View Full Version : Grand Central Terminal - 89 East 42nd Street @ Park Avenue - New York's Great Gateway

October 7th, 2002, 02:22 PM
Marcel Breuer's Proposed Tower
Image from thecityreview.com

Thank God the preservation movement was dedicated to preserving Grand Central as an active railroad terminal! *This proposal is the better of two, as Breuer also drafted one that completely obliterated the facade! *

October 7th, 2002, 03:27 PM
Hmmm...my original post for this topic seems to have been wiped out, so I'll try to redo it. *It went something like this...

"Whoa! *Our forum and all its historic posts were wiped out! *Thank God New York's grand railroad gatway didn't suffer the same fate and looks great after a recent renovation! *Lets get this forum going again!"

The Exterior
Image from www.ostpxweb.ost.dot.gov
Image from savorysojourns.com

The Interior
Image from squashpics.com

One of my NYC favorites! *Post more thoughts/pictures, please!

October 8th, 2002, 12:34 AM
The view on Bear Stearns World Headquarters (http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/383madison/default.htm) and Grand Central Terminal from Park Avenue. On the right is the Metlife Building (http://www.wirednewyork.com/metlife.htm).


October 15th, 2002, 08:09 PM
Grand Central Terminal is a beauty! *I hope no tower is built over it. *What are some people thinking?

October 18th, 2002, 10:40 AM
Interestingly enough guys, Grand Central was designed and engineered with the intention that a skyscraper be built over it at some point in the future, unlike Penn Station (the builders of Penn Station wanted a hotel *on top, but the architect convinced the oweber of the railroad against it, for the sake of beauty). *Thus the lack of any skylights over the main concourse and the robustness of the four corners. *There are some very old renderings of it capped by a classy hotel (don't ask me to find them). *I don't advocate building anything on top of it, I just like to think of how thoroughly innovative and incredibly far-sighted a work of urban engineering Grand Central was. * Unfortunately, I don't think anyone today could come up with something compelling enough to put on top of Grand Central.

October 18th, 2002, 02:49 PM
You mean like this?


"There have been many plans to erect an office tower over Grand Central Terminal in New York: Reed & Stem designed an office tower as part of the original plan, left, and I. M. Pei created the spectacular design at right for the same site in 1956."

For completeness, Emery Roth's design linked from greatgridlock.net (http://www.greatgridlock.net/NYC/nyc3.html#54):


October 18th, 2002, 03:48 PM
That's it! *This forum is great. *You rock.

October 23rd, 2002, 11:17 AM
How typical that Emery Roth would come up with an unsightly box...

October 24th, 2002, 12:44 PM
Who knows, maybe if that Emery Roth box had been built instead of the Metlife Building, the view to the terminal would have been a lot less impeding.

October 24th, 2002, 02:57 PM
Im a big Pan-Am fan, its juxtaposition all the better.

October 26th, 2002, 03:50 AM
The Grand Central Partnerships offers a free tour of the terminal every Friday at 12:30 PM, led by Justin Ferate. *The below is excerpted from my site page entitled "The day the ICBM put a hole in Grand Central" (http://www.rovingrube.com/Archives/20011125.htm)

"Mr. Ferate has given this tour for years. He typically asks attendees if they taken it before, and the tours vary accordingly (on his other Justin-led tours around the city, the Rube has seen the itinerary instantly change depending on what stairway the group happens to exit the subway from). In Grand Central, he may take you across the precarious-looking glass floors high up inside the tall windows at back of this picture, or he may sit down on the floor to demonstrate that it is proportioned and patterned like graph paper, and that's why you don't see people bumping into each other like they do on the sidewalks.

Or, he may tell you about the time back in the 60's, when, in a patriotic display of our military might, they brought in a nuclear missile (OK, probably it had a dummy warhead) and set it up in the middle of the concourse, but then had to punch a hole in the ceiling to be able to stand it upright."

October 28th, 2002, 09:32 AM
I had no idea they did that.

