Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

The Grand Central Terminal is more than just an elaborate movie set. It is a staple of modern New York and one of the oldest landmarks in the city. About 75,000 people move through the terminal daily. Seven hundred trains move in and out daily on the 67 tracks and 44 platforms. While this may seem hectic, elegant classical music creates an elevated effect. So take a moment to absorb the energy and beauty of the terminal and its ceiling.



The Grand Central Terminal has had a couple of names over its lifetime. It was once called the Grand Central Depot and the Grand Central Station.  

We have Cornelius Vanderbilt to thank for the building of the terminal. He purchased the land and built the terminal. It opened in 1871. Originally, the terminal was designed for steam trains. However, a train accident that killed 15 passengers resulted in a call for a switch to electric from steam. The reconstruction began in 1903 and took ten years to complete.  

In the 1960s, it was declared a city landmark. This came about when developers began pressuring the city in court to allow them to demolish the terminal. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis pushed to protect the building by declaring it a landmark. To preserve the terminal, a major renovation project was undertaken in the 1990s.

Grand Central Terminal


Getting Around  

Despite being a major centralized terminal, navigating the building is surprisingly simple. There are two levels and a balcony. You will find ticket booths, information, subway entry, and Metro-North tracks on the main level. Head off the corridors to visit the restaurants, shops, and markets. The lower level is a dining hall. The balcony level is for restaurants and the Apple store.  

Main Concourse Ceiling  

One of the most stunning features of the terminal concourse is on the ceiling. It is a brilliant blue with gold leaf. There are twelve constellations and 2,500 stars. A modern touch are the 59 stars illuminated by LED lights.  

Information Booth Clock  

Another iconic feature of the main concourse is the four-sided clock at the information booths. Opal glass covers the clock faces. This elegant landmark is estimated to be worth $20 million.  

Whispering Gallery  

A remarkable feature of the terminal is the whispering gallery. The arched shape of the ceramic tiled ceiling and walls creates a unique autistic effect. You can stand in opposite corners of the arches and whisper to each other.  

Dining, Shopping & Entertainment 

While this may be a train and subway terminal, it has more restaurants and shopping than many standard malls. The Grand Central Oyster Bar is as old as the terminal itself. The Campbell Bar is considered a New York institution. A selection of 65 boutiques creates plenty of opportunities for shopping. A public tennis club lets you get a little exercise. For culture, the Vanderbilt Hall hosts events and art exhibits. 

Grand Central Market  

Make your way to the Grand Central Market for an elevated shopping experience. Thirteen local food vendors sell fresh produce, delectable treats, and gourmet ingredients. This European-style food market is open daily, hosting 10,000 visitors daily.  

Midtown East  

New York City is divided into neighborhoods, each with its own personality and culture. Midtown East is one of those neighborhoods. It is home to Grand Central Terminal and many other must-see iconic landmarks. These include Bryant Park, the Museum of Modern Art, Rockefeller Center, and the Chrysler Building. It also has several high-end restaurants, posh bars, luxury shopping, and historic housing. Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store is also in Midtown East. Stop by for a shopping trip and then grab a bite at the Blue Box Cafe for your own Breakfast at Tiffany’s experience.  

How to Visit  

Visiting the Grand Central Terminal is simple. It is centrally located and the center of transportation for the city. It is free to enter the terminal. However, if you plan to go anywhere, you will need to purchase tickets for that. The terminal is open every day from 5:30 am to 2 am.  

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