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Grand Central looks to 2013 centennial



Published: Sun, April 15, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

NEW YORK

Grand Central Terminal will celebrate its centennial as a landmark transportation hub with input from Caroline Kennedy, Spike Lee and Jessye Norman.

The railroad station that has served as a gateway to the city since 1913 unveiled a new logo recently, featuring an image of the big clock that’s a popular meeting spot in the marble-paved main concourse.

Each morning, as commuters rush through the 80,000-square-foot hall, they encounter a lighting effect that lends the terminal its charisma: “sunlight beaming through the eastern windows,” Joseph Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said.

Grand Central serves 750,000 commuters daily plus visitors who shop, take photos and eat at both high-end and affordable restaurants.

Modeled on ancient Roman baths, the Beaux Arts building is home to Metro-North, the nation’s busiest commuter railroad that links the city with its northern suburbs. Metro North is replacing its older cars with new ones.

By 2016, it will not be Grand Central’s only rail service; tunnels are being excavated so the Long Island Rail Road that operates from Manhattan’s Penn Station also will stop at the terminal.

Grand Central opened on Feb. 1, 1913, as the world’s largest train station. On that day a century later, the terminal will be rededicated, said centennial committee chairman Peter Stangl.

The honorary chairwoman is Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who helped save Grand Central from demolition in the 1980s.

Also offering their presence and participation next year are Lee, a filmmaker, and Norman, a singer who is to perform on centennial day.

The yearlong celebration will feature an exhibit detailing Grand Central’s history. A major improvement is planned with the restructuring of the entrance on 42nd Street to make it more prominent.

Inside, Vanderbilt Hall — dubbed “New York’s living room” — will acquire a caf . Its public space is to be used for various purposes year-round instead of only part of the time.

In May 2013, a “parade” of historic trains will allow visitors to walk through cars built in an era when travelers arrived in New York by train from around the country. Now, hundreds of daily trains go only as far as New Haven, Conn., or upstate New York.

Daily walking tours are offered through the edifice that covers two square blocks on Manhattan’s East Side.


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