June 26th, 2003, 07:55 AM
June 26, 2003

25 Years Ago, Landmarks Law Stopped a Skyscraper


NEW YORK CITY'S landmarks law took effect in 1965 but gained its real power 25 years ago today.

That was when the United States Supreme Court ruled, 6 to 3, that the city had the constitutional authority to regulate landmarks even when it meant — as it did at Grand Central Terminal — that an owner was prevented from developing its property as allowed by zoning, thereby suffering a financial loss to create a public benefit.

"This was the first time that the High Court had ratified landmarks as an exercise of the police power analogous to zoning," said Leonard J. Koerner, now the chief assistant corporation counsel, who argued the city's case.

Without the power upheld by the decision in Penn Central Transportation Company v. City of New York, "thousands of historic buildings that stamp a place as special would be gone," said Jerold S. Kayden, an associate professor at Harvard, who is writing a book on the subject. "Acres of crucial wetlands would be filled. Coastlines and lakefronts would be over-developed."

And the sunlight that so brightened the terminal concourse yesterday would have been blocked.

What is striking is not that a quarter century has passed since the Penn Central decision, but that the constitutionality of the landmarks law was under a serious cloud so recently. Two of the dissenting justices, William H. Rehnquist and John Paul Stevens, still serve on the court.

And the current owner of the Grand Central air rights, Carl H. Lindner's American Financial Group, still has 1,264,364 square feet of unused development potential on its hands.

In 1968, Penn Central, which owned the terminal, struck a deal with the developer Morris Saady to build a skyscraper on top of the landmark and pay Penn Central at least $3 million a year.

That plan was rejected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which said that "to balance a 55-story office tower above a flamboyant Beaux-Arts facade seems nothing more than an aesthetic joke."

Penn Central returned with plans for a 59-story tower that would have obliterated the south facade. The commission responded: "To protect a landmark, one does not tear it down. To perpetuate its architectural features, one does not strip them off."

To Penn Central, this amounted to a taking of property by the government without just compensation, which the Fifth Amendment forbids. Justice Rehnquist agreed.

"Penn Central is prevented from further developing its property basically because too good a job was done in designing and building it," he wrote. "The City of New York, because of its unadorned admiration for the design, has decided that the owners of the building must preserve it unchanged for the benefit of sightseeing New Yorkers and tourists."

"A multimillion dollar loss has been imposed," Justice Rehnquist wrote. "It is exactly this imposition of general costs on a few individuals at which the `taking' protection is directed."

The majority believed otherwise.

"It is, of course, true that the landmarks law has a more severe impact on some landowners than on others, but that in itself does not mean that the law effects a `taking,' " Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote for himself and five other justices, all of whom are now dead. "Legislation designed to promote the general welfare commonly burdens some more than others."

Landmark designation permitted Penn Central "to use the property precisely as it has been used for the past 65 years: as a railroad terminal," he wrote.

AS for air rights — the development potential represented by the difference between the size of the existing terminal and the largest building that zoning would allow on the site — Justice Brennan said Penn Central's ability to use those rights had "not been abrogated," since they were made transferable.

Daniel M. Gribbon, senior counsel at Covington & Burling, who argued the case for Penn Central, said yesterday that the "decision opened new avenues on regulatory takings but didn't really resolve anything."

The rights are now owned by American Financial of Cincinnati, whose founder, chairman and principal shareholder, Mr. Lindner, is also chief executive of the Cincinnati Reds and former chairman of Chiquita Brands International.

Until the city created a special subdistrict in 1992 to expand the sites eligible to receive Grand Central air rights, only one new development had used them: the Altria building at 120 Park Avenue.

Since then, 285,866 square feet of air rights were transferred to the Bear Stearns building at 383 Madison Avenue; 67,679 square feet to the CIBC World Markets building at 300 Madison Avenue; and 19,582 square feet to 360 Madison Avenue. An application is pending to transfer 38,225 square feet to 340 Madison Avenue, said Edith Hsu-Chen of the City Planning Department's Manhattan office.

