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Looking Back: Grand Central Turns 100

Hudson Valley Patch readers share their memories of the New York City commuter hub.

Many commuters run through Grand Central station every day, rushing to work, never stopping to notice the grand chandeliers, historical architecture or sites. Today, folks are taking some time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of New York City's Grand Central Terminal.

The keys to the massive, train station were first handed off to the stationmaster on Feb. 1, 1913, according to the Huffington Post.

At GCT today, the big 100 kicked off with a band and speeches from Caroline Kennedy, honorary chairwoman of the Grand Central Centennial Committee, actress Cynthia Nixon, former Mets star Keith Hernandez, former poet laureate Billy Collins and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to the Huffington Post.

Folks all around the Hudson Valley shared their memories of the century-old building.

Hudson Valley commuter Elly Trickett McNerney, who has been taking the train to Grand Central for the past seven years, said the commute is not her favorite part of the day. "But once that train disgorges us into Grand Central Terminal, whatever mood I'm in dissipates," she said. "...as I march across the marble floor scattering the odd, gawking tourist, I feel smug that I get to do this every day."

McNerney said she "appreciates the history that I'm walking through, and click off the landmarks as I walk past them...the Oyster Bar, the astronomical ceiling, the clock. It gets even better on the rare occasions that I have to go to Penn Station. No offense, LIRR/NJ Transit users, but if I had to fight my way through the greasy food aromas and the gloomy, slightly humid fog every day, I'd move."

Scarsdale resident and writer Jack Miller said he searched for an old photograph he has from Grand Central, but to no avail. The commuter went on to describe his photo.

"Truth is it isn’t that impressive of a snapshot," Miller said. "It’s just two old people standing with a smiling infant in a stroller...eclipsed by their surroundings–Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station. The large marble space is dimly lit by its multi-bulbed chandeliers and there is a blur in the background from all the people quickly heading off on their own lives."

"But the subjects in this image are perfectly still, frozen in a moment that for me will last forever," he said. "This was a photo from the last time that my parents would ever visit New York." 

"We spent the day walking up and down 5th Avenue, eating lunch at some deli known for making sandwiches larger than your head, and then we even made it to a museum," Miller recalled. "My oldest son, or at the time of the photo he was my only son, was a great sport for the entire day cooing at his grandparents and maybe only soiling his diaper once. But as the sun was setting, it was time for me to head back to Westchester, and my parents walked us to Grand Central to say goodbye. We hugged and kissed, and something inside possessed me to have them stand still and take one last picture with my old Leica. At this point in time the photo is now 13 years old, but I can’t pass by that exact spot in the terminal without stopping and thinking about that day, and more importantly my folks."

Patch reader Michael said he has only stayed at Grand Central "just long enough to get a train."

But, this longtime commuter did recall some fond memories of the 100-year-old train terminal.

"I have seen numerous commercials filmed as well as part of the movie, Friends with Benefits (they do those very early in the morning)," Michael said. "I remember dining at Michael Jordan's steak house for business dinners when stuck in the city due to snow storms and remembering how you didn't even realize you were in a train station while feasting on a delicious Filet Mignon."

Have an old memory of Grand Central Station to share? A favorite photo from the past? Add your memories, moments and images to the comments section or add a photo by clicking "upload."

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