On 2 february 2013, New Yorkers will celebrate the 100th birthday of Grand Central Terminal (GCT). One of our most beautiful Beaux-Art edifices and an iconic landmark, is one of my favorite spaces.
The previous Victorian Grand Central Depot opened in 1871. Architectural firms Reed & Stem and Warren & Wetmore were the brains behind the current station. The wonderful book, Grand Central Terminal: City within the City, thoroughly covers GCT’s story. A gift from its designer, Keith Godard – my former employer – it also includes a model kit to build your own GCT.
At midnight on 2 february 1913, the Grand Central’s doors opened to more than 150,000 people to marvel at its opulence and grandeur: The massive marble staircases, the iconic four-sided clock, and the magnificent fresco of the constellations soaring across the vaulted 125-foot ceiling.
The information booth is the meeting place of the station, topped with a magnificent clock. Pentagram expertly used the iconic clock as part of GCT’s newest brand identity.
Saving the Terminal
Grand Central Terminal fell into decline as the railroads fell out of favor. In the 70s, it was a dark and dusty dump. The building was nearly razed (the old Pennsylvania Station was razed) to build an office tower. In 1976, with the assistance of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Grand Central Terminal was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1978, the US Supreme Court upheld New York City’s right to preserve historic buildings.
One hundred years later, nearly 750,000 people whiz through Grand Central’s halls each day, some heading to one of its 123 tracks, making it the largest hub for train traffic in the world.
A grand series of happenings
A full year of activities begins Friday, 1 february 2013. Ceremonies, exhibitions, music and dance entertainment, lectures, special offers, photo opps and more.