Based on recent sales, American Financial puts a value of about $50 million to $60 million on the unused air rights. But thinking about the compensation issue, Mr. Gribbon said, "That's not the same thing as cash."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

June 26th, 2003, 03:38 PM
And the current owner of the Grand Central air rights, Carl H. Lindner's American Financial Group, still has 1,264,364 square feet of unused development potential on its hands.

This would allow for a more appropriate arrangement. Air Rights intensify the canyon effect by alignments of height and relief.

June 26th, 2003, 10:11 PM
I don't like the late 60s and early 70s because a lot of the historical architecture in NYC was stripped of it's greatness(or destroyed). It's a good thing they didn'y do anything to Grand Central.

June 27th, 2003, 02:19 AM
Those two posts of mine were my first in this forum. *How young and naive I was! *Yes, 10:40 am on October 18, 2002. *I remember it well...

June 27th, 2003, 05:22 AM
You mean we don't rock?

June 27th, 2003, 01:07 PM
I suppose the thrill is gone. *These things happen; My relationship with this forum has matured over the years.

June 29th, 2003, 11:03 PM

The mid-sixties were the pits if you were a beaux-arts building trying to survive. Within a two year period, 1965-66, the following atrocities occurred:

1. Penn Station, the greatest of all beaux-arts buildings on any continent, was demolished in a shocking act of vandalism and shortsighted greed to make way for Madison Square Garden and a dull slab of high rise by Charles Luckman.

2. The Singer Building, Woolworth's rival for title of greatest of all beaux-arts skyscrapers and once the world's tallest high-rise, was taken down for a gloomy tombstone flattop by SOM. Tallest building ever demolished prior to WTC.

3. At Grand Army Plaza, the huge and jolly Savoy Plaza Hotel, which used to make such a harmony of pyramidal roofs with its smaller Gallic colleague, the Plaza, was replaced by the streamlined banality of Stone's General Motors Building, now Trump's. That corner of Central Park has never recovered.

4. Times Square's landmark beaux-arts New York Times Tower was scraped down to the skeleton and reclad in improved modern marble clothing of astonishing Miami Beach banality.

5. Times Square's vast and mansarded Astor Hotel, the most Parisian of New York's buildings, was pulled down to be replaced by that tailfinned monstrosity, Astor Plaza. Kahn and Jacobs are the perpetrators here. *

At any point in history, architects reserve their special hatred for the immediately preceding style, against which they are generally reacting or revolting for aesthetic and business reasons. If a competent building can survive the attacks of the immediately subsequent stylistic trend, its survival is generally assured. People will come to recognize it for what it is: an irreplaceable historic document of an era.

In the mid-Sixties, architects were so committed to heroic and revolutionary Modernism that they did not even recognize such buildings as Penn Station as architecture. Giedion omitted them entirely from his version of architectural history, and Gropius regarded them as works of the Devil. It is ironic that Gropius' New York masterpiece, the stark and austere lobby of the (former) Pan Am Building has itself succumbed to total stylistic bowdlerization to today's version of midbrow kitsch. I'll bet the construction crew carting off the Albers over the escalators didn't even know it was art.

Of course, in twenty years, when they are threatening the Astor Plaza's fins with a re-do, I guess I'll be there defending them.

June 30th, 2003, 12:46 PM
Well done, ablarc.

July 1st, 2003, 08:43 AM
Breuer's just looks like he used the project as an excuse to build a huge building.

I have seen most of these pictures before and I think that compared to most, the met life building was the best Idea. Plus it makes a great photo when you look down park avenue.

July 5th, 2004, 11:23 PM
July 6, 2004

Got the Time? At Grand Central, It Has Never Been That Simple


Readings on different displays of the 15-year-old master clock at Grand Central Terminal sometimes drift out of synchronization.

With upgrades, four faces of the big clock will finally tell one time.

For years, they have maddened riders. Above information booths, on walls and on platforms, there they are — a babel of different times on different clocks in a place that depends mightily on people knowing the right time.

