You don’t need to be catching a train to justify a visit to Grand Central Station – it’s definitely a destination in its own right! It was built in the early years of the last century, when it became apparent that New York needed a new terminus to deal with the pressures of increased train travel and the changing demands caused by the move from steam to electric engines. The plan involved sinking the tracks and platforms beneath 45th to 49th Streets, which has resulted in the striking appearance of a station terminus without any trains. Construction took ten years and necessitated carving deep into the bedrock of Manhattan Island, excavating 2.8 million cubic yards of earth and rock. The new station eventually opened in February 1913 and was a catalyst for regeneration of this part of the city, with many of the great skyscrapers (such as the Chrysler Building) dating back to that period.
The building declined in the 1950s and 1960s, but in 1976 was designated a National Historic Landmark, saving it from further decline and possible demolition. Urgent repairs undertaken during the 1980s, and a full restoration during the 1990s, have restored the terminal to its former glory. The famous Sky Ceiling has been cleaned, waiting rooms refurbished for use as exhibition areas, and the building is once more a hive of activity and a focus for life in this part of the city.
As with many of the buildings in midtown Manhattan, it’s the Art Deco details that caught my eye as much as the main architectural features. I loved the ornate ticket windows, the lights and signs, for instance. We also had to smile at the way the young woman, captured by Chris in photo 4, was studiously ignoring the sign stood right in front of her! But although you aren’t allowed to sit on these stairs, do go up them for the very best view of the station’s great hall (photo 2).
You can also come here for a good meal. In addition to the standard railway station fare you might expect (there are 35 places to eat in total), there are five “fine dining” establishments, including the famous Oyster Bar. We never got round to coming here however, but if you want to know more about this I recommend you check out sue_stone’s helpful (and not entirely complimentary) restaurant tip.
Whatever you do here though, you’ll soon discover that this is indeed much more than a railway station.
Cant for the life of me remember which film I saw it in, but Im sure its one with Al Pacino running away from the 'baddies' and hes trying to get on the train with his girlfriend and just as he gets to the carriage they shoot him down.....it was very tear jerking. But Grand Central Station looks magnificent...really cool! This first time we were there it was just for a quick look round before heading off to Times Square, but the second time was when we had loads of bags and wanted to leave them somewhere for the day so we could enjoy our last 24 hours looking round the city. But now it seems that very few places have lockers, so it wasnt to be. I'll talk about lockers in another section!
I thought the whole place looked like it was taken straight out of a movie...it was all too perfect looking with it gold decorations and its United States of America flag flying and cute little shops inside...very patriotic! From here you can take trains to other cities in the country, buses and of course the subway. From here to Times Square there is a shuttle train..its the grey line on the map.
Taking the train to work is a fact of life for many New Yorkers and a half million of them pass through Grand Central Terminal every day. This Beaux-Arts masterpiece took 13 years (1903 - 1913), 80 million dollars and the demolition of 180 nearby buildings to construct. Located on the site of Cornelius Vanderbilt's smaller Grand Central Station, the vision of a new expanded railway hub came about in 1902 when a terrible fire from two colliding steam engines prompted city officials to convert to a safer, less-polluting electric system.
Hard to believe but it almost met a sorry end to the wrecking ball in the 1950s when automobile travel largely replaced long-distance rail but fortunately for us, NYC's Landmarks Preservation Commission designated it a historic landmark - under the protection of law - in 1967. Even so, the structure fell into serious neglect but was rescued through the efforts of some prominent New Yorkers. Restored to its former elegance in the 1990's, this "city within a city" provides 5 restaurants, 20 casual-dining kiosks in the lower-level food court, 50 shops and an excellent market (more on that in a separate tip) for the welcome convenience of daily commuters.
Grand Central has an excellent website with detailed history, fun facts, tour information and anything else you'd want to know about this architectural treasure so give it a look-over before you go. You can easily loiter away several hours here taking pictures of its many fascinating details and browsing the market and shops.
Grand Central Station is Manhattan's main train interchange.
It was first opened in 1913, and has recently been renovated to its former glory.
It is fabulous! I have never seen such a station. There is a huge marble central hall, with atrium dining areas. There is also a large food hall below this and numerous shops and great bars.
It is certainly a whole lot more than just a train station - put it on your Must See list!
Grand central Terminal is often wrongly labeled or refered to as 'Grand Central Station', which I believe actually refers to a post office nearby.
The imposing station has been refurbished over the last few years, and the dramatic central hall has lost none of its impact and sense of occasion.
Despite the fact that much of the place is more shopping mall than train station, the central hall has been kept mercifully empty of the commercial clutter of kiosks, shops, cafes and the like.
One of my favourite feature is the romantic meeting point of the hanging clock. In fact because of the countless TV programmes and Films that station has featured in (Such as North by northwest, the Cotton Club, The French Connection, the Godfather, Superman, and Men in Black to name a few) when you enter the building for the first time you almost get a feeling of deja-vu, because it just feels so recognisable.
Since I stayed one night at the Grand Hyatt which is in the Grand Central building, I had to check out the terminal. Tourist stop or not, I liked Grand Central.
