It is always nice to take a little time at the beginning of a new year to reflect on the previous year, and everything that has come to pass. 2013 was certainly an interesting year, to say the least. Grand Central Terminal celebrated its centennial, and Metro-North turned the big 3-0. The year was not kind to railroading in general, from a Quebec town forever changed, to a North Dakota fireball to round out the year. Metro-North was, of course, no stranger to turmoil in 2013 – but we all hope for a bright future in 2014.
As for this blog, much of 2013 was spent covering Grand Central Terminal and its centennial. Our 100 for 100 project, which posted a historical photo from Grand Central’s history each day until the centennial, was quite popular. Outside of our general area, we spent a lot of time talking about the Alaska Railroad, and the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad.
As we’ve done in past years, it is always fun to take a look back at what was popular with the viewers on the site. Later on we’ll look at the top 13 posts of the year, but now I figured we’d check out what was popular on social media. In February of 2013 we joined Instagram, and have spent a lot of time posting train photos from all over. These were the most favorited photos in our feed from 2013:
As for Facebook, these were the most viewed items that we posted:
Provided you haven’t been living under a rock recently, you may have heard that Grand Central Terminal’s Centennial is fast approaching. While Metro-North will be kicking off celebrations in February, I thought it would be more fun to get the party started now. That’s why I Ride the Harlem Line will be counting down the next 100 days to Grand Central’s Centennial with a historical photo of the Terminal. That’s right – 100 historical photos, posted one per day, for the next 100 days. I like to call it the Grand Central 100 for 100 Project. While there will, of course, be a few iconic photos in the mix that you’ve certainly seen before, I’m hoping that the majority of them you haven’t seen. It is a great way to visually explore the history of the Terminal, and to see Grand Central in a new light.
Grand Central is truly a monument of New York City. Not only is it functionally important – a great example of what a train station should be – it is architecturally significant, and paramount, an important precedent for historical preservation in the United States. Besides all that, Grand Central means a lot to me – and this is one of the few ways a lowly commuter interested in history such as myself can celebrate it. Grand Central, and its Centennial Committee, plan to hold their festivities on the first of February – which seems entirely appropriate – for the committee contains the rich, and the famous. Grand Central unofficially opened on the First of February in 1913 – not to the public, but to the rich and the famous. It was not until the gorgeous Information Booth clock’s hands moved to midnight, commencing the new day of February 2nd, that the Terminal opened to the public. Thus, February 2nd is the day that our project will be counting down to, one photo at a time.
A poster advertising Grand Central Terminal’s opening on February 2nd, 1913.
Our photographic countdown will be comprised of nine different topics, with the photos in each moving in a roughly chronological order. Posting a new photo on the blog every day doesn’t seem to be the best format in which to present these images – thus I’ve decided that the better place to post them all will be on social media. Facebook and Twitter are conducive to sharing – and I want you to share these photos. I want everyone to celebrate Grand Central and its 100th birthday – for it is our monument, not just a pretty building for the privileged.
Part 1: Construction of Grand Central Terminal Thursday, October 25th
Part 2: Outside views, and the Changing Urban Landscape Sunday, November 4th
Part 3: Waiting for the Train Saturday, November 10th
Part 4: Trains in the Terminal Sunday, November 18th
Part 5: Famous Faces Friday, November 30th
Part 6: Around Grand Central Sunday, December 9th
Part 7: The Main Concourse Saturday, December 29th
Part 8: Noteworthy Events in the Terminal Wednesday, January 9th
Part 9: Grand Central Terminal, Restored Thursday, January 24th
So today, we begin. The first photo, and all subsequent photos, will be posted daily at 11 AM. Make sure to like or subscribe over on Facebook, or follow @mtaHarlemLine or the hashtag #100for100GCT on Twitter to see all the photos. There is also an unofficial countdown clock on the top of this site, which will link to the project photos, and count down to the centennial. We’ll also be celebrating with other Grand Central-themed posts over the span of the next hundred days, and will have something special on Grand Central’s birthday, February 2nd. Let the festivities begin!
I swear to you, I never thought this day would come. In fact, I was trying to hold out as long as possible. Alas, I gave in to the pressure, and you can now find I Ride The Harlem Line on Facebook. At first I debated whether it would be worthwhile to have a presence there, and what exactly its purpose would be. In the end I figured that there are a lot of photographs and explorations that I do that never make it to the site, and despite not having much to say about them, they are still worth sharing. Hence, the Facebook page was born. You’ll find some photos from this past weekend there – a visit to see everyone’s favorite subway cat, and even a quick look at a New Jersey Transit train on the New Haven Line for special game day service. You may also get some sneak peeks of photos that will be on the site, at least sometime in the future. If you have a Facebook account, you should definitely check us out, and maybe even like the page!
My name is Emily, though I am known by many who ride the train simply as Cat Girl, for the hats I customarily wear during the winter time. I am a graphic designer, a former Metro North commuter and lifelong Harlem Line rider. This site is a collection of my usually train-related thoughts, observations, photographs, and travels, as well as my never-ending hunt for intriguing historical artifacts.