Several times a day, riders troop into the stationmaster's office in Grand Central Terminal to complain. Even the four faces of the signature brass clock above the information booth in the main concourse, irate riders often point out, are different.

The culprit is not the clocks themselves but something that resembles a giant filing cabinet, tucked away in a closet above one of the Beaux-Arts terminal's platforms. It is a 15-year-old master clock system, with dials in the middle and two digital displays.

It connects each day at 3 a.m. by short wave radio signal with the National Institute of Standards and Technology's atomic clock in Boulder, Colo., and then sends electrical impulses to the terminal's 20-some historic clocks.

The problem is, the electromechanical devices in the terminal's master clock system that are sending these signals are becoming increasingly unreliable, making the clocks inaccurate. What's more, the time displayed on video monitors throughout the terminal is controlled by a different system, not tied to the atomic clock at all.

Now, however, officials at Metro-North Railroad, the keepers of the clocks in Grand Central, are setting out to improve things for the 700,000 people who depart or arrive daily on 550 commuter trains and countless subways. Next month, they will install a new $59,000 master clock that will synchronize every second of every day by satellite with the Boulder atomic clock to ensure accuracy up to a fraction of a nanosecond, which is a billionth of a second.

With the new system will come devices that will be entirely electronic and will not, like the current equipment, use mechanical parts to send pulses to the historic clocks. Then all the older, separate systems will be done away with, unifying time in the terminal for the first time in its 91-year history.

In other words, if you are late, don't blame the clocks.

"We will have a dependable clock system that everyone knows is dependable," said Steve Stroh, superintendent of electrical maintenance at Grand Central.

Mr. Stroh has had the unenviable task of shepherding the current system through its recent changes. Digital clocks in the rail operations center are tied directly to the master clock, and so provide accurate time for those who run the railroad.

But several times a week, Mr. Stroh walks around the brass clock above the information booth, checking to make sure the faces show the same time. He insists that many riders' complaints come from the fact that the time looks different when the clocks' hands are seen from different angles. Sure enough, a series of inspections by a visitor proves his point.

But Mr. Stroh admits there are also plenty of times when the clocks have, well, plenty of times.

"You come in here and think you have a couple of minutes but run down and find the train's just not there," said Andrew Flint, 26, waiting by the historic clock in the main concourse to catch a train to New Haven on Friday.

Besides the problems with the master clock system, the historic clock's motors are also wearing out, Mr. Stroh explained. A few months ago, he sent one face's motor back to its manufacturer in Switzerland to be repaired.

As part of all the upgrades, new motors will be ordered for all four clock faces, along with a spare motor in case one breaks. Digital clocks will also be added to platforms, replacing old L.E.D. clocks that were taken down recently because they depended on the same unreliable pulse system.

Time has always been crucial to the running of railroads. Indeed, timekeeping, as it is known today, was essentially invented out of necessity in the late 1800's by a collection of railroads, including the New York Central, a predecessor of Metro-North.

Before the railroads, time was a local matter, set in each town according to the sun. Therefore, noon in Cincinnati, for example, would be slightly different from noon in Cleveland. But this was obviously a problem for railroads. Coordination of traffic on the tracks, as well as schedules for picking up passengers, depended on a standardized time system.

"A train could leave Syracuse at 12 o'clock and come into Utica, and it would still be 12 o'clock," said Pierce Haviland, a Metro-North employee who is also a railroad historian. "That wasn't working."

At first, railroad managers set up 100 different railroad time zones, but that proved too complicated. Finally, on Nov. 18, 1883, four standard time zones — Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific — were adopted by the railroads. At noon on that day, the time was transmitted by telegraph from the United States Naval Observatory in Washington to all the railroads in the United States and Canada. Twice a day thereafter, railroad clocks were resynchronized with the Naval Observatory's clock.

However, it was not until 1918, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, that the railroads' time zones became the standard for everyone in the United States.

"They didn't invent time, obviously," said Mr. Haviland. "But as far as standard time and time zones, they certainly mandated the need for it, and they were the first adopters."

