|Happy Birthday Grand Central!
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Posted: February 7, 2013
by Ted Greenberg
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I love birthdays (if you’ve caught my show, you know this) and New York City (if you’ve read my blog, you know this). They are two of my favorite things. Put them together, and I’m overjoyed. One of the Big Apple’s treasures (and according to Travel + Leisure, one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world) is Grand Central Terminal, often referred to as Grand Central Station.
Happy 100th birthday Grand Central. You look as beautiful today (thanks to a major restoration project begun nearly 20 years ago) as when you opened 100 years ago. That cannot be said for all of us after a century.
In honor of its past 100 years, I highlight my five favorite facts about Grand Central:
(5) A fact to prove Mayor Bloomberg right. The ceiling in Grand Central was restored to its sky blue glory in 1998, and it was determined that tar and nicotine — from back in the days when people were allowed to smoke in the station — were the culprits of staining the lovely ceiling. If Michael Bloomberg had been mayor then, he would have found a way to turn it into a gruesome anti-smoking campaign.
(4) Mindbending love story was shot here. One of cinema’s biggest casting gamble — Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as lovers — worked perfectly for Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, a quirky film about willingly erasing your memory of former lovers. Told out of order and in a fractured, lyrical tone, the film featured an important scene in Grand Central. Unforgettable.
(3) Making art amid commerce. For twenty years (1923 – 1944), the Grand Central School of Art operated in the building. Many of the artists who studied there went on to gain fame and influence the following generations. That’s right. Stuart Davis. William de Kooning. Mary Goldsmith. Helen Dryden. Yes, they were all students at the school.
(2) There’s a reason for everything. The constellations on the gorgeous ceiling is painted on backwards. The claims are that it it to reflect God’s view from the sky. But, I don’t know any New Yorker — religious or not — who is buying this. No matter how artful the suggestion, it needs to be based in reality or as they say all over the 5 boroughs, “Fuggedaboutit.”
(1) Angelina Jolie in the station. That’s right. Back in the mid-90s, a film called Hackers (oh, who cares what it was called) featured a big scene at the station. All you need to know is that Ms. Jolie was there. Enough said.
Tags: grand central terminal, happy birthday