We came across this unexpectedly on a walk south down Park Avenue to the Hyatt. When we walked into the massive chamber that is Grand Central we were a little mezmerised. There's a mural on the ceiling of the constellations that (got this from listening in on a tour nearby) are about as accuate at depiciting where the stars are as anything is.
Now for the next step: actually taking a train from there.
Most people refer to this Beaux-Arts beauty as Grand Central Station but it's actually a Terminal because this is where train lines originate and terminate. The interior of Grand Central is also an amazing sight and will transport you to another time. The main facade is a symphony of arches filled in with steel and glass, all topped by a huge clock and sculpture group. Inside, the main hall is sparse. The ceiling vault here is 125 across, and painted with the constellations of the zodiac.
We were walking down 42nd street looking for the Grand Central Station and was in awe when we found it. It seems so strange to be sitting a mixed the tall skyscrapers. A diamond in the rouge!! It is beautiful if you like architecture.
The first rail line into New York City -- the New York and Harlem Railroad -- was formed in 1831 and began service to a terminus at Fourth Avenue and 23rd Street the following year.
While Grand Central Terminal stands today as one of New York City?s most famous landmarks, it was by no means the first railroad station in New York City.
Reborn as ?Grand Central Station,? the reconfigured depot?s most prominent feature was undoubtedly its enormous train shed. Constructed of glass and steel, the 100-foot wide by 650-foot long structure rivaled the Eiffel Tower and Crystal Palace for primacy as the most dramatic engineering achievement of the 19th century. The updated station also featured a ?classical? fa?ade, a unified 16,000 square foot waiting room, and distinctive ornamentation, including monumental cast-iron eagles with wingspans of 13-feet (In fact, one of these eagles was recently salvaged and will rise again above Grand Central Terminal?s new entrance at 43rd Street and Lexington Avenue).
Grand Central Terminal:
A fine Beaux Arts building that's also a subway and bus transportation hub. Stand in the middle near the Information booth in the morning and feel the buzz of the city as people pass by you. Look up at the ceiling and see a mirror image of the zodiac constellations. Visit the casual dining (lower level) and fine dining (such as Michael Jordan's Steakhouse) establishments, specialty stores, and the fresh food marketplace. The 42nd St facade shows statues of Cornelius Vanderbuilt (father of the railroad), Mercury, Hercules, and Minerva.
Took an interesting guided tour of Grand Central Terminal where the tour guide will regaled you with stories and history about this beautiful building. The tour lasts 2 hours and covers both inside and outside of the terminal. Donation for the tour is about US$5.
Here are some interesting facts. More photos are found in the Travelogue
- The clock face in the main concourse is made of opal
- The painted ceiling was done backwards by mistake!
- The staircase on the wesit side of the terminal is the original structure whilst the east side is new
- The flooring in Grand Central Terminal is made of pink marble
- The clock on the outside of the terminal where the numeric 6 is is actually a window
- The Kissing Gallery is where welcoming hugs and kisses were given when greeted
- The Whispering Gallery is located in front of the Oyster Bar. This is not a good place to have confidential discussions as you can hear the whisperings of people standing/seated at the 4 corners.
- Originally, there were 12 cast iron eagles placed outside the terminal but only 1 remains today
Grand Central Terminal is also a great place for shopping and food.
Grand Central Station is inspired. I've walked through it's marble interior hundreds of times & never fail to be uplifted. It's a wonderful and romantic place to meet and holds a special place in my heart. It was renovated several years ago and restored to it's original opulance. You'll notice the magical constellations overhead. It was saved from destruction in the 70's by a campaign led by Jackie Kennedy. In the winter, they have a charming laser light show on the ceiling accompanied by classical music. There are many restaurants there. Metrazur & Micheal Jordans are on either end of the main terminal. There is a food court downstairs & more restaurants on the second floor including Cucina & Co, very good French food. The most unique place to get a drink is the Campbell Apartment.
You have to go here. If for no other reason than to be able to use the phrase "it's as busy as Grand Central Station around here" and know what that means.
The recent renovation of the terminal is worth seeing, as well. There are shops, bars, restaurants...and restrooms.
I stopped here to thaw out from the 4 degree temperature and was pleasantly surprised.
Grand Central Terminal was built in 1913 as New York City's main rail hub. Today it still serves this purpose, but is has become the next best thing to a shopping mall in the center of the city. With nearly 50 stores and over 20 dining establishments, there are many things to keep travelers and visitors busy spending money.
This area was long a center of rail transportation, even before the existing structure was built. The previous railroad through the city was steam powered, and when replaced with electricity, the entire system redesigned. The new railroad tracks were placed an average of 30 feet underground, and major buildings constructed over the route--such as the Waldorf-Astoria--helped fund the expensive project. After the decline of rail traffic in the US, the grand old station was nearly demolished in the 60s and 70s until the city and federal governments declared it a historic landmark. 1998 marked the opening of the redesigned shopping-mall like interior after $600 million in renovations to the interior and exterior.
Also make sure to look up while passing through Grand Central. This place has been cleaned up tremendously - including the ceilings! The chandeliers have been refurbished and they have been rediscovered and are now showcased. The constellations are lovely as well. Grand Central is now almost a mall, with the prices to boot. But it's worth a visit...and the bathroom are useable!
GC also hosts several art shows and holiday displays every year. Don't miss it!
A very impressive building - has been used for filming in "The Untouchables" (when the pram rolls down the steps) "The Fisher King" (when all the commuters start dancing), and at least one episode of CSI that I can remember.
The photos do not do the central hall justice - the lighting is quite dull in a big area so holiday snaps tricky to get right.
Underneath is a dining mall. Many reasonably priced stalls will sell you chilli recipes, stir fries or the usual fast food at reasonable prices, and then you eat in a communal area. There is an acclaimed oyster and seafood restaurant which we did not experience.
This must be the most photographed railway station in the world.
Its beautiful inside with restaurants toilets shops + subway.
Its well worth going to have a look, besides its in lots of movies.
You too like many will try to capture it on film.
Grand Central Terminal was on my 'to do' list for my visit to New York.
I was not dissapointed with this wonderful train station. It has a certain nostalgia for me. So much more impressive on the inside than the outside.
Great Architecture and people watching. The terminal is huge and everywhere you look there is something interesting to see. The day we were there, they were filming a commercial and there was a huge group of actors dressed in 1940's fashions. Great stuff!
I used Grand Central Station for more than 30 years. In that time, I've seen it be cleaned up, modernized, outfitted with great stores and changed for the better. I like that a big flag hangs over one doorway. It could be that it appeared after 9/11, but I don't remember. There are two upscale restaurants above the main floor and many food stalls in the Lower Level - a great bargain and good quality. I was back on a trip recently from my new home in the UK and everything seemed busy and familiar. There are tours given and it's a very good spot to visit while in NY.
Beautifully restored to its formal glory, this 'Gateway to the Nation' as it's fondly referred to also apprently serves great American cheese cake which otherwise is said to mean a trip to Brooklyn to experience the taste.
It is filled with chic shops and much more than a station these days.