Ok, a brief update from my last post. Two words come to mind on the Jerni Collection at the NY Historical Society and the toy trains this year at Grand Central.
The trains at Grand Central require a very long wait on a weekend visit (which most of us do). They took out the old trains on display (they aren't there) and put in just the MTH layout with huge paintings everywhere. I like the MTH layout but it isn't worth waiting around in Grand Central for an hour to see. Not gonna happen, especially for a layout I've already seen more than once.
The Jerni "Collection" was a solid waste of time and money. Let's remember how much it cost to get into NYC, either via train or via car. Cars are more expensive than trains but suffice to say, either way you are going to get dinged. In my case, I drove. That's $40 for gas and $30 to park (no street parking in that area unless you want to pay an inevitable ticket or impound fee), at least $100 for food if you bring your family (which I did) and so on. NYC is expensive and that's all there is to it. Even if you are cheap, NYC isn't.
To put it plainly, the collection wasn't a collection. It was a small one room show of the European/Marklin stations and some of the trains and more unique items from his collection. I'd say something to the effect of 1% to 1 1/2% of the collection. Were they beautiful/stunning works of art? Yes, absolutely. The items were gorgeous and probably so rare we'll never see them all at once again. Were they behind sheets of solid 3 inch plexiglass with a guard watching you and a thousand little kids running around? Yes. Was photography allowed? No. Was it a particularly enjoyable experience? Not at all. Was this good for kids? Nope. Oh yes and it costs $10 to get into the museum for grown ups. It just wasn't worth it. And more importantly, while the trains were beautiful, they held my attention for about 15 minutes. The Tiffany lamps in the museum were hugely interesting but not worth an expensive trip into NYC.
There are quite a few clubs and club members that have fantastic collections and layouts. Go make a friend or friends of those folks and go see their collections and layouts. It's cheaper, probably easier to get to and will be substantially more rewarding in the end. If you are in the neighborhood of the NY Historical Society and have 10 bucks you want to fry, go on up. I'd recommend you take your money next door to the American Museum of Natural History though. It doesn't have any trains but it is easily one of the best museums I've ever been to and it is ridiculously fun.
I know some of you that have gone to this will disagree with me. That's fine, if you like static, one room museum displays, I'm good with that. I'd still rather go to the TCA Museum in PA. That's a train museum that is just done right....
Here are a few of the pictures I could take before I was told photography wasn't allowed....