The Group Travel Leader

JUN 2017

The online home of The Group Travel Leader, America's leading publication for the group travel industry. Articles on hot destinations, attractions, news and travel trends from across the country and around the world.

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Page 33 of 51

GROUP TRAVEL LE ADER T H E Courtesy G R A N D C E N T R A L T E R M I N A L Visitors can picture the world of early-20th- century American high society at the grandiose Grand Central Terminal. Constructed at the height of long-distance passenger rail travel, the 48-acre terminal is one of the world's largest and most- visited tourist attractions. The jaw-dropping main concourse that stretches 200 feet long, 120 feet wide and 120 feet high uses a twinkling fiber-optic map of the constellations to light up its blue ceiling. Modeled after an ancient Roman public bath, the majestic public space is a stunning example of ornate Beaux Arts neoclassical architecture. Groups can admire the marble floors, chandeliers and sky-themed ceiling on their own or on an audio or guided tour. Orpheo USA, a producer of audio tours, offers an audio history of the terminal that can last from 30 minutes to over an hour for architectural high- lights and little-known anecdotes from the termi- nal. Docent-led tours also tell little-known facts about the terminal. The whispering gallery is one of the favorite points of interest for tours. Guests can listen as sound mysteriously travels across the 2,000-square- foot chamber. Some groups also stop at the terminal for a meal stop, since its foodie fare varies from the upscale Michael Jordan's The Steak House N.Y.C. to the classic Oyster Bar. H A R L E M Groups can use their senses when exploring the influential heritage of Harlem with soul-food tours, live gospel services or jazz concerts. These same streets that innovators like Langston Hughes, Ella Fitzgerald and Bessie Smith frequented are now synonymous with African-American culture. The neighborhood transformed the cultural landscape of the United States, especially during the early 20th century when it became known as the Capital of Black America. Tours of Harlem focus on the artistic, literary and musical contri- butions of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, which forever changed the country. Walking tours such as Free Tours by Foot, Harlem Heritage Tours and Big Onion Walking Tours introduce groups to the 400-year history and artistic legacy of the area. All tours pass through 125th Street, which is anchored by the Apollo Theater. The Apollo opened in 1934 and helped intro- duce the world to the Jackson 5, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and other prominent African- American musicians. The Abyssinian Baptist Church, Sylvia's Soul-Food Restaurant and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture also stand out on a Harlem tour. Live gospel services and jazz nightclubs keep the area's music tradition alive. Groups can attend these events or taste their way through the neigh- borhood on a Taste Harlem tour. These tours allow groups to sample soul food, Caribbean cuisine and authentic African fare while also learning about the area's churches, architecture and rich history. Other museums that provide context for a visit to the area are the Studio Museum of Harlem and the nearby National Jazz Museum in Harlem. By Tagger Yancey GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL IS ONE OF THE COUNTRY'S MOST BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLES OF BEAUX ARTS ARCHITECTURE. By Kate Glicksberg THE APOLLO THEATER IS A HARLEM CULTURAL INSTITUTION.

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