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Grand Central Terminal Turns 100

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A century ago, rail travel was at its peak in the U.S., and New York City built the massive Grand Central Terminal to accommodate the growth. Built over 10 years, gradually replacing its predecessor named Grand Central Station, the Grand Central Terminal building officially opened on February 2, 1913. The terminal and the surrounding neighborhood thrived -- by 1947, 65 million people a year were traveling through the building. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, rail travel declined sharply, and Grand Central Terminal fell into disrepair, threatened several times with demolition. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was able to undertake a huge restoration in the 1990s, and Grand Central remains a New York City icon today, 100 years after it first opened. [38 photos]

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Sunlight streams through the windows in the concourse at Grand Central Terminal in New York City in 1954. (AP Photo)
Sunlight streams through the windows in the concourse at Grand Central Terminal in New York City in 1954. (AP Photo)
Excavation work at the site of Grand Central Station in New York City, in 1908. Click here to see an extra-large (8,000px wide) version of this image. (Reuters/Courtesy of Library of Congress) #
Excavations for the construction of Grand Central Station in New York City, in 1908. (Reuters/Courtesy of Library of Congress) #
An exterior view of Grand Central Terminal under construction in New York City, on May 10, 1912. (AP Photo/New York Transit Museum) #
A view of the west balcony in Grand Central Station in New York in this photo taken between 1913-1930. (Reuters/Courtesy of Library of Congress) #
Incline from subway to suburban concourse, Grand Central Terminal, New York, ca 1912. (Library of Congress) #
Restaurant, Grand Central Terminal, ca 1912. (Library of Congress) #
Men stand on an incline to suburban concourse, Grand Central Terminal, ca 1912. (Library of Congress) #
A workman lies atop the eleven-foot arm of Mercury, part of the statuary at Grand Central Station. (© Bettmann/CORBIS) #
Suburban concourse with ramp, Grand Central Terminal, ca 1912. (Library of Congress) #
Grand Central Terminal, at Vanderbilt Ave and 42nd St., ca 1919. (Library of Congress) #
A crowd looks on as the "Bremen", a German Junkers W33 aircraft, and the first plane to fly west across the Atlantic, is placed on display in Grand Central Terminal, on May 21, 1929. (© Bettmann/CORBIS) #
Grand Central Terminal at E. 42nd St. and Vanderbilt Ave. in New York City. (AP Photo) #
A massive photomural to promote the sale of defense bonds, designed by the Farm Security Administration, in the concourse of Grand Central Terminal, in 1941. (Library of Congress) #
The interior of Grand Central Station, with the sun streaming in through the window. (© Bettmann/CORBIS) #
A man and woman talk together as people pass through the Main Concourse of New York's Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, in October of 1941. (AP Photo/Farm Security Administration, John Vachon) #
Would-be passengers sit on their luggage in Grand Central Terminal on May 23, 1946, where they were stranded by a rail strike. (© Bettmann/CORBIS) #
Some 5,000 workers watch the launching of astronaut John H, Glenn Jr. into orbit around the world on a huge television screen in Grand Central Terminal, on February 20, 1962. (© Bettmann/CORBIS) #
People sleep sitting and lying down at Grand Central Terminal's main waiting room in New York, during a massive power failure, on November 9, 1965. The area is lit with emergency lighting. The blackout affected New York State, most of New England, parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada. (AP Photo/John Lent) #
The 20th Century Limited gets ready to leave Grand Central Station in New York for its last run, on December 2, 1967. The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train that ran between between Grand Central Terminal and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 until 1967. (AP Photo/John Duricka) #
A general view of the interior of the grand concourse of New York's Grand Central Terminal, shown some time after the morning rush hour, on January 9, 1968. (AP Photo) #
Hundreds of commuters and vacation travelers heading home for the Thanksgiving holidays are forced to wait at New York's Grand Central Terminal after a signal box on the Metro-North track caught fire, delaying traffic on November 25, 1987. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm) #
A taxi turns in front of Grand Central Terminal October 22, 2003 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #
Metro-North commuters arrive at New York's Grand Central Terminal, on January 11, 1996. (AP Photo/Wally Santana) #
Mark Sobczak, who helped operate the Polaroid camera for the portraits of "Faces of Ground Zero," an exhibit of 85 life-size photographs of Sept. 11 emergency workers and survivors, on January 7, 2002, at New York's Grand Central Terminal. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg) #
The clock above the Grand Central Terminal Information Booth, with faces made of opal, ticks on the day before the famed Manhattan transit hub turns 100 years old on January 31, 2013 in New York City. The terminal opened in 1913 and is the world's largest terminal covering 49 acres with 33 miles of track. Each day 700,000 people pass through the terminal where Metro-North Railroad operates 700 trains per day. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
Members of the National Guard watch as commuters move through the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal in New York, on January 25, 2013. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid) #
An estimated 450 women pose nude inside Grand Central Station, on October 26, 2003 as part of artist Spencer Tunick's latest New York installation. Participants meet at a specific location and time, strip off their clothing and then have naked bodies composed into sculptural shapes and formations that build on features of streets, buildings and cityscapes. (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton) #
The 59 stars shine as part of the backwards-painted zodiac set in gold leaf constellations span the ceiling of the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal in New York, January 25, 2013. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid) #
To help prepare for the 100th anniversary of the opening of Grand Central Terminal, Metro-North electricians polish and dust the historic melon chandeliers that illuminate the Terminal, and replace bulbs as needed. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin) #
When these chandeliers were installed a century ago, they carried bare, energy-hungry incandescent bulbs. Today they use efficient compact fluorescent bulbs that use just 5 watts to provide the same amount of light as the previous 25-watt bulbs. Each chandelier holds 110 light bulbs. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin) #
The clock on the south-facing side of New York's Grand Central Terminal strikes noon, on March 29, 2012. (Reuters/Mike Segar) #
Inside the clock, Dan Brucker, manager of Grand Central Tours, closes a window on the antique Tiffany clock while giving a media tour at Grand Central Terminal, on January 31, 2013 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
A view of Park Avenue, looking out from the Tiffany clock over Park Ave and 42nd St. at Grand Central Terminal in New York, on January 25, 2013. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid) #
A view inside the Tiffany clock over Park Ave and 42nd St., at Grand Central Terminal in New York, on January 25, 2013. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid) #
The East Side Access project will connect the Long Island Rail Road with a new concourse underneath Grand Central Terminal. This photo shows construction underway on September 19, 2011. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin) #
Metro-North Railroad and New Haven line conductor Louis Caputo poses for a photograph while waiting for his shift to begin at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, on January 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) #
The Chrysler Building stands above a statue of Mercury perched above the Tiffany clock at Grand Central Terminal, on January 31, 2013 in New York City. The terminal opened in 1913 and is the world's largest terminal covering 49 acres with 33 miles of track. Each day 700,000 people pass through the terminal where Metro-Noth Railroad operates 700 trains per day. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

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