The 100th anniversary of the opening of Grand Central Terminal is a year away, but news about the centennial celebration was released today by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York (MTA) and Metro-North Railroad, which together announced formation of two committees created to guide the year-long public celebration, and initial plans for the first public events scheduled for Feb. 1, 2013.
MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota will serve as chair of the effort’s Honorary Committee. Former Metro-North Railroad President and MTA Chairman and CEO Peter Stangl will chair the Centennial Committee, which will help plan Centennial activities. Both groups are currently in formation.
Officials say a spectacular celebration will focus international attention on the Terminal’s 100th birthday on Feb. 1, 2013. Music and other performances, a formal re-dedication ceremony with VIP guests, and numerous other public activities will round out the day, which will be capped by a gala event. Also that day, The New York Transit Museum kicks off a six-week exhibition in the Terminal’s historic Vanderbilt Hall. This large-scale exhibit features artifacts, archival material, moving images and photographs from the Museum’s collection — and private collectors — that explore the past, present and future of Grand Central Terminal.
“I look forward to chairing the honorary committee that will oversee the public recognition of Grand Central Terminal. The MTA has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in modernizing and restoring Grand Central for the good of the commuters and travelers who use it. This ongoing and constant improvement is obvious to anyone who visits the terminal. Our investments in this landmarked gem pay daily dividends to the city and the state in increased economic vitality and tourism as well as increased rail ridership,” said MTA Chairman Lhota.
“The MTA and Metro-North have rebuilt the Terminal into one of the great spaces of the city, a true crossroads that still inspires awe. This centennial will celebrate our commitment to this great New York icon. As stewards of this terminal, Metro-North has embarked on a continuous upgrade of facilities, both seen and unseen. From the copper roof and sky ceiling, to the facade and statuary, to the energy-efficient infrastructure now being installed, Metro-North is ensuring that the greatness of Grand Central Terminal endures for the next 100 years,” said Howard Permut, president of Metro-North Railroad.
“The centennial celebration will feature events that call attention not only to Grand Central's history, but also to how the terminal continues to adapt and to serve the 21st century and beyond — as a great railroad station and transportation hub, a commercial center, an international visitor’s destination, the city’s most elegant landmark, and an engineering marvel. I look forward to working with members of the Centennial and Honorary Committees to make the Centennial informative, fun and memorable," said Peter Stangl.
The year-long celebration will comprise a variety of events, publications, educational initiatives and exhibitions to commemorate the centennial, including additional programs from the New York Transit Museum and MTA Arts for Transit, as well as an officially-licensed line of MTA commemorative and collectible products that give visitors a chance to take home mementoes of the historic celebration. Activities being planned now include a parade of historic trains, collaborative commemorations with other New York institutions, and additional historic exhibitions.
The Terminal’s retail tenants will join in the celebration through special promotions and sales activities. Officials say centennial celebration activities are intended to serve the nation, as well as the 750,000 people who use Grand Central Terminal daily, the many tourists who visit each year, and the numerous businesses and institutions located in and near the Terminal. Details about all centennial events will be released at a later date.
Grand Central Terminal is the transportation hub for three of MTA Metro-North Railroad’s lines east of the Hudson River — the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven lines. As the nation’s largest commuter railroad, Metro-North provided 97 percent on-time service for 82 million people in 2011. Its 5,800 employees operate 720 trains each weekday, serving seven New York counties and two Connecticut counties, and contributing greatly to the vitality of the region and the success of the Terminal.
Funds for the celebration activities will come from private sources. Centennial planners have engaged New York City-based Premier Partnerships to identify and coordinate corporate sponsorship opportunities available during the 2013 celebration.