Grand Central Terminal’s 100th Birthday: Events, Exhibits and More

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central turns 100 Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Grand Central Terminal… is celebrating its 100th birthday! Beloved for its beauty and design, the Grand Central Terminal in New York might just be the most famous railway station in the world. Which means some serious celebrating!

On February 1, 2013, exactly 100 years since its inaugural day, a year-long celebration kicked off. A morning rededication ceremony included Caroline Kennedy (whose mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is credited with saving the edifice from demolition), descendants of “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt (the man who built the terminal), former U.S. poet Laureate Billy Collins reading an original poem commissioned for the occasion, and musical performances by Melissa Manchester and the West Point Brass & Percussion.

The grand central station

Grand Central, as it looked the year it was built

Throughout the day,terminal retailers offered free giveaways and special deals, including select items sold at 1913 prices (like 5¢ coffee, 25¢ pieces of fudge from Li-Lac Chocolate, 10¢ shoeshines, and $2 silk scarves).

But even if you missed the opening day, don’t worry! The centennial celebration continues through 2013. Our top picks for events include:

  • On Time/Grand Central at 100March 6 to July 7: An exhibition featuring more than a dozen contemporary artists.
  • Grand Central Station

    Grand Central Station. Photo by Jeff Dobbins

    Nick Cave: Heard-NY, March 25 to 31: Acclaimed artist Nick Cave creates an installation/performance piece in Vanderbilt Hall in which thirty colorful “horses” periodically break into movement. This is Cave’s first public project in NYC.

  • Grand Centennial Parade of Trains Weekend, May 10 to 12: Historic trains (including the 20th Century Limited) that once traveled in and out of the terminal return to Grand Central, along with rail equipment, displays and interactive exhibits.
  • The Next Level: Photographs of Hiroyuki Suzuki, July 27 to November 3: Suzuki’s photographs ffer a behind-the-scenes look at the East Side Access project, currently being constructed eighteen stories beneath the terminal.

New Grand Central Tour Program, winter 2013: A new docent-led daily walking tour of the Grand Central terminal.

Preserving a Landmark: Creating a Legacy, summer 2013:  A restored entrance to the terminal at 89 East 42nd Street will be unveiled, along with exterior enhancements to the Pershing Square viaduct.

Another way to celebrate Grand Central station? Give a toast to the beloved landmark! The luxurious Campbell Apartment has created its “Centennial Punch,” made with papaya, pomegranate, lemon, Hendrick’s Gin, Sandeman Founder’s Reserve port, and a dash of champagne.

More information about Grand Central’s Centennial Celebration can be found on its website.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal, 1937

  • It’s amazing building. I was in Grand Central once. I wish I could visit it again… Maybe I’ll come back to NYC…

    • I hope you do come back. The city just keeps getting better, and there are so many great events coming up at GCT. Thanks for your message.

  • I used to love walking through this station when I lived in NYC. That photo with the rays of light is just incredible!

    • Thanks. Hope you get a chance to experience it again soon. It really is an awe-inspiring place.