Tomorrow, February 2nd, marks the 106th birthday of Grand Central Terminal, which opened to the public in 1913 on the site of its two previous iterations: Grand Central Depot and Grand Central Station. Now one of the most beloved landmarks in New York City, its history is the story of visionary civic leaders, feuding architects, and grass roots preservationism, amidst a glorious rise, fall and rebirth that also tells the story of the city itself.
Here are five ways you can celebrate the anniversary inside the landmarked building (or just near by)!
1. Get a Drink in the Campbell Apartment
The 2017 renovation of the Campbell Apartment kept all of the historic details of the former private office of business tycoon John W. Campbell. Bask in Gilded Age glory here with cocktails in tall glasses and copper mugs, along with small bites.
2. Discover the Lost Movie Theater in Grand Central’s Wine Shop
The murals inside Central Cellar wine store in Grand Central, next to Track 17, were rediscovered during the restoration of the terminal in the 1990s. They were once part of the movie theater Grand Central Theatre, that opened in the 1930s, playing shorts, cartoons and news reels. Stop by here, talk to the staff, who love the history of the spot as much as we do, and grab a bottle of wine or spirits to go!
The first film to screen at the theater was the MGM film Servant of the People: The Story of the Constitution of the United States. According to the website, I Ride the Harlem Line, the theater was advertised as the “most intimate theatre in America” and was open every day until midnight. Another fun tidbit is that the theater was designed by Tony Sarg, the same person who created the first balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day, including Felix the Cat!
3. Eat Delicious Oysters at the Oyster Bar
Beneath vaulted Guastavino tiling channeling your best Mad Men vibe, take in a menu with not only dozens of world-class oysters but a raw bar, live lobsters, fresh fish, and more. Saturday Happy Hour goes from 1 to 5 PM, with a specific menu that includes oysters, chowder, beers, wines, and martinis.
4. Take a Tour of the Secrets of Grand Central Terminal
Join us for one of our most popular and longest running tours, the Secrets of Grand Central Terminal which will take you, among other locations, the hidden tennis courts and the Campbell Apartment, while telling the impressive story of Grand Central’s rise, fall and rebirth. The next tour is Saturday at 2 PM.
5. Get a Drink in the Della Robia Bar, in a Hotel Built as One of Grand Central’s Terminal City
The Della Robbia Bar would have clearly been a stunning place to enter when it was built in 1913, but today it is even more remarkable for the fact that it is the “lone remnant of an interior ensemble destroyed in a 1960s modernization of the former Vanderbilt Hotel into a multi-use building,” write Judith Gura and Kate Wood in Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York. The Vanderbilt Hotel was part of a larger grand plan around Grand Central Terminal, known as Terminal City. The Della Robbia Bar is also an example of preservation and landmarking by means of community, grass-roots efforts.
Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of Grand Central Terminal.