Grand Central Terminal celebrations show off landmark's legacy and future
Grand Central Terminal turns the big 100 Saturday and its caretakers are going all out to make sure every commuter that walks its halls Friday learns its legacy.
Metro-North officials, the mayor and other sponsors will kick off a yearlong celebration of the centennial with a rededication ceremony Friday.
Gabrielle Schubert, the director of the New York Transit Museum, which is running an exhibit on the terminal's history at Vanderbilt Hall, said the party would show visitors how far Grand Central has come over its 100 years.
"When you are a commuter and you are busy, you don't take the time to see the building and how far it has come," she said.
The ceremony will include a performance by the West Point Brass and Percussion Band, celebrity appearances and red carpets.
The terminal's various restaurants will serve their top dishes at 1913 prices, such as a 19-cent slice of cheesecake at the Oyster Bar & Restaurant.
Although those cheap prices and the fanfare are part of a one-day event, there will be more celebrations for months to come.
The transit museum's "Grand by Design" exhibit will run through the middle of March and show how the terminal enhanced Manhattan beyond simply connecting more people with the city.
Schubert said Grand Central's architecture, impact on the railroad industry during the early 20th century and its influence on the development of midtown would all be on display in the exhibit.
"We want people to recognize the beauty of this building and how it has lasted 100 years," she said.
As much as the terminal's administrators celebrate Grand Central's past, they are excited for its next 100 years.
Howard Permut, the president of Metro-North, said the commuter reach would continue to grow once the East Side Access project brings Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central sometime around 2019.
"We will be able to maintain it as the great hub ... it is," he said.
Future enhancements won't just be for the terminal's underground either. The city will be improving the area around Park Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets, creating a new public space for people to enjoy.
"The entrance under Park Avenue is kind of dismissive," Permut said. "The common question people ask when they're around there is, 'Where is Grand Central?' "
The longtime Metro-North president said those improvements will add to the terminal's allure and continue to inspire New Yorkers and visitors alike with the charm and promise of the Big Apple.