One of the crown jewels of Manhattan, the grand dame of New York City, is turning 100. We are talking, of course, about Grand Central Terminal. A century ago, on February 2, 1913 – after a decade of construction – the building that would revolutionize commuter train travel opened its doors.

There isn’t anything to say that hasn’t been said before about the building’s grandiose and tumultuous history. So, we offer something else to commemorate one of the most amazing buildings in the city: a 360 look at Grand Central. Part of a larger project photographing iconic landmarks in glorious 360 degrees, we teamed up with Shots 360 and photographer Thomas Erh, the man behind the lens of interactive 360ยบ panoramic photography, to document some of our favorite Old New York places.



A Guest Post by Project Neon

I've been taking photos of New York's neon signs for the last year and half as Project Neon, hundreds of signs so far. I've explored a lot of new neighborhoods and discovered amazing neon signs all over the city, from one end to the other — here are five of them (one from each borough). If you'd like to see more, take a look at the Project Neon blog, the Flickr set, or get the free iPhone app to track down more signs yourself. 
Delco Drugs on Staten Island is in Eltingville,  a block from the Eltingville Staten Island Railroad station. It's a small family-owned pharmacy,  next door to another great neon sign for Lenny's Cleaners & Laundry,  and down the street from another neoned drug store,  the Eltingville Pharmacy. The Delco Drugs sign is a great,  classic mid-century script in neon pink.
Next we're going up north to the Tremont neighborhood of the Bronx for Frank's Sport Shop,  with its wide variety of offerings,  from fishing tackle to work clothes. It's a great sign that wraps around the corner and shines brightly into the surrounding neighborhood.

Hinsch's is a Brooklyn institution with one of the most beautiful signs in New York. It's an old-school luncheonette and ice cream store. No haute cuisine here,  but grilled cheese,  milk shakes,  and a cast of wonderful characters to keep you company. Hinsch's changed hands recently,  though the new owners happily decided to keep things the same. Alas,  it's not clear if this will last,  as Hinsch's is again for sale — pay a visit while you still can.
Out in Ridgewood Queens you'll find Caskey's Tavern. In addition to some classic mid-century lettering,  the sign includes a flaming green goblet. I'm not sure what the drink portrayed is,  but it always makes me think of Harry Potter. Bonus: inside there's shuffleboard! Not far away is the Queens Liquor Store,  with another great Ridgewood neon sign.

The Subway Inn is located incongruously across from the Bloomingdale's loading dock. It's one of the last cheap bars in Midtown. The music's usually too loud,  the lights inside are a sickly green color,  but the beer's cold,  the crowd's friendly,  and the sign out front is spectacular. Look at the way Subway curves and Inn leans forward. A classic vertical pink BAR sign above balances the jumble of cheap beer signs in the window,  with two more "Bar"s bookend the main Subway Inn sign. So much neon for such a small bar.  

There's a lot more great neon all around New York,  both old and new. I hope you'll go out and see some of it for yourself. There's nothing like standing in the glow of a neon sign to see the colorful history of the city more clearly.

by Kirsten / Project Neon