Monday, December 27, 2010
GRAND CENTRAL-A LIFE LESSON
The history of Grand Central is amazing--it is truly one of my all time favorite places in NYC. Before the 50s and beyond it had such an illustrious era. Major, major movies stars, our fearless soldiers, Politicians etc., would use the railway as their main passage. Then in the 60's it began to fall on hard times. The homeless had taken over in the 70’s, and developers wanted to knock down Grand Central for yet another grandiose—probably very ugly office building. Grand Central was sick and it was a clear reflection on how NYC was feeling at the time. Then came along Jackie Kennedy Onassis and a team of very devoted New Yorkers to fight to keep and restore Grand Central to what it is today.
During some of the reconstruction in the 90's I worked in the area. I would look out the window on to Vanderbilt Avenue to see the new equipment coming into the station--wondering where it was going. I would even be so brazen to go down on my lunch break and sneak into restricted areas just to see the progress. It took years just to wipe down the ceiling in the main concourse (by hand) and restore it back to its original state (and yes I witnessed that too). When it finally was unveiled I was there—beaming with pride as if I had something to do with it.
I know you didn’t need a history lesson on Grand Central but the parallel for all of us trying to make a way is so spot-on. Without the advocacy from Jackie Kennedy O’Nassis and others Grand Central would not be here. Without the talented crew and craftsmen, it would have never been restored to its former glory, and without the patients, perseverance and attention to detail it would not have kept its shine as brightly as it does today
In 2006, I was standing in Grand Central looking up at the ceiling in the main concourse working as a makeup artist shooting an advertisement. Overwhelmed, trying desperately not to cry due to the Odyssey I had been through to be standing there--I was truly feeling like a blessed black gurl. For me, the moment was awe-inspiring and the memory still is a powerful life lesson. To be working in Grand Central for this New Yorker was remarkable. It was also the day I was informed I had just gotten the cover a Zink--double thrill!
As a makeup artist, no matter if you’re new or seasoned, look to those attributes it took for the successful restoration of Grand Central and apply them to your life. We cannot get to any point of success without the help of others, we cannot make it through without a tenacious nature, we must nurture our craft and we must never give up on our dreams. That’s the lessons I get every single time I walk through Grand Central. Find something you can marvel in, something or someone to inspire you even when you’re so down you don’t realize its affects on you. For some it's Oprah for me its Grand Central though she’s a close second :)
Here’s to you--wishing you a "Grand" 2011