In recent years, more and more transportation hubs, along with telecommunications companies, radio and television stations and utilities, have begun upgrading to satellite-based technology. Such technology allows them to synchronize with one of the country's official atomic clocks down to the nanosecond.

The term "atomic clock" is often misunderstood, said Michael Newman, a spokesman for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which provides the official time for the United States. It is not nuclear-powered, but simply a timekeeping device that uses the regular vibrations of a specific atom to keep time in somewhat the same way that a clock pendulum's movements mark the passage of time.

Most, if not all, airports in the country now depend on a system similar to the one Metro-North will be adopting, tied to Boulder's atomic clock. Railroad stations, however, have been slower to follow.

In November, Penn Station upgraded to a system that connects to the atomic clock, according to officials at Amtrak, which owns the station. Previously, the station relied on a more haphazard system that required someone to actually call up a place that had an atomic clock to check that the station's clocks were synchronized correctly. The station's clocks would then be adjusted by computer.

Faced with conflicting information, veterans of Grand Central have learned to employ their own systems to keep track of time.

"I never look at the clocks because I don't trust them," said David Turner, 23, a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie who often takes trains in and out of the city on weekends. "I just use the clock on my phone."

Many Metro-North workers do not trust the clocks either. Train conductors use their own wristwatches to decide when to leave, said Dan Brucker, a spokesman for the railroad, although they are required to synchronize their watches periodically with either the video monitors or the operations center.

The railroad prides itself on a reported on-time performance of better than 95 percent. But for anyone who has ever been frustrated by a late train, there is now the obvious question: Which clock are they using?

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

July 24th, 2005, 04:45 PM
hy, i have to model the grand central terminal in 3d. i have found some usefull images via google. but nothing from the back. so need to know how the grand central terminal looks from the back (metlife b. site). can anybody help me?

July 24th, 2005, 06:05 PM
its not to urgent. i have the hole august to complete a series of important ny landmarks ... and this building is the first one i cant find all i need.

July 25th, 2005, 02:32 AM
Grand Central- New York's Gateway...for Westchester and Connecticut. Shame it can only rarely be experienced by anyone else in the region (unless they're in the mood for sightseeing) or for that matter, other cities. If only it could be an intercity station...

July 25th, 2005, 02:54 AM
It was intercity until about ten years ago -

July 25th, 2005, 12:46 PM
To where? Montreal?

July 25th, 2005, 01:22 PM
To where? Montreal?

All Amtrak upstate, and also Montreal, routes used to leave from Grand Central. They were stopped when the tracks down through Riverdale and the west side were rehabbed and the connection into Penn was upgraded.

July 25th, 2005, 01:34 PM
When I took the nerdy tour at grand central (stumbled into it on my way out of work) the guide said that the entire upstairs concourse was designed to service intercity service (the vanderbilt room was arriving trains, and the main room was departing) and that only the lower level was for commuters.

July 25th, 2005, 01:39 PM
Historically, Grand Central was used by the New York Central and the New Haven Railroads, back before the creation of Amtrak and MetroNorth. New York Central's tracks went up the Hudson to Albany and from there ran east to Boston and west to Cleveland, Chicago and St. Louis. The New Haven ran through New Haven up to Boston. Penn Station was served by the Pennsylvania Railroad, whose tracks went south to Philadelphia and Washington and west to Chicago and St. Louis through Pittsburgh.

August 31st, 2005, 10:10 AM
NY Times
August 31, 2005

At Grand Central, Business Is Booming

Diners at Junior's enjoy lunch.

Having to close up shop for a couple of years while Grand Central Terminal was being renovated turned out to be a fortunate turn of events for Scott Stein, owner of Grand Central Optical, which had been doing business in a corridor just off Lexington Avenue since 1964. During the renovation, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the station, moved the optical shop temporarily to a ground-floor shop in its nearby Madison Avenue headquarters.

