Grand Central touts 'destination' status

NEW YORK: Grand Central Terminal is being touted as a major New York leisure destination in a PR push designed to build awareness of the site as more than just a transportation hub.

NEW YORK: Grand Central Terminal is being touted as a major New York leisure destination in a PR push designed to build awareness of the site as more than just a transportation hub.

The site's management, Jones Lang LaSalle, has hired lifestyle specialist PR agency Sally Fischer Public Relations (SFPR) to conduct the campaign.

The agency will attempt to drive foot traffic through the recently revamped arcade by publicizing a series of free events to be held in Vanderbilt Hall, which adjoins the main concourse, and by generating media interest in the famous train terminal's history and architecture.

The terminal was renovated in 1998, adding an indoor shopping mall to the densely crowded, bare-fisted Midtown Man- hattan retail environment.

It must now compete with a slew of shops, malls, and department stores ranging across 34th and 42nd Streets.

"The goal is to spread the word that Grand Central is a destination, not just a place you pass through," said SFPR account director Winnie Norkin.

The management company, which is contracted by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, appointed SFPR as AOR for the site following a statutory review.

SFPR will conduct a day of media tours highlighting the hidden history of the structure, showing reporters around Jackie Gleason's old studios and taking in the two tennis courts, as well as the mid- to upscale restaurants and shops, such as Kenneth Cole and Godiva Chocolatier.

Also in the works are a five-day program of book signings and demonstrations by prominent chefs to be held in Vanderbilt Hall, sponsored by food magazine Bon Appetit, and a daylong sampling of dishes from the terminal's restaurants.

Both events commemorate the site's 89th anniversary.

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