Turns out I was lucky. Grand Central has just completed a full renovation, and that may explain why I found it not only fascinating in architecture but more so how clean and beautiful it was.
The outside clock and sculptures are stunning to look at, and the marble passages look like a movie set. Look up, and directly over your head across the street is the Chrysler building, one of my alltime faves.
Terminal is surrounded on the outside all the way around the block by cafes and restaurants that, while still loud from the close NYC hustle & traffic, look like little oases in the city much like cafes on the main boulevards in Paris. The inside, along with all the great looking passages to the trains is filled with good shopping much like an upscale mall.
My hotel for the last night was Hyatt Grand Central right in the complex, so I got more than a few chances to check it out and enjoyed it very much.
As luck would have it the NYTimes just published a video tour of the updated complex you can find here:
goto NY Times and search for "Video: More Than a Train Station" or click at this link here: More than a train station
Sounds boring: I don't think it is.
Grand Central Terminal is located between 42nd & 45th St, within Vanderbilt & Lexington Avenue. The train terminal first opened in 1913. After four years of renovation, the city claims that Grand Central is "grand again" and I agree. The most striking effect of the ‘90s restoration was the exposing of the Sky Ceiling mural in the Main Terminal. More than half a million people pass through Grand Central every day.
The interior of Grand Central is an amazing sight and will transport you to another time. You'll be amazed how beautiful this place looks. There are huge chandeliers hanging between the opulent arches, a majestic staircase, high-backed wooden benches in the main waiting room, astrological signs painted on the turquoise ceiling, wonderful four face brass clock; it’s a true landmark.
Every Wednesday at 12:30 pm, there is a free tour. Meet at the information booth on the Grand Concourse.
From Nov. 2- Dec. 31, a laser light show lights up the ceiling every half hour. There is also a Christmas Fair during the Holidays
Grand Central is a place I've passed through thousands of times. Sometimes, when scurrying to and from work, we sometimes forget what a work of art GCT is. Check out the beautiful ceiling, which has laser light shows.
The main terminal is for commuter trains to the northern suburbs. There's a subway station underneath.
GCT is also a great place to meet people, espcially around the ticket kiosk. If you plan to meet someone while in New York, you may have them come to Grand Central. I've done it a couple of times...yeah, okay, they were blind dates-GCT can be romantic too ;-)
This one is almost solely for the architecture, the outside of Grand Central Terminal is not to bad, but once you get inside you will think 'no way is this a train station!!'. The sublime interior of the place is majestic. You would think you are in some grand museum not a friggin train station.
Not to be missed is the food hall at Grand Central, head for the 2 Boots Pizza outlet and grab a slice of mighty fine tasting Pizza with mad toppings.
What more do you want in a 'Train Station'??
The architecture of Grand Central Station is fantastic and thankfully the building was saved from destruction and looks great. Even if you don't need to travel on a train from this station, I recommend that you go and check out its beauty.
Chances are you'll end up in Grand Central at some point anyway when taking the subway, so there's no excuse for not spending some time in this wonderful, recently restored building to take a stroll along its main concourse and enjoy the vast, open space. Note the constellation painting on the ceiling, the marble staircases and the gorgeous four faced clock on top of the information booth.
The outside is just as stunning, with its colonnaded facade and clock/statuary atop the building on the side facing 42nd St, depicting the mythological deities Mercury, Hercules and Minerva.
Grand Central is practically next to the Chrysler Building, Home Savings Bank of America, and the Chanin and Helmsley Buildings. Tons of opportunities for shooting some great pictures, e.g. walk to the north along Park Ave for a few blocks and then look south toward Grand Central for a stunning view of the traffic "disappearing" into the Helmsley building - a sight which will look familiar because you've probably seen it in dozens of movies, series or documentaries taking place in New York.
Check the official website for guided tours, and a listing of the shops in Grand Central, too.
On our last visit in 2002, we were lucky enough to read about a free tour of Grand Central Terminal that took place every Sunday. The guide was superb. told us loads of things that we never would have found out, and was obviously passionate about his subject. I would recommend this to anyone who has a bit of time to spare.
It seems strange to list a railway station as a tourist destination but Grand Central should definitely be on everyone's "must see" list. Whilst maintaining its role as one of New York's main rail transit stations this stunning building combines architectural elegance, a variety of casual and fine-dining restaurants, shops, tourist information, exhibition spaces and much more. No admission charges and no queues!!!
All this plus 554 trains a day!!!
Not just a suburban commuter station. This is also a venue for casual dining, public events and even tours. The way this station is designed: arched windows, high ceilings, marble floors, vaulted ceiling painting of constellations... it's like walking in a palace. It's hard to believe it's just a terminal.
This is a beautiful old building which has been very nicely restored. The main concourse is very attractive with trendy restaurants in the mezzanine. The downstairs is an eatery with all sorts of wonderful little food stalls and comfortable seating. You can get a good meal for a very good price here. There is also the Oyster Bar which is an excellent seafood restaurant.
In the grand halls there are some nice shops and a market where you can buy wonderful gourmet foods both fresh and preserved.
The train lines at Grand Central go north only.