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.



Katz's Deli in miniature

We love Katz's Deli, home to what is arguably the most iconic pastrami sandwich in the city. The lines are also notorious and of course, who can forget the When Harry Met Sally scene? 

Here is a different take on Katz's, a work in miniature by artist Alan Wolfson, who creates intricate miniature sculptures of urban environments. One of the things that makes his work extra cool is that he tries to tell stories through each piece. By looking at the minute detail, we get a sense of place and a sense of story, which is really the artists' goal:  "The real impact of my work ins not in how small everything is, but in the stories these small things tell."

via Alan Wolfson

via Alan Wolfson

via Alan Wolfson

via Alan Wolfson

You can see more of Alan's amazing work on his website


Outtakes - Signs

When we are out and about photographing a place for the blog, we usually end up with a bunch of photos that are un-related to the post we set out to create. Looking back at our photo files, we realized we have a lot of pictures of signs - no story, just a sign.

Last year, when we went to Greenpoint for our Fat Tuesday Paczi Day post, we photographed this sign at a local hardware store.

Coney Island has been undergoing a lot of changes lately. Regardless of your take on the demise of Astroland and the shiny new Luna Park, everyone shares in the love of Nathan's - which of course has the awesome neon sign. They are open year round, by the way: this photo was taken in the middle of January.

On the subject of the Coney Island that is gone, this sign on the access ramp to the beach is no more:

We have to admit that we have a fascination with the grittier, seedier side of New York - when Times Square was not the "urban theme park" that it is now. Even back then New Yorkers avoided the area, but for whole host of different reasons. The iconic Peeo-O-Rama sign, representative of the area's less PG-rated past, was preserved and is now - low and behold - a tourist attraction at the Times Square visitors center.

On the other side of the Hudson River is this sign, from the defunct Tunnel Diner. We have been smitten with this sign for a long time. It stands just a few blocks from the Holland Tunnel exit onto Jersey City. Sadly, we think its days are numbered, as a chain link fence has been built around the property and the parking lot is being used as overflow parking for U-Haul trucks.


New York Objects

Today's New York Times has a great article telling the story of New York through 50 iconic items covering items as early as a Mastodon tusk, and as recent as the Mast Brothers chocolates.

Wooden water pipe (via NYT)
Did you know that Aaron Burr used his influence create a company delivering water via wooden pipes to New York City and then diverted funds to create a bank (Chase Manhattan), which continued to supply water to the city from its downtown well until the 1920s?  Crazy, right?

Act Up button (via NYT)

During the 1980s AIDS crisis,  Act Up was in the forefront of the Gay Rights movement and the fight to make medication available to those who needed the most. I Love Old NY friend (and co-director of our The Kite Man of Central Park) Ali Cotterill edited a fantastic documentary on the subject. 

The Anthora cup (via NYT)

How about our perennial favorite icon, the Anthora coffee cup? No list of New York objects would be complete without it. While not as prevalent as they once were, the lowly blue cups can still be found at some delis and breakfast carts throughout the city.

What is your favorite NYC object? Were they left out of the top 50 list?