When the work on the renovation of the terminal was completed, Mr. Stein decided to keep both stores open. Seven years after the terminal officially reopened in 1998, the 500-square-foot Grand Central store outpaces the 1,100-square-foot second shop, which has since moved to another nearby Madison Avenue address, by a wide margin.

"My return is 70 percent higher in Grand Central," said Mr. Stein, whose family also operated Grand Central Jewelers in the terminal between 1923 and the mid-1990's.

Average annual rents for 500 square feet, the most common size in the terminal, run about $250 a square foot, although Mr. Stein, as a longtime tenant, pays slightly less than that.

With the rents on the two shops comparable, he said, the success of the Grand Central location is attributable not only to higher traffic but also to a marked change in shopping habits of the 700,000 commuters who pass through daily, along with the tourists and enormous pool of office workers from surrounding blocks. Clearly, they find the atmosphere much more conducive to lingering and spending money.

Before the renovation it was dingy at best, defined by a Nedick's with the paint peeling from the ceiling, a 99-cent store and services for commuters like shoeshine stands. "Before, they were just going to the train, but now they are leaving extra time to buy things and seem happy to shop there," Mr. Stein said. "It's a whole different mind-set."

Mr. Stein is one of about 90 retailers, food merchants and restaurateurs doing brisk business in Grand Central Terminal since it reopened.

The space is 100 percent leased, and five kiosks were recently added to Graybar Passage, a hallway that links to Lexington Avenue, as an experiment in response to demand from small vendors, according to Paul Kastner, director of marketing for Grand Central's commercial space and vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle, which manages the nontransportation business in the terminal for the M.T.A.

Many small retailers like Grand Central Optical are concentrated in 500-square-foot spaces along the Lexington Passage, which is parallel to Graybar. The other tenants include 22 restaurants like Junior's, Dishes and the recently arrived Ciao Bella Gelateria in the lower-level dining concourse; most offer only take-out service. Thirteen high-end food specialty retailers like Murray's Cheese and the Pescatore Seafood Company operate within the area called the Grand Central Market, and there are also full-service restaurants like Cipriani Dolci and the Oyster Bar and Restaurant.

Chain retailers in larger interior spaces include Hudson News and a Rite Aid drugstore, and Kenneth Cole is one of a number of clothing stores outside along 42nd Street. There is also a seasonal sidewalk cafe set up in the former taxi bay on the Vanderbilt Avenue side of the terminal.

Vanderbilt Hall, a cavernous room on street level on the 42nd Street side, is rented out for special events like the annual Holiday Fair, with 72 merchants, or the recent introduction of supersize M&M's.

Annual revenue per square foot in Grand Central Market, where rents run about $200 a square foot, is about $2,000, according to Mr. Kastner. Return per square foot for small retailers like Aveda and Origins cosmetics or a lingerie shop called the Pink Slip is high for a mall, about $1,400 a square foot, he said. "To compare, sales in the best shopping centers will be $500 to $800 per square foot," he said.

Turnover among retailing tenants is low. A men's clothing store in a corner location closed recently. "The men's store wasn't the right fit," Mr. Kastner said. The space is now occupied by Swatch.

Most tenants were eager to renew when their five-year leases ran out. Armin Koglin, owner of Koglin German Royal Hams, who sold four stores in Lubeck, Germany, to open in Grand Central, recently signed a four-year lease and wants to extend that. "I've asked for the option to renew from 2009 to 2014," Mr. Koglin said. He is looking for a second site to open a larger version of his Grand Central venture.

Bobby Shapiro, owner of Zócalo, a 2,000-square-foot Grand Central outpost of his Zócalo Bar and Restaurant, on the Upper East Side, said his sales had climbed every year, including a 10 percent rise this year over last. Now he too wants to take his dining concourse formula to other transit hubs. "I want to go to Penn Station, and we are considering airports," Mr. Shapiro said.

Retailers at Grand Central are delighted at their captive audience of almost three-quarters of a million customers on weekdays. The trouble is, at Grand Central Terminal they all want to shop or eat at the same time, according to Glenn Licht, co-owner with Jerry Bocchino of the Pescatore Seafood Company, which sells fresh fish. "Eighty percent of our business is done with the evening commuters," he said, "generally between 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m."

