When William K. Vanderbilt, chairman of the New York Central Railroad, threw open the doors of his new 70-acre transportation palace at midnight on Feb. 1, 1913, nearly 150,000 people poured in to marvel at the Beaux Arts beauty that was as much an engineering triumph as an architectural wonder. A century on -- and thanks to a desperately needed $200 million renovation in the 1990s -- Grand Central Terminal is not only still the world's largest railway station (albeit now only for commuters), but once again the city's most vivacious and awe-inspiring interior, a must-see for tourists and a perennial favorite with locals. So make a point of stopping by sometime and wishing the Grand Dame of 42nd Street a happy 100th birthday.
DOWN THE TRACKS Future commemorations include "On Time," contemporary artists depict and reimagine Grand Central moments, March 6-July 7 (New York Transit Museum Gallery, Shuttle Passage); "Keeping Time," poets from the newly relaunched Poetry in Motion program join performers from Music Under New York for an appreciation, April 10, at 7 p.m. (Vanderbilt Hall); Parade of Trains, historic trains, including the epoch-defining Twentieth Century Limited, and railroadiana exhibits (Vanderbilt Hall and selected platforms), May 10-12.
Android and iPhone app for $4.99). Pick up a headset at the special ticket window in the Main Concourse. Available 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
THE DINING CAR On Friday various GCT food purveyors and retailers will be offering special centennial pricings on select items. But the gastronomic glory that was Grand Central can be savored all year at the original Oyster Bar and Restaurant (lower level, 212-490-6650, oysterbarny.com), with its domed dining room and separate raw bar. Almost as original, though it was not open to the public until 1999, is the elegant Campbell Apartment Cocktail Bar (15 Vanderbilt Ave., 212-953-0409), the former office of Roaring '20s financier and N.Y. Central board member John Campbell.