Happy 100th: 15 Places To Celebrate Centennials In 2013

A new year isn’t just the time to look ahead, it’s also the time to look back and commemorate. 2013 marks plenty of centennials, from the birth of civil rights activists to metro lines. Here is your chance to not only explore new destinations, but also learn a little bit about the past with a list of places that all have something worth celebrating this year.

If you’re looking to help celebrate a few centennials in 2013, look no further.

Glacier Park Lodge, Montana, USA
Opening to guests on June 15, 2013, the Glacier Park Lodge has become a focal point of the park. Built on the Blackfeet Reservation, the land was purchased from the Piegan, a tribe of the Blackfeet Nation, and at its opening, hundreds of Blackfeet Indians erected teepees around the lodge. Today it features 161 rooms and can accommodate up to 500 people.

National Museum of Fine Arts, Cuba
Located in Old Havane the National Museum of Fine Arts houses both a Cuban specific collection as well as a universal one, including ancient art from Egypt, Greece and Rome. The museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tour de France, France
One hundred years of mountain stages, yellow jerseys and champagne finishes, Tour de France 2013 should be a momentous occasion. The centennial edition kicks off in Corsica on June 29, and in an attempt to celebrate the beauty of the country that is its namesake, the route is 100% in France, the first time in 10 years.
Washington State Parks, USA
If there ever was a time to take advantage of the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, it’s this year. For Centennial 2013, explore the state’s extensive network of beautiful spaces, complete with yurts, rustic cabins and the occasional mountain goat.

Metro Line 8, Paris, France
Serving some of the City of Light’s most iconic stops like Invalides, Opera and Bastille, Métro Line 8 was the last line of the original 1898 Paris Metro plan. Opened on July 13, 1913 (one day before French independence day), it is the only Paris underground line to cross the Seine and the Marne above ground, via a bridge.

Grand Central Terminal, New York, USA
An iconic hub of travel, Grand Central Terminal in New York City is known for its Beaux-Arts architecture, and the pure romanticism of adventure that it induces. After almost a decade of renovation, on opening day on February 2, 1913, it welcomed over 150,000 people from all over the city. It’s no surprise that Grand Central Terminal has a year of events planned, and maybe it’s time we all took a commemorative train ride.

Soccer fields, USA
The U.S. Soccer Federation is celebrating its 100 years on the field with a variety of events throughout the year, but a special emphasis will be on the U.S. Women’s National Team’s matches, and the U.S. Men’s National Team’s campaign to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which means for soccer fans, there are plenty of places around the country to celebrate.

Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria
Home to the Vienna Symphony, the Konzerthaus is a hub of classical music. With a goal of emphasizing both traditional and innovative music styles, it hosts several music festivals a year. In a season it hosts over 750 events, resulting in around 2,500 compositions.

Rosa Parks Museum, Montgomery, Alabama, USA
Civil rights activist Rosa Parks would have turned 100 this year, and in her honor the Rosa Parks Museum is coordinating the Rosa Parks 100th Birthday Wishes Project. They have been collecting words and inspiration from visitors and 1,000 will be chosen from the Montgomery area and 1,000 from around the state and country. Take part in the celebration on February 4, Parks’ birthday.

Bangladesh National Museum, Bangladesh
One of the largest museums in Southeast Asia, the Bangladesh National Museum started out as Dhaka Museum in 1913. Besides the standard collections of archaeology, classical art and natural history pieces that national museums are traditionally known for, it also illustrates the freedom struggle that ended in the liberation of Bangladesh.

Museo Teatrale alla Scala, Milan, Italy
Attached to the famous Scala Theater in Milan, the Museo Teatrale alla Scala holds over 100,000 works that relate to history, opera and ballet. In the hallways you’ll find musical instruments and portraits of great singers to have graced the theater. A must for any classical music or opera lover.

Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh, Scotland
The 82-acre Edinburgh zoo, is home to the UK’s only Giant Pandas, which are a huge hit with locals. They also have a Squirrel Monkey cam for your viewing pleasure. With over 1,000 animals, the zoo has an extensive list of activities to celebrate its 100th year.

Karachi Race Club, Pakistan
You rarely hear of people traveling to Pakistan for the horses, but the Karachi Race Club has now been attracting racing fans for a full 100 years. The biggest racecourse of Pakistan, seven to ten races are held at Karachi Race Club every Sunday.

Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria
Home to the Vienna Symphony, the Konzerthaus is a hub of classical music. With a goal of emphasizing both traditional and innovative music styles, it hosts several music festivals a year. In a season it hosts over 750 events, resulting in around 2,500 compositions.

Line A, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Opened to the public on December 1, 1913, Line A was the first line of the the first working subway system in the southern hemisphere. Today it is used by over 200,000 people a day. Until recently, some of the line’s original La Brugeoise trains were still in use, but are now slated to be replaced by more modern day cars, and the line itself is set for reconstruction in mid-January.

