Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grand Central Terminal Celebrates 100 Years

Courtesy: NYC & Co./Alex Lopez

About to celebrate its 100th anniversary, Grand Central Terminal is a beloved icon in New York City and the busiest and largest rail terminal in the world.  Celebrations commemorating the terminal as well as a new book by Sam Roberts of the New York Times all treat visitors to what's special about this remarkable landmark.

Courtesy: NYC & Co./Alex Lopez

Do you know the whereabouts of the Whispering Gallery or the Campbell Apartment?  How about the location of the tennis court in Grand Central?  And for 100 points, what's wrong with GCT's beautiful ceiling?  Although I  don't know exactly what Roberts has cited in his book, Grand Central Terminal: How a Train Station Transformed America, I'm guessing that these "secrets" are included.

On a foodie note:  I doubt that Roberts considers the Grand Central Market one of the building's prime "secrets," but I do.  It's something you shouldn't miss: it has some of the freshest fish, bakery items, and cheeses that you can source anywhere in New York City, and a great variety of prepared dishes.  A super score if you're dashing to catch your train or subway and need a quick solution for dinner. Or just a snack.

Some of the events happening on Grand Central Terminal's birthday, February 1, include a concert by the West Point Brass & Percussion with West Point's Cadet Color Guard; Happy Birthday songs and tributes by VIPs including preservationist Caroline Kennedy, singer Melissa Manchester, and actor Cynthia Nixon; and dance performance by the Knicks City Dancers and Kids dance teams.

In addition to all-day giveaways of goodies like chocolate hearts from Li-Lac Chocolates or vintage train whistles from Target, you can take advantage of 1913 pricing at  Grand Central's shops and restaurants with bargains like a 19¢ slice of cheesecake at the Oyster Bar & Restaurant or a 75¢ Adirondack cocktail at Michael Jordan's The Steak House NYC.

Other Events and Exhibitions include:

New York City Transit Museum's 11th Annual Holiday Train Show at Grand Central

Through February 10
Location: New York Transit Museum Gallery
Annex & Store at Grand Central

In a new layout built by Lionel, model Metro-North and New York Central trains depart from a miniature Grand Central on a 34’ long, two-level set-up. The show also displays vintage model trains from the Transit Museum’s collection as well as classic railroad posters.

Grand by Design: A Centennial Celebration of Grand Central Terminal

February 1 – March 15
Location: Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal

A visual expression of Grand Central Terminal's importance in shaping modern Manhattan and in setting the tone and pace for its future.

On Time / Grand Central at 100

March 6 – July 7
Location: New York Transit Museum Gallery
Annex & Store at Grand Central

This exhibit, presented by MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design, showcases the work of more than a dozen contemporary artists in an exhibition about time and the people who live and move through it, all connected by their experience in Grand Central Terminal.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Immerse Yourself in All Things Travel This Weekend at the New York Times Travel Show

Each year I look forward to the weekend New York Times Travel Show.  For two days, actually three (since I also attend the trade/press day on the Friday prior) for me, I think about nothing but travel.... and food.... and entertainment.  It doesn't matter how cold it is outside, whether it's slushy or frigidly icy, or whether I'm struggling to fight off the flu (without wearing one of those masks that I saw all over Thailand and Hong Kong), once I'm inside the Jacob Javits Center, I become one with whichever destination's booth I'm visiting.

The show is packed on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 in the morning, with a line-up of demonstrations, food samplings, seminars, and giveaways, all designed to put you in the mood to go somewhere.  I shouldn't be greedy, I know, as I've just returned from a monster trip, but nonetheless I can be easily swayed.  At the show, plan to walk and walk and walk the corridors filled with exhibitions with enticing photos, brochures, and special deals.  You'll get a swag bag to fill with whatever you collect and you may just be one of the lucky few to win a trip on-the-spot or score a real-time discount to the destination of your dreams.

In between eating, walking, drinking, watching, and eating, walking, and drinking, you'll also want to attend some of the informative seminars all having to do with travel.  My favorites from years past include Arthur and Pauline Frommers' highlights of where to go in 2013; Julia Dimon's adventure junkie exploits; seminars on women's, adventure and solo travel with noted travel writers Marybeth Bond (The Gutsy Traveler, www.gutsytraveler.com), Lea Lane (Solo Traveler, www.sololady.com), and Patricia Schultz (1000 Places to See Before You Die, www.1000beforeyoudie.com) among others; and learning about the newest and greatest ways to maximize your frequent flyer miles and credit card points.

Tickets are $17; 18 and under are free.  Buy them online or at the show.  See you at the Javits Center!  655 West 34th Street, Manhattan