Grand Central Terminal Turns 100: Photos
Grand Central Terminal in New York City is celebrating its 100th anniversary. More than a landmark and a transportation hub, Grand Central has become an icon of the modern era, a symbol of a city always in motion.
One hundred years is a long time to be in business. Consider that when the station opened cars were still something of a novelty; the television set hadn't yet been invented; and the first coast-to-coast telephone system was still two years away.
In this slide show, explore some of the history of Grand Central over its 10 decades of service. This photo shows the terminal shortly after its opening.
Grand Central officially opened its door on Feb. 1, 1913, with the first train leaving the station at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 2. The station's opening attracted a crowd of 150,000 people its first day in service.
One hundred years later, crowds are again gathering to celebrate Grand Central's centennial with a ceremony with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and live performances.
Bettmann Archive/Corbis Images
In its second decade of service in the 1920s, Grand Central opened an unlikely addition for any train station: an art school and gallery. The Grand Central School of Art operated for two decades on the seventh floor of the station.
Given that Grand Central was the home to works of art, it seems only fitting that the same station would host milestones of engineering. In this photo, crowds gather for the public exhibition in 1926 of the first airplane to cross the Atlantic flying west to east.
Bettmann Archive/Corbis Images
In the 100 years of history of Grand Central Terminal, there have been a few bumps in the road -- or maybe more accurately cows on the track given that we're talking rails.
Travelers pictured here in May 1947 were stranded at Grand Central Terminal as a result of a railway strike. Signs in the background announce the bad news.
The 1940s would mark the height of train travel in the United States. In 1947, the same year as the strike referenced in the previous slide, more than 65 million people passed through Grand Central. At the time, the United States had 144 million people.
Grand Central was so important as a transportation hub for both military personnel and civilians that it was targeted by Nazis who plotted to sabotage the station. Luckily, their scheme was foiled by the FBI.
Bettmann Archive - UPI/Corbis
Grand Central was not only a transit point for passengers on their way to and from New York City, but also become an impromptu gathering place when everyone stops moving to watch history before their eyes.
In this photo taken in 1962, some 5,000 watched a giant television screen covering John Glenn's orbit of Earth. Glenn's flight went smoothly, but there's little doubt that those same thousands of observers likely showed up late to work that day.
As the 1960s progressed, Grand Central increasingly deteriorated as Americans turned to cars in favor of trains to get around. Grand Central still had crowds of people, but those were primarily homeless people seeking shelter.
As a result, Grand Central was considered for demolition in 1968, and was even condemned to be torn down. In order to save the station, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the station a historic landmark.
After undergoing a major restoration in the 1990s, Grand Central was brought back from the brink. While the station never saw a return of the kinds of passenger numbers it witnessed at its height, it does still attract a large number of visitors for tourism, shopping and dining.