Monday, December 8, 2008

The Station At Citigroup Center

Sadly, after 21 years, apparently due to economic downturn, this will be the last year that Citigroup will display "The Station," a miniature train exhibit in the lower atrium of the Citicroup Center building at 53 St. and Lexington Ave, in midtown Manhattan. The free exhibit will close January 2, 2009. All photos enlarge when clicked on

I went to see the exhibit today and found it charming! The detail was exquisite.

The trains are in three different scales. The large trains on the bottom step are in O-Scale. On the next level up are S-Scale trains and on the level above all the trains are in HO Scale. The effect is one of "forced perspective" with each level of trains appearing to be further back that the one in front of it.

There are more than twenty-five separate animated action scenes around the perimeter, which show fictional upstate New York areas going about daily life through the four seasons.

The scenes show pastoral areas, farms, towns, state fairgrounds, a mill, a logging operation, a resort and ski area. All the sights and sounds that could have been a part of the upstate New York during the 1945 to 1955 era.

There is even an elaborate lighting system which changes the scenes from day to night every three and a half minutes. The street lights and lights in the houses come on, the billboards light up, and there is even a movie playing on the outdoor drive-in theater screen -- see the third photo below.

The Station delighted all the children who came to see it today, and I couldn't help but feel sad that future generations would not be able to enjoy it.

It's definitely worth a visit if you come to midtown Manhattan this holiday season! Check the website for hours of operation and days open.


Unknown said...

That's a great place to visit for both children and adults :D

Vee said...

Omigosh! My little grandson would've been beside himself seeing that display. I would have been, too. How marvelous!

steviewren said...

Wow, Pat that is fantastic. The drive in movie and the amusement park are my favorite scenes. So sad that this will be the last year. I wonder what will happen to the props.

Strider said...

Wow, what a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing your visit with us!

Willow said...

That would be a fun place for my grandson who already loves to watch the trains!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Oh that's sad :( Looks like an awesome display!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you are keeping busy Pat. Your grandson is a bit like a watched kettle which doesn't boil. I think I got that saying right? I muddle them up very badly sometimes and my family laugh at me. LOL

What a wonderful display. The Autumn tree colours impressed me most. The lights looked so beautiful too. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

How sad it is..
The downturn of the economy hits every aspect of our lives.
What a wonderful train display - fun for the whole family.
- Cheers.

Jojo said...

For those of us who won't make it to NY in time, thank you for sharing. What a fantastic exhibit and one that kids, both young and old, would enjoy. Wow!

Tara said...


I am moving my son into his winter dorm next week in the city and guess where I am stopping? Hee-hee! You get me to go everywhere!

Now I'll return the 118 W 57th Street is the Parker Meridian Hotel. It has the best hamburger joint in the city tucked off the lobby of this exclusive hotel! And cheap! That word never applies to Manhattan!


PS--Is your grandchild still comfy in the womb? You need to talk to that child about coming out!

Melissa Miller said...

Awww...It is so cool. That's sad.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

You find the most fabulous things in the city! I'm on 45th & Lex so I think there's a walking trip in my near future. :-)

Re: Daring Bakers...what the...?!?! I had to have a glass of wine just to relax enough to *understand* the recipe. And as my friend Jim pointed out...that's like $50 in ingredients. Seriously. I agree with you...taking a pass. Plus you can buy a lot of baby swag for $50. :-)

Anonymous said...

Pat, my husband would think he had died and gone to heaven if he could see this. He is fascinated by trains, but we have never really had a great space for him to get into it.

This place is amazing, and how sad that this is the last year.

Judy said...

Thanks for taking us there, Pat! My grandson would not want to leave that place. So where will the display be going after January 2 '09?

Bo said...

Oh Pat, thank you for taking us to see this fabulous is so detailed...I can only imagine how great it would be to see it in person...too sad to lose this treasure! ;-) Bo

Just A Girl said...

