Monday, February 4, 2013

100 Years: Grand Central Terminal Wears It Well

1 Feb. 2013/NEW YORK – THE multi-layer birthday cake was not topped with 100 candles but a replica of a famous timepiecec. It was rolled in as a youth choir enthusiastically sang “Happy Birthday.”

This was the scene on Saturday as the official celebration of the 100th anniversary of the day Grand Central Terminal aka Grand Central Station aka Grand Central opened for business. On 1 Feb. 1913, it was the largest train station in the world.

In a century the building and the opal four-faced clock – well, if they could talk. They’ve witnessed a lot. And the station has been a reliable conduit that has aided and abetted north-south travel to and from New York City. The clock, set one minute early, has kept things moving on time.

The party was indeed a happy occasion that was also marked by music and brief speeches. Among those at the dais were Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg, Carolyn Kennedy Schlossberg and Cynthia Nixon. The latter is best known for her role as Miranda on “Sex in the City” but she is also a rare breed in the city – a native New Yorker. (See video above.)

Some Grand Central vital stats:

Approximately 750,000 people a day pass through its doors. Unbelievable, no?

Once upon a time there was a movement to demolish the beautiful beaux art structure. Unfathomable, no?

Hard to imagine anyone wanting to harm this beauty. Archive photo.

The City balked at the mercenaries would dare to level Grand Central, enlisting allies in the arts community – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis would join the fight against the rail company – and took the fight to preserve the building to the U.S. Supreme Court. The city won. What a relief, no?

The celestial ceiling, with backward sky and off-kilter stars, was once covered by a black coating. It was not paint or coats. Guess what it was? Residue (tar and nicotine) from cigarette smoke! Unreal, no?

Visit to learn more about Grand Central Terminal and the ongoing Grand Central Terminal Centennial Celebration.

Paola Hernandez Opens First Store

The Paola Hernandez boutique in Mexico City carries all of the designer's brands. Photo from Paola Hernandez.

30 Jan. 2013/MEXICO CITY – PAOLA Hernandez is expanding!

Paola Hernandez (right) does some housekeeping before opening her doors.

Not her waistline, but her empire. The New York-based designer opened her first store where it all began for her – in Mexico City.

The store, located in the Emilio Castelar quarter, will carry all of the designer’s clothes, shoes and accessories.

A few friends and colleagues showed up to help Paola Hernandez celebrate a happy occasion.

PH, who studied philosophy before she set her sights on design, incorporates a philosophical concept in all of her designs. Her first collection was shown in Mexico City.

“I am very excited to share this step in my career,” the designer said. “The first of more stores to come.”

Visit to to learn more about Paola Hernandez.

And Back to Africa Festival Is Not Terrible at 2

28 Jan. 2013/BATOKUNKU, Gambia – THE second Back to Africa Festival has been declared a success.

Founder Neil Joseph Fraser aka Mad Professor disclosed his pleasure with the lineup and the turnout. Among those bringing the love and music were Mad Professor protégé Joe Ariwa, General Levy, Jah Revelation, Roots Daughters, Heartbreaker and Red Hed aka Guushiie Lala. (See video above of a Red Hed performance).

The three-day festival (25-27 Jan.) went down in Batokunku village on the west coast of Gambia. MP, who runs UK-based Ariwa Sound Studio, conceived the Back to Africa Festival as a louder “Back to Africa” call, that is the Diaspora re-engaging in some seriously dynamic ways with the Continent.

Visit to learn more about the Back to Africa Festival and Ariwa Sound Studio.

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