standing in the center of things.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

This part of town actually had a drive in theater.  I wonder what was playing.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Back into the mountains we seemed to be headed.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Don’t you just hate when a tree gets in your way?

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

That’s much better and exactly what I wanted.  I am pretty sure this is the train that I liked so many photos ago.  He was keeping some serious pace ahead of me so I was losing track.  I didn’t use “track” as a bad pun, sorry.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Another trolley.  I think that they should bring those back.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Looks like we found the beer box car in this one.  Check the left hand side.  As Homer Simpson would say “mmmm beer”.  Could use one of those now myself.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

More scenery of our interesting little mountain region.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I guess this is the “Topsy Turvy Bridge”.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

A cool diesel engine, the company branding and a warning sign.  Shouldn’t that read for “their safety” and not “your safety”?

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

More mountains and a non-passing through train.  Sorry, my timing was off.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

A very old fashioned engine can be observed up in the left corner of this shot and there are also some work trains doing their thing.  Bear in mind some of these trains were stationary props.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Above is the train that the little tree ruined the shot of for me.  Gotcha this time.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I almost could hear John Denver singing.  OK, I digress.  Moving on.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I wondered when we would see some farms and here we are.  Also notice the little pickup truck pulling a motor home. So rural.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

While I had long thought we were in the Adirondack’s, I guess I was mistaken.  We are now, and the sign let’s us know that this is the case.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I liked the overall strangeness of this one.  We had a man fishing, a little farm display with cows and a car waiting for the train to pass by with a young lady on its hood.  Maybe she was auditioning for a Whitesnake video.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Next up would be the carnival setting and wow, this was like a miniature Coney Island for the towns populace.  They had a ferris wheel, a merry go round and one of those scare the death out of you swing rides along with concessions.  Cool.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Here’s a couple of shots of a cool and sleek silver train.  Of course I don’t think its all that great an idea to have so many kids playing near the tracks.  Careful everyone.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

And a little more of the amusement park.  There was really some impressive detail to that section which merited attention.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

A lot going on in this one.  Another diner along with a park as a steam engine pulls its cargo along to its destination.  A bus delivers people to the amusement park and also takes a few away and then there is the mysterious pair of men in suits in the lower corner.  Maybe thats the Men In Black on a secret mission.  One never knows.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

I don’t think I ever captured this particular engine so made sure to do so when he was passing by.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

A couple of other mountain shots.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains displaythe station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Now we were at a charming little winter town.  It seems all ready for the holidays which was perfect since that was where we were at this particular time of year.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

As you can see even the train engine is decked out in holiday colors.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains displaythe station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

And now we draw to the end.

the station at citigroup center, holiday trains display

Well, that is the end of this little adventure and sadly this would be the last year that Citicorp or Citigroup since that’s what they call themselves nowadays, would be preparing this display based on insufficient funds to do it anymore.  That’s wonderful news guys, maybe the savings will drive up your crappy stock price or find you giving a little more interest to your customers at the bank.  Of course we know that will never happen and instead it will be used to line those holiday bonuses for overpaid execs.

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Comments (2)

  1. Absolutely wonderful Ken. I love these type of layouts, my dad and I used to go to one in Westfield NJ every Christmas. And your descriptive narration made me feel like I was there. Perhaps one day Citi will resume the annual display (I’ll keep the comments on the bonuses, etc to myself). Thanks for reminding me of a wonderful childhood memory. Now maybe I should get to the Bronx for the layout at the botanical garden?

  2. The details are amazing. Sigh, I love model trains.

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