Stuff We Like: Grand Central at 100
Each day, 750,000 people pass through the storied hallways of Grand Central Terminal, the transportation heart of the greater New York metro area and the busiest train station in the country. The National Historic Landmark celebrates its 100th “birthday” this year, kicking off with a Centennial Celebration on Feb. 1 and an exhibit called Grand By Design, which examines how the station has changed New York and will shape its future.
In honor of the landmark’s centennial, Lionel has released the ready-to-run Grand Central Express with official anniversary markings. “Not Just a Toy, a Tradition”—the slogan for an older Lionel line that resonates still today—this collectible set makes for a wonderful family gift that your
children will undoubtedly want to pass down to their own. Bonus tidbit: The Lionel Manufacturing Company was founded in 1900 near NYC’s City Hall. ($439 for complete set; $139.99 for passenger 2-pack including diner and baggage car; visit lionelstore.com to purchase and to download coloring pages for your kids)
Forget houses and hotels — high rollers in this version of the classic Monopoly game collect tracks and platforms in honor of the iconic train hub. With Grand Central-opoly ($34.95; Transit Museum Store) it’s all fun and games…until someone loses a ticket and has to wait three turns for the next train! See more of the Transit Museum Store’s Grand Central Terminal Collection, including iPhone cases and umbrellas inspired by the train hub’s famous ceiling — at transitmuseumstore.com.
Walking through Grand Central during a busy time, one is bound to see anything amidst the rush and tumble of commuters and travelers—and that energy and sense of adventure is captured with bold, quirky pictures and lots of fun wordplay in Next Stop, Grand Central($16.99) by NYC’s own Maira Kalman. Kids will relish the unconventional characters and get happily lost in the chaos of the “biggest, fastest, busiest place there is.” Recommended for ages 5-9.
PBS released this documentary four years before the 2013 centennial, but no matter: American Experience: Grand Central($19.99) explores history, after all. The film, narrated by NYC native Joe Morton, explores the tragedy that became the impetus for GCT’s construction (a tragic commuter railway accident in which 17 people died) and the subsequent building of this living monument, a marvel of technological and architectural innovation. The DVD’s special features include a teacher’s guide, but immersing your family in a little local history assuredly won’t feel like a lesson.