Grand Central Terminal
Monday, July 11, 2011
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) Grand Central Terminal's 100th birthday is eighteen months away. But The New York Transit Museum is putting the word out now that it's looking for memorabilia to mark the event.
NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman Marjorie Anders says the museum has many artifacts from New York's bus and subway systems but relatively few from Grand Central Terminal and its trains. That's because old lines like Conrail and Penn Central are either defunct or have been merged into Metro-North.
"The stuff that we're interested in displaying is from an era that's gone," she said. "It's from railroads that no longer exist."
Anders says the museum is seeking anything from a conductor's cap to a baggage cart. But it's especially interested in remnants from the middle of last century, when train travel was more elegant. In those days, Grand Central Terminal had rocking chairs in its ladies rooms and potted palms in its waiting areas. And passengers arriving on The 2oth Century Limited from Los Angeles stepped off the train onto a red carpet.
Anders says current and former workers who may have helped themselves to old railroad items will be forgiven--as long as they loan or donate them to the exhibit.
That includes Harry Kelly, who has worked at Grand Central for 38 years. In the 1970s and 80s, he updated arrival times on the terminal's sign boards using information sent to him from a dispatcher via telautograph machine. The dispatcher wrote with a pen that sent a signal through a telephone line and moved a pen across a sheet of paper in Kelly's office--like an early fax machine.
Then came computers to do that job. Kelly recalls that after that, a supervisor called him in and said, "Harry, do me a favor. Get rid of these old telautographs." Kelly tossed out about thirty of the devices before it hit him: "I'm not a big collector but this was something that I used for many, many years. So I held onto one."
Kelly will be loaning the salvaged machine to the exhibit.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
By Marlon Bishop : WNYC Culture Producer
Coming soon to a subway station near you: a Japanese mandolin player playing Italian classics, Baroque harp music, and a full blown Afro-jazz group. They're just some of the 19 individuals and groups chosen by the MTA's Music Under New York program to join the roster of musicians officially sanctioned to perform underground. Here's a list of the winners.
Friday, November 19, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Now going to Grand Central is going to be a little bit more like going to the Met Museum. Beginning Tuesday, the NYC MTA will begin offering audio tours of Grand Central Terminal, put together by "an internationally experienced team," according to MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders, who noted in a release that the same group has also done the Great Wall of China and the Acropolis.
"We know there's a market" for the 45-minute tours, Anders says, "because we see people coming on big tours." Anders noted the Grand Central Partnership and the Municipal Art Society will continue to offer free tours.
The tours, which will cost $5 and be available in three languages starting Tuesday, will point out how to find hidden features, like the "dirty patch" on the terminal sky, and contain factoids like this one: some 700,000 people travel through GCT each day, more than the entire population of San Francisco.