Grand Central's history to be explored in free programs

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The history of Grand Central Terminal and the people who shaped it will be explored in three programs scheduled for April 11 as part of the station's centennial celebration.

Historians, preservationists, railroad experts and journalists will participate in lectures and panel discussions scheduled throughout the afternoon and evening in the terminal's Vanderbilt Hall, 89 E. 42nd St. Speakers will include people involved in Grand Central's key moments as well as descendants of prominent figures in the life of the iconic building.

"Pioneers of Railroading," kicks off at noon with a screening of the 20-minute documentary "Grand Central Secrets" before a discussion of the visionaries and engineers who built the station. Among those participating will be Alfred G. Vanderbilt, the thrice-great-grandson of railroad magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt.

During "The Battle to Save Grand Central," at 3:30 p.m., attendees will hear from key activists in the effort to save the terminal from demolition after it plunged into decline following World War II. Laurie Beckelman and Fred Papert, who were on the Committee to Save Grand Central back then, will be among the participants in a panel discussion.

The day's events will conclude with "On the Write Track: Authors on Grand Central" at 6 p.m. A panel of authors who have written extensively about Grand Central come together for the first time to deliberate on the terminal's distinctive appeal and its far-reaching impact on the culture of New York.

The event, "Grand Central Talks," is sponsored by Metro-North Railroad and the New York Transit Museum with assistance from the New York Public Library. For more details, go online www.grandcentralterminal.com.

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