Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse

Attractions , Historic buildings and sites Midtown East Free
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Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse
Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse

There is no place in New York that better welcomes commuters to the Big Apple than this gorgeous Beaux-Arts train station. For the past century, the 44 platforms–the most platforms of any train station in the world–have kept New Yorkers rolling in and out of the city on a constant basis with 750,000 commuters walking through it’s storied halls each day. If you have time before your departure on the MetroNorth, make a day of it with an old fashioned shoe shine from the celebrated cobblers at Leather Spa followed by lunch at Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant. The gorgeous eatery with its vaulted opulent ceiling, which opened the same year as the terminal in 1913, serves a brilliant Bloody Mary, and, as to be expected has quite the extensive selection of oysters from the New England, Mid-Atlantic and the Pacific West regions (typically between $2-$4 per raw oyster).

Even if you don’t have time for a meal, give yourself a moment to admire the architecture of the 70-acre complex. While much of the building seems like a throwback, it was seen as a technological accomplishment and when it opened it was one of the world’s first all-electric buildings. The main concourse is the true show-stopper: Stand next to the iconic Grand Central Terminal Clock and look to the Cathedral-like ceiling to admire the constellations, which, according the original owners, the Vanderbilt family, were painted in reverse order as if to see the stars from a divine perspective.

Venue name: Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse
Contact:
Address: 89 E 42nd St
New York
10017
Cross street: between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
Transport: Subway: S, 4, 5, 6, 7 to 42nd St–Grand Central
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LiveReviews|6
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Adam V
tastemaker

Grand Central is a hub, for both local subway and taxi traffic, and longer haul, inter-state train traffic. The layout is fairly intuitive, with lang-haul platforms generally clustered around the main concourse. Subway platforms are scattered around the edges, and taxi stands are just outside. The terminal is enormous (or 'grand'), and conveniently located (or 'central'). There are normally rotating installations, booths, or shops around the main concourse, and the shopping, dining and attractions, even within the terminal are excellent. This transit hub is not to be missed, whether for iconic pictures, everyday commuting, local and fresh market fare, upscale dining and fresh seafood, or much more.

Stephen L

Grand Central Terminal is the surviving sister of New York City's two great railroad stations, Pennsylvania Station having been demolished in the mid-60s to make way for the a new Madison Square Garden. I'm old enough to have seen Penn in it's glory, and Grand Central is a pale shadow. Nevertheless, it's all we have left, thanks to concerned citizens and historic preservationists (tip o' the hat to Jackie O!). It is a Beaux Arts masterpiece, and was a technological wonder when it was built. The major restoration carried out some years ago restored the main concourse to it's original opulence (it was marred by a giant, illuminated Kodak ad for many years) and plenty of fine shops and restaurants can be found in the arcades. The only thing that's always bugged me about Grand Central is the famous ceiling mural: Aside from the view of constellations being reversed (a major mistake that was later rationalized as offering a view FROM the heavens) the color of the sky is GREEN! It looks like the ocean, not the sky. Doesn't that bother anyone else?

GC
moderator

Is it weird that I like Grand Central – especially when it’s crowded with commuters? The Main Concourse encapsulates all that is New York: many people in a large (but small) space, going about their lives, in a city with beautiful architecture and long history. Grand Central Station celebrated their 100 year anniversary a couple years ago, and it was quite a sight seeing the celebrations going on throughout the month. Come visit, stand right in the middle of the Main Concourse, and take in what the city has to offer.

Sanjoy K

Grand Central is a must visit for everyone.Just walking into the terminal you get an idea of what New York is all about.There are hundreds of people at any given moment, you can go anywhere in the city through here as there is LIRR trains and Metro North you also have the NY Subway system (biggest in the world) taking you to all the 5 boroughs.Oh and can’t forget if you love gadgets the Apple store is right there and they have some pretty neat things there.You are also in the heart of the city, the amount of food venues there is crazy!

Heather P

I <3 Grand Central Terminal... This place inspired me to write the first book in the Melonie Goes to Series... Called Melonie Goes to Grand Central Terminal. Available on www.createspace.com/4310556

Brigid

This tour was not what I expected -- a walking tour of Grand Central and its neighborhood. Rather, after 3 hours (including a 45 minute lecture inside the lobby of the building across from the terminal, which did not center on the terminal itself but centered on a broad history of the city, railroading, and the United States. This was fine, but the tour guide was simply wrong on many points. We then moved outside for another 30 minutes, which touched on the architecture of the terminal, which was the most interesting part but also included diatribes on federal subsidies to the airline industry etc. When we finally got inside the terminal (and hour and a half into the "tour," the guide was determined to make the point that Columbia University was not part of the Ivy league as it had not been founded before the American Revolution (which he asserted was a criteria, but I'm guessing that that he'd never heard of a university called Cornell) and minimizing the contributions of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in "saving" Grand Central (a particular bone of contention of his was that the city would not allow him to have a plaque placed honoring his friend who was the lawyer who fought for historic preservation). This was 50 minutes -- just getting into the main part of the terminal. We jumped off the tour after three hours (most people had by this point). Some of the points this gentleman made were quite interesting but it just so wide-ranging and so long that it was sometimes tough to find those worthwhile nuggets. If you go, go expecting not a formal National Trust type professional tour concerning Grand Central, but rather "one man's view of the world," sometimes centering on that big building in front of you (but sometimes not).