The Grand Central Terminal is New York City’s grandest train station, located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in mid-town Manhattan.
- It was Opened in 1913, and it took ten years (1903-1913) to complete the construction.
- The terminal was built by New York Central Rail Road which was owned by the Vanderbilt family.
- The Grand Central Terminal building was designed by the architectural firm of Reed and Stem from St. Paul, Minnesota. Charles A. Reed was related to the Chief Engineer of the New York Central Rail Road William J. Wilgus by marriage.
- Warren and Wetmore, a New York City architectural firm was hired to furnish architectural details to the exterior of the building. Whitney Warren trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris was a cousin of Vanderbilt.
- The Grand Central Terminal covers an area of 48 acres.
- It is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms, 44 in all with 67 tracks on two levels below ground. However, the number of tracks exceed 100 if you include the tracks in the rail yards.
- The main concourse of the Grand Cetral Terminal is 275 feet long, 120 feet wide, and 125 feet high.
- The ceiling of the main concourse has a mural of night sky painted backwards as it would look to God from outside. The night sky was painted by the French artist and painter Paul Cesar Helleu, who was a friend of the architect Whitney Warren.
- The terminal serves Metro North Rail Road, a commuter train line serving north-western counties outside of New York City and the state of Connecticut to the north.
- Underneath the Grand Central Terminal is a New York City Subway station with 4, 5, 6, 7 and S lines.
- Every day nearly three-quarter of a million people pass through the Grand Central Terminal.
- The Grand Central Terminal was slated for demolition in early 1970s to accomodate an office tower. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis led a campaign to save the building which became a landmark under the city’s Landmarks Preservation Act. In 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that preserving the building under the Landmarks Preservation Act was not a “taking”. The decision was the first time the U.S Supereme Court ruled on a preservation issue and paved the way for saving other historic structures in the nation.
- In 1993 Metro North Rail Road undertook a major renovation of the Grand Central Terminal at a cost of $197 Million.
Following are the links to some of the most amazing photo galleries on several sites including the Atlantic, the Guardian UK, and the Wall Street Journal.
- The Atlantic has a 38 picture tribute to Grand Central Terminal capturing the 100 year history of the building.
- The Gaurdian UK has an interactive picture gallery of Grand Central Terminal going back to 1903 excavation of the site to present day.
The Wall Street Journal has a time lapse video of Grand Central Terminal which captures the sounds and sights of the rushing commuters through the cavernous space of the terminal.
National Public Radio has an audio of an interview done for the 100 year anniversary of the Grand Central Terminal worth listening to.