[Photo credits: davidwilson1949, ChrisProtopapa, s4nt1, infrogmation, Diego3336]

Bermuda takes over New York’s Grand Central today

If you pass through Grand Central in New York today, you might catch a little piece of Bermuda during what’s being called “Experience Bermuda” day. The Bermuda Department of Tourism will be offering commuters samples of Bermudian cuisine and tropical beverages, chances to win giveaways, and live performances–including Bermudian musicians and the H&H Gombeys Cultural Dance Troupe.

Stop by to win one of 50 round-trip airline tickets to Bermuda in a dance contest that will place participants “virtually” on the island, or get a picture next to one of the pink Vespa scooters that can be seen on the island. The day will end in a Bermuda shorts runway contest on a pink runway, where one lucky winner will walk away with a trip for two to the island.

It’s all taking place in Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall (just off the main concourse) from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you can’t make it to the terminal, WCBS-FM will be broadcasting the event live from 6 to 10 a.m. on the “Dan Taylor Morning Show,” and will be giving away vacations for two to Bermuda from February 13 through February 17.

Photo of H&H Gombeys Cultural Dance Troupe by GoToBermuda / Flickr.

Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant opens pop-up donut shop in New York

zac young top chef just desserts donut popup in new yorkFrom now through December 30, 2011, those who find themselves passing through Grand Central Station in New York can visit Flex Donuts. The pop-up donut restaurant is the creation of Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant Zac Young, who is now the executive pastry chef at Flex Mussel’s in New York.

After a successful run of Flex Donuts in the beginning the year, the pop-up is back in full swing, serving up specialties like:

  • Pumpkin and Marshmallow
  • Cranberry
  • Maple Bourbon
  • Concord Grape PB&J
  • Mulled Cider
  • Rum Raisin

These are just some of the flavors you can expect, which will be served by Chef Young himself. Donuts are $3 and under, and you can get them from the takeout area of Zocalo in the Grand Central Dining Concourse from 11:30 AM to 7 PM daily.

Location is at 109 E. 42nd Street.

Escape from New York: Five tips for leaving the city when flights fail you

New York is no stranger to tourist and business travel. We get lot of guests here, and eventually, their trips must come to an end. When the weather turns harsh, this can be problematic. Spring may be close, but March and April snowstorms happen, and there are always spring showers to make getting off the ground at JFK or LaGuardia a pure living hell. Whether you’re traveling in the northeast corridor or need to get to a different airport to get home, there are options.

I came face to face with this problem around six years ago. I was trying to get back to Boston, where I lived at the time. I was in New York every week on business and by Friday wanted nothing more than to get home. I stepped outside at 2 PM and saw snow accumulating on the street, even despite the city traffic. I checked Delta‘s website and saw that nothing had been canceled. So, I high-tailed out to LaGuardia hoping for the best. After a two-hour cab ride, I hit the Marine Air terminal only to find that the website wasn’t being kept up to date.

I needed some options and the thought of another two hours of taxi rides in a blizzard didn’t thrill me. Back in Manhattan, I figured I could pick up a train on Amtrak from Penn Station (which wound up working out). Along the way, I learned some tricks that can help anyone traveling the northeast or looking for an alternative airport when hope appears to be lost.1. Don’t fear public transportation
There’s no subway to LaGuardia, but there are buses. Catch the Q48 from the main airport or the Q47 from Marine Air (if you’re taking the Delta Shuttle). Get off at Roosevelt Ave in Queens, where the F or 7 train will get you back to Midtown. From there, it’s easy to hit Penn Station (New Jersey, Amtrak) Grand Central Station (Connecticut and New York) or the PATH train (if you want to try your luck at Newark). From JFK, you can catch the Skytrain to the subway, but brace yourself for a very long ride – the fastest I ever made it to Midtown was around an hour and a half.

2. Rental cars are risky
First, when flights aren’t taking off, there will be no shortage of people with the same idea. So, supply will be limited. Also, nasty weather makes for nightmarish driving conditions. You’ll be extremely unhappy behind the wheel, a situation that’s likely to be made worse by traffic. If you want to try driving, take public transportation out to the ‘burbs and use a rental agency out there (call first to make sure they can help you out).

3. . Be mindful of the other side
Getting out isn’t enough: you also have to think about where you’re going. If bad weather’s pounding New York, there’s a pretty good chance the situation in Philadelphia, Newark and Boston is also pretty ugly. If you’re having someone pick you up, call ahead. Arrange for a taxi or town car in advance. Definitely check the situation on the ground if you’re trying one of these airports instead. During my trek to Boston during the blizzard a few years ago, I called a local taxi service and asked to be picked up at South Station – and requested that they ask for my name before letting anyone into the cab. Sound arrogant? Well, it saved my ass. I saw the driver turn at least four people away as I pushed through the crowd, and I have no idea how many people tried before I got there.