Business tends to be almost exclusively tied to office hours and the schedules of suburban commuters from Connecticut and Westchester, according to Donald Myers, store manager of Ceriello Fine Foods in the Grand Central Market and the Paninoteca Italiana, a sandwich shop on the dining concourse.

Relatively few customers come from nearby densely populated residential areas east of Third Avenue, a block away, making weekends extremely slow, a number of merchants said.

Efforts to promote shopping in the terminal by local apartment dwellers have had disappointing results. A coupon mailing around the neighborhood about 18 months ago brought customers into Grand Central Market for their $5 savings, but yielded little repeat business, according to Mr. Myers.

"When work is on, so are we; when work is off, so are we," Mr. Myers said. "Weekends have grown, but they are still not where we want them to be."

TLOZ Link5
September 3rd, 2005, 09:30 PM
The restoration scaffolding is starting to come off the south facade, and it looks great.

September 6th, 2005, 06:33 PM
The protective netting used to cover scaffolding could use an improvement.

A few years ago I spent some time in Rome, where many buildings were undergoing renvoation. The practice there: scaffolding was wrapped with an image of the building being worked on (with a small acknowledgement for the corporate support).

Sure beats the 60 foot-long billboards on the all scaffolding / "sidewalk sheds" in my neighborhood.

TLOZ Link5
September 6th, 2005, 06:45 PM
Back in the late '90s, when the Washington Monument was being restored, the protective netting around it was painted as to evoke large bricks. It was well-liked and some admirers thought that the scaffolding should have remained even after the restoration work was finished.

September 14th, 2005, 01:27 AM
The Netting and scaffolding erected for cleaning the western side of Grand Central Terminal has been removed as of at least today, Tusday Sept 13. It looks great.

December 9th, 2005, 05:14 PM
A view of Grand Central Terminal not often seen.

http://img485.imageshack.us/img485/9906/gct8yu.th.jpg (http://img485.imageshack.us/my.php?image=gct8yu.jpg)

Coincidently I wasnt supposed to be there at 2 am, they're supposed to close the doors at 1:30, that said, I was able to take this picture because they didn't.

December 9th, 2005, 05:27 PM
nice shot - did you use the doors right behind where you were standing (when you took the photo?)

December 9th, 2005, 05:44 PM
nice shot - did you use the doors right behind where you were standing (when you took the photo?)

Yes. I used the doors on the west-side of the building.

December 12th, 2005, 01:03 PM
Tiffany Clock at Grand Central Terminal

http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/1160/gct017my.th.jpg (http://img126.imageshack.us/my.php?image=gct017my.jpg)

Model train exhibit
http://img478.imageshack.us/img478/662/gct025vn.th.jpg (http://img478.imageshack.us/my.php?image=gct025vn.jpg)

February 22nd, 2006, 04:26 PM
NY Sun

Grand Central's Barriers To Be Given Face-Lift

By BRADLEY HOPE, Special to the Sun

The unsightly barricades outside Grand Central Terminal will be replaced with hundreds of bronze-finished bollards by this summer, Metro-North officials said yesterday.

The Jersey barriers and concrete cubes currently in place were added in the weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks to prevent terrorists from driving a car bomb into the station.

With a $10 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last spring awarded John Civetta and Sons a contract to install new, more attractive barricades. The 600 new bollards are designed to allow easier passage by pedestrians while maintaining solid protection from vehicles, a Metro-North spokesman, Dan Brucker, said.

The bollards, which contain large steel cylinders, will be cemented to the sidewalk.

The terminal has been operating in its current form since 1913.Since Metro-North took control of the station in 1994, it has undergone extensive renovations.

Truck and car bombs have been one of the favored terrorism methods by insurgents in Iraq. A truck bomb that slammed into the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in 2003 killed 17 people and injured more than 100 others. According to a briefing diagram from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, a small box van can carry up to 10,000 pounds of explosives with a lethal blast range of 300 feet.

