1871 Originally Grand Central Depot Reborn "Grand Central Station"
Constructed of glass and steel, it rivaled the Eiffel Tower and Crystal Palace as one of the most dramatic engineering achievement of the 19th century. When the steam locomotive era ended the existing station was demolished to create a new double level terminal for electric trains.
Re built "Grand Central Terminal"
In 1913 Grand Central Terminal opened and became an anchor for the real estate development in the midtown Manhattan neighborhood.
During the 1920's, hotels and apartment buildings began to rise on Park Avenue, skyscrapers simultaneously were erected along East 42nd Street. On Lexington Avenue, the Hotel Commodore opened and the Graybar Building and Chrysler building each with a passageway connection to Grand Central's Main Concourse.
As the neighborhood prospered, so did Grand Central. Grand Central Terminal, at various times, housed an art gallery, an art school, a newsreel movie theater, a rail history museum, and numerous temporary exhibitions. All the while, it remained the busiest train station in the country, with a bustling Suburban Concourse on the lower level and famous long-distance trains like the Fast Mail, the Water-Level Limited, the Wolverine, and the Twentieth Century Limited departing from its Main Concourse.
In the 1960's The Pan Am building (now The Met Life building) was constructed above Grand Central Terminal and blocked it's view and entrance from Park Avenue. The railroad owners wanted to demolish the building for the expensive real estate values. The city created The Landmark Preservation law to protect landmark buildings. Penn Central the rail conglomerate and owner had plans to build a 55 story building and sued the city of NY for $8 million dollars fighting the new landmark law.
City and community leaders, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, rallied against changes to Grand Central Terminal. In December 1976, the National Register of Historic Places named Grand Central Terminal as a National Historic Landmark. The Penn Central lawsuit went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which on June 26, 1978, upheld New York's landmark law.
In 1994, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) gained long-term control of Grand Central Terminal in the form of a 110-year lease from American Premier Underwriters, Inc., successor to the Penn Central Corporation. Along with developer partnerships they implemented a comprehensive revitalization plan based on the Master Plan for Grand Central Terminal. Construction began in 1996 with the cleaning of the Main Concourse Sky Ceiling.
The revitalization project culminated with a gala Rededication Celebration of Grand Central Terminal that I was priveledged to attend in 1998. This event marked the beginning of a new chapter of this spectacular New York City landmark.
Today Grand Central is completely restored back to it's 1913 splendor, Grand Central has become a Manhattan destination for it's 5 star restaurants including the Oyster Bar & Restaurant the Landmark seafood restaurant on the lower level.
The Campbell Apartment has been fully restored to its original splendor -- and reborn as a chic cocktail lounge, formerly the private office and salon of 1920's tycoon, John W. Campbell.
Cipriani Dolci, Charlie Palmer's Métrazur, and Michael Jordan's The Steak House N.Y.C. are among the restaurants, cocktail lounges and shops. Casual Dining international eateries are in the lower level Dining Concourse.
Gourmet foods from the Food Halls of Grand Central Market include Zaro's Bread Basket, Wild Edibles, Pescatore Seafood Company, Penzeys Spices, Oren's Daily Roast, Murray's Cheese, Li-Lac Chocolates, Koglin German Hams, Greenwich Produce, Dishes at Home, Corrado Bread & Pastry, Ceriello Fine Foods and Bella Cucina. There are also 50 unique specialty Shops throughout the concourses, all in addition to train transportation.
Vanderbilt Hall, the Terminal's 12,000 square foot former Main Waiting Room, is the site for ongoing free promotions and entertainment events. New York Transit Museum Gallery & Store is located in the shuttle passway.
Commuters and travelers running to catch a train or subway - no matter how late they are pause to take in the magnificent man-made-wonder of Grand Central Terminal.
- Triumphal arches flanked by Corinthian columns at entranceway
- World-renowned, 50-foot-high sculpture by Jules- Alexis Coutan of Mercury, Minerva and Hercules
- New York icon timepieces: 13-foot, century-old Tiffany clock above entrance; famous four-faced gold clock on top of information booth inside
- Double staircase in Botticino marble modeled after the Paris Opera House
- 470-foot-long Main Concourse, longer than the nave of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
- Vaulted Sky Ceiling of zodiac constellations painted by French artist Paul Helleu
One of the reasons so many New Yorkers fought to save Grand Central from the wrecking ball is because Pennsylvania Station, Manhattan's other station on the west side of Manhattan originally the monumental 1910 Beaux-Arts masterpiece of architects McKim, Mead and White, was leveled, and replaced with the fourth Madison Square Garden.
15 years ago a determined Senator Moynihan said it's time to rebuild Penn Station. The Farley post office is being transformed into the new Penn Station (The Moynihan Station) The plans look more spectacular even than Grand Central. "From Penn Station to Moynihan Station"
For more information including the complete history of the advent of the railroad in NYC, the history of Grand Central Terminal and information on it's shops, food, restaurant menus, tours and events visit the Grand Central website