4. Giving up may not be an option
Sometimes, it’s tempting to quit and just get a hotel room for a night (or a few, depending on how severe the storm is). Depending on what’s going on in the city, however, this may be a pricey alternative. As with rental cars, you won’t be the only person to think of this. Also, a busy night or weekend can cut available rooms down to nothing fast. If you are able to score some digs, you could wind up paying a fortune. If you do decide to stay in the city, hunt for the boutique hotels that y may never have noticed otherwise: they’re your best bet.

5. Draft your friends and family
During my escape from New York, I called my wife and asked her to book my train ticket for me. Handheld computing has come a long way since then, but it’s still inconvenient to hunt for alternatives on an iPhone or Blackberry. If you have someone who’s sitting in a warm office or home, hit him or her up for a hand. They’ll be able to find hotels or other travel arrangements easier than you will. By the time you get from the airport back into Manhattan, you may have a plan that only needs to be executed.

Undiscovered New York: Top 5 Grand Central Hotspots

Today marks the first post in a new series for Gadling called “Undiscovered New York.” According to the latest statistics, there were 46 million visitors to New York City in 2007. There’s no doubt New York ranks among the world’s great tourism destinations in the U.S., if not the world. And with hotspots like the Empire State Building, Times Square, shopping in Soho and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it’s hard to argue otherwise.

But beneath the glitzy veneer of shiny skyscrapers, gaudy neon lights and trendy downtown boutiques, lies a New York that some visitors never get a chance to see. Beyond Broadway and away from Times Square are more than 300 square miles of territory spread across 5 unique boroughs, just begging to be explored. Join along as Gadling’s New Yorker-in-residence takes you inside some of the city’s lesser known highlights, hidden gems and forgotten spaces. We’ll hit some old favorites with a fresh look, and also visit some out of the way spots that wouldn’t find their way on to a “typical” New York tourist itinerary.

First up is this week is a closer look at one of Manhattan’s most famous landmarks, Grand Central Terminal. Though a train terminal has sat in this location since the 1870’s, the building as it is seen today dates to 1913. Sure, thousands of commuters pass through this majestic old structure every day without a second glance. And plenty of visitors also hurry through its wide passageways, stopping to check out the amazing ceiling in the main atrium before heading to the United Nations and Chrysler Building nearby. But If you haven’t had a chance to meander through all the parts of this amazing structure, here’s five reasons you should give it a second glance. Keep reading after the jump for our top 5 Grand Central hotspots.Hotspot #1 – The Campbell Apartment
Gaining its name from railroad magnate John W. Campbell, who used it as his office, the ornately appointed Campbell Apartment was built to resemble a 13th-century Florence-style Italian palace. After Campbell’s death, it was transformed into a closet for the transit police to store their guns and also as a jail. Thankfully, some kind souls have returned the room to its original glory in form of a swanky bar for your drinking pleasure. If you’re facing north, the entrance is on the west side of the terminal building. Oh, make sure to wear dress shoes – I know from personal experience they won’t let you in otherwise!

Hotspot #2 – The Oyster Bar
Another gem of Grand Central is the building’s Oyster Bar, a restaurant which first opened with the terminal back 1913. Except for a fire in the 1990’s, the restaurant has been serving delicious seafood ever since. Not a lot of restaurants can make that claim! Save an appetite if you’re around for lunch because the Oyster Bar has some of the best seafood around. I’m partial to their raw bar – toss back a few oysters while you take in the cavernous space and old-school interior furnishings. And make sure to stop at the Whisper Gallery just outside the entrance.

Hotspot #3 – The Food Court
It’s not widely publicized, but New Yorkers in the know will tell you that Grand Central boasts one of the best food courts in the whole city. If you’re thinking of the Orange Julius and Burger King at your mall back home, guess again. This food court is up to demanding New Yorker foodie standards, including sushi, Indian food, cheesecake and local favorites like Two Boots pizza, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and a mini-kiosk of legendary midtown eatery Dishes. If you didn’t already stuff yourself on seafood, grab a table and some lunch here and watch thousands of frantic New Yorkers rush to catch their trains. It’s people watching at its best.

Hotspot #4 – The Main Concourse
No trip to Grand Central would be complete without a stop at the glorious main concourse atrium. The astrological mural on the ceiling was created by artist Paul César Helleu. Did you know Helleu actually painted it backwards? Woops. Apparently it was painted based on a rendering the artist found in a medieval manuscript. Also of interest is the hole in the ceiling above the image of Pisces. Back in 1957 the concourse played host to an exhibit of the new American Redstone rocket. The problem was the missile was so large it couldn’t fit through the doors – hence the hole to get it inside. The mark from the hole remains to this day.

Hotspot #5 – The Secret M42 Basement
Unbeknownst to most visitors, but deep within the bowels of this huge building is a secret basement known simply as “M42.” The room contains the electrical converters used to power the building and the electrified tracks. During World War II, the room was a closely guarded secret, as the power it provided was critical to all rail traffic along the Eastern Seaboard. Apparently even Hitler was aware of the room – rumor has it he tried unsuccessfully to send spies to sabotage it! This one is off limits unfortunately – you’ll just have to take my word for it…