Coloramas at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal

Cabin and Canoe – Herbert Archer. Cabin & canoe, Saddleback Lake, Maine, displayed September 16–October 7, 1968. Copyright Eastman Kodak Co. Courtesy George Eastman House

These days, airports are the major crossroads of modern life. But not too long ago, train stations had that honor. And if you stop in at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal during a busy weekday morning or afternoon, you can still feel some of that ‘everyone is rushing somewhere’ excitement.

In addition to the round information booth with its four-sided clock, the astronomical mural on the ceiling and the grand staircases, some (literally) big attractions at Grand Central for many years were the giant, panoramic Kodak Coloramas on view in the main concourse.

Promoted as the “world’s largest photographs,” these 18-foot high, 60-foot wide back-lit transparencies were impossible to miss during an advertising campaign that included 556 images and ran from 1950 to 1990.

Now 36 of the Coloramas from the 1960s are back for an exhibit at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex in Grand Central.

The images are from the 1960s and are smaller than the original Coloramas –two feet high and six feet wide –but still quite lovely. Here are two more from the series.

Harvesting a Wheatfield – Ansel Adams. Harvesting a Wheatfield near Pendleton, Oregon, displayed August 28–September 18, 1961. Copyright Eastman Kodak Co. Courtesy George Eastman House.

Teenagers on Bikes – Peter Gales. Teenagers on bikes at beach, Monterey Peninsula, California, displayed March 11–April 1, 1968. Copyright Eastman Kodak Co. Courtesy George Eastman House.

The Coloramas will be on view at Grand Central Terminal through November 1, 2012. The images are part of an international traveling exhibition created by George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, which holds the entire Colorama archive.