Hi Pat,
How sad to have something so wonderful close down after so many years. I just love trains and would have loved to see this. Ah, such is life.
Is your grandbaby here yet?

xo Cori

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

What an amazing display!! I bet the children do love it!!! Hopefully it will make a return after a short time on moth balls:(

And where in the world is that little boy of yours...he's late?! If I'm getting impatient...I can only imagine how you and his mother are feeling about now! lol.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

How delightful, Pat! I hope they don't retire it for long. It's too wonderful not to share with the public.

I was thinking of you today. I found my NYC Christmas ornament and put it high on the tree where it won't get bumped. It's neat!


Sheila :-)

Jojo said...

Oh dear Pat,

I read your comment this evening...Oh you must bid on something on eBay. It is so much fun to bid and win!

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

I really wish I could visit this display, it looks really cool. Sad that this will be the last year but thanks for taking us with you!


Darius T. Williams said...

Oh looks just like Christmas!


Picket said...

I love things like that...I have always been fasinated by miniatures...especially ones that show times and things from long ago....Oh I bet it is something to see in person! See I never would have known about this if you didn't do these great post of yours! I love this...hope you have a great week girl!

Tracy said...

That looks like great fun for all ages. I've seen such things, but on a smaller scale...that is huge! What a pity this will be the last round the trains take...Maybe sometime it will be reivived! Was hoping to find baby news here today--LOL! Isn't the wait sweet but nerve-wracking?! Soon... :O) ((HUGS))

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!

I LOVE toy trains! We have a volunteer group in Cols that sets up train displays at our fairgrounds every year. I enjoy it sooo much! So sad your group there will not be displaying anymore.

Where's that little grandson?? He's GOT to be thinking about making his debut here pretty soon! but they have a mind of their own and seem to come when they're good and ready, not before!

Hope you are enjoying all the beauty of NYC this time of year!!

Holiday hugs, Sherry

Rue said...

Ho Pat :)

I wish one of the department stores would buy it. It just seems like such a tragedy to have it disappear. It's so beautiful! I've always loved trains and train sets :)

Thank you so much for sharing this with us!


Anonymous said...

that's too bad... I always wanted a train set under the Christmas tree already set up for Christmas morning. I think I watched too many movies growing up.:)

Sue said...

Thanks for the husband is a big Lionel collector and I sent it to him to see all the wonderful pictures...I sure miss the holidays in N.Y.

magicpolaroid said...

love toy trains!!

Andrew deLivron said...

Latest Update on the Station
Visit the station in Pottersville, NY in June 2011 -

World-class train display planned for Pottersville

By Randall, Thom

This intricate depiction of a generic small city in the Hudson Valley is to be included in Clarke Dunham’s proposed model train center in Pottersville, which some say will attract nationwide attention and draw many thousands of visitors to northern Warren County.
November 17, 2010
POTTERSVILLE — A world-class, million-dollar exhibit of model trains complete with lavish layouts is planned for development in Pottersville, and area officials say may have a significant impact on tourism in Northern Warren County.

"Railroads on Parade," a project of the internationally acclaimed set designer Clarke Dunham, is on its way to become a reality in Pottersville, Dunham said.

Well-known as the creator of train exhibits across the country, Dunham is acquiring the former Great Northern Auto Parts outlet in Pottersville, and he plans to set up four major, intricate model train displays that feature detailed, realistic, lighted model cityscapes and automated operation of dozens of trains.

Dunham is the creator of the famed Citicorp train display in New York City as well as extensive model train layouts in Cincinnati, Chicago, Omaha and Williamsburg, Va. that have been viewed by more than 5 million people. The Cincinnati display is a national attraction that exceeds 7,000 square feet.

Perky said...

A freelance writer, I Googled for info on the Station at Citicorp and found your wonderful blog post and the comments that followed it. Just a quick update to the last comment. The Dunhams' outstanding train display (greatly expanded now to include FIVE layouts) now has a home of its own. Railroads on Parade opened last summer in the charming Adirondack town of Pottersville, NY, in the Lake George region. The place reopens for weekends in mid-May and expands hours in June. See for details. It is amazing - fun for all ages. Double your train fun by reserving a ride on the Saratoga and North Creek railroad (real train), that runs from Saratoga Springs to North Creek. See for reservation info. Thanks for this chance to update your information.