New York's Grand Central celebrates 100 years

Built in palatial Beaux Arts style, celebrated in movies, and narrowly saved from the wrecking ball in the 1970s, New York's Grand Central rail station turned 100.

The iconic building no longer has long-distance trains, but its commuter services and multiple subway lines ensure that Grand Central remains at the heart of the Big Apple's teeming daily commute, even while being one of the world's biggest tourism sites.

With staircases recalling the Paris opera, an elaborate depiction of the Zodiac across the vast ceiling, chandeliers, and a famed, multi-million-dollar clock, Grand Central still has the power to awe visitors.

Incredibly, though, the soaring building erected by the Vanderbilt family and opened in 1913 came close to being razed and replaced with an office tower before it was saved thanks to a campaign led by John F. Kennedy's widow, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

It finally took a ruling from the US Supreme Court to secure the building's future.

"It's not easy to last 100 years in a city of constant change," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the start of anniversary celebrations in the terminal on Friday.

About three-quarters of a million people enter Grand Central daily. In honor of the 100th birthday, station shops and food outlets were charging 1913 prices, such as 10 cents for a shoeshine, six cents for a loaf of rye bread and a coffee for five cents.

Actress Cynthia Nixon from the "Sex and the City" series, who attended the birthday ceremony, said Grand Central was "such a special place, full of memories."

"We own it. It's so much a part of our daily life," she said.

With its glamorous looks and the buzz of arrivals and departures, Grand Central is ready made for the screen, appearing in contemporary productions like the TV series "Gossip Girl" as it did in classic films like Hitchcock's "North by Northwest." Sophia Loren once acted there during the filming of "Fire Power."

Originally Grand Central was the terminal for long distance trains, before focusing on New York and the suburbs stretching into Connecticut. The commuter hub will get even busier in 2019 when a Long Island Rail Road terminal opens.

  • 2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America 5 hours ago
    2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America

    For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.

  • Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van 8 hours ago
    Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van

    “Once you do stand-up, you don’t want to go back.” No, we’re not talking about comedy, but rather an emerging trend in luxury transport that’s bringing us ever taller, more capacious, more pimpdillyicious limousines. The quote came from a Ford designer, Tim Stoehr, predicting an increase in interest in limos based on big vans like the new Transit. Of course, these are nothing new; up-fitters have taken quite kindly to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and apparently Ford is chomping at the bit to get in on the action, too. So Ford enlisted the help of the largest Ford dealer in the world, Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif., to help design and build its first super-lux Transit concept, dubbed the Skyliner.

  • Driving the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive, the plugged-in SUV 13 hours ago
    Driving the 2016 BMW X5 eDrive, the plugged-in SUV

    Automakers worldwide have gradually (some would say grudgingly) attempted to make their high-profit and highly popular SUVs as efficient and clean-running as their lower weight passenger cars — namely through the grafting of a plug-in hybrid system.

  • Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report
    Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report

    Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company aims to announce its new product by the end of June and ship to customers by the end of September in time for the holidays, the Journal said in a Friday report, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. Amazon, it said, hopes to differentiate its phone from other models with a screen that displays hologram-like three-dimensional images, which can be viewed without special glasses. Earlier this month the retailer unveiled a new media streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, which it touted as simplifying the experience of watching video online.

  • Malaysia flight's co-pilot tried to make cellphone call - report
    Malaysia flight's co-pilot tried to make cellphone call - report

    Investigators probing the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 suspect that the co-pilot of the jetliner tried to make a call with his cellphone after the plane was diverted from its scheduled route, Malaysia's New Straits Times reported sources as saying on Saturday. The newspaper cited unidentified investigative sources as saying the attempted call from co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid's phone was picked up by a cellphone tower as the plane was about 200 nautical miles northwest of the west coast state of Penang.