The updating of perimeter security is the latest of several security moves at Grand Central. Last summer, the MTA announced it had installed real-time technology that can detect chemical and biological agents in the air. Several New York Police Department K-9 units are deployed in the subways. The MTA also awarded a $212 million contract to Lockheed Martin in August to install smart cameras in subway stations. The cameras are designed to detect people loitering or entering restricted zones, as well as unattended packages and other patterns. The MTA also is spending millions of dollars in federal grants on strengthening bridges and tunnels and on training MTA police to be able to spot suspicious activity quickly.

February 22nd, 2006, 05:17 PM
Paris has these things everywhere - they can be really attractive, and make me feel like a much safter pedestrian terrorists or no...


February 22nd, 2006, 05:25 PM
Paris has these things everywhere - they can be really attractive, and make me feel like a much safter pedestrian terrorists or no...

Those don't look like they would stop a truck bomb.

February 22nd, 2006, 05:34 PM
Well, like everything French (especially their cars) these are much slimmer than in the U.S. They would stop a lot of trucks from entering the building, but I would guess we'll see the less elegant 10" stanchions.

February 22nd, 2006, 05:53 PM
Thank God GCT is getting these. I walk through almost every day, and there is always a bottleneck of pedestrians at those few points where a space is left between the cement barriers. You can't get through. Then of course, there is often a giant puddle of greasy water at the exact spot where they left the opening.

February 22nd, 2006, 06:01 PM
Agreed. They could also keep those guys from selling stolen goods (or stuff fished out of garbage cans) on the sidewalk right by the Lexington Avenue entrance. The sidewalks there are crowded enough.

February 22nd, 2006, 06:04 PM
I'll never get tired of looking up at this ceiling... this was taken a few days ago. The turquoise color , seen in person, would have me mixing paint all day to reproduce. It is absolutely sublime.


February 22nd, 2006, 06:17 PM
Agreed. They could also keep those guys from selling stolen goods (or stuff fished out of garbage cans) on the sidewalk right by the Lexington Avenue entrance. The sidewalks there are crowded enough.Yeah, clean up the streets even more and when they are completely squeaky clean, then turn around and complain that NY is getting too sterile.
I want the street vendors/hawkers, 3-card Monty hustlers and the squeegee men back.

February 22nd, 2006, 09:15 PM
Yeah, clean up the streets even more and when they are completely squeaky clean, then turn around and complain that NY is getting too sterile.
I want the street vendors/hawkers, 3-card Monty hustlers and the squeegee men back.

True. But Lexington at 42nd street is so narrow and so busy that I would really prefer the vendors to be on 42nd or something. Just a suggestion to any vendors reading Wired New York :D

February 22nd, 2006, 10:24 PM
Yeah, clean up the streets even more and when they are completely squeaky clean, then turn around and complain that NY is getting too sterile.
I want the street vendors/hawkers, 3-card Monty hustlers and the squeegee men back.

To each their own.

February 23rd, 2006, 10:06 AM
Btw, I definitely do not want the squeegee men back...

How could anyone?

February 23rd, 2006, 10:47 AM
Notice the tiny black streak on the far right (towards the center) in MidtownGuy's picture, a deliberate remnant of the ceiling's pre-Beyer Blinder Belle state showing how dirty it had once been.

February 23rd, 2006, 08:04 PM
That section of ceiling has become something of a tourist attraction. Just about every time I'm at GCT I see several people pointing to that exact location. I think it is generally well-known, the result of publicity in books, news articles, internet, and those documentaries normally seen on Discovery, TLC, etc.

February 24th, 2006, 06:48 AM
cant see it

February 24th, 2006, 09:41 AM
Look below ... (Its an itty bitty patch on both the terra cotta and the painted ceiling that retains the smoky grey color from pre-restoration)

February 24th, 2006, 09:46 AM
^ I've seen that before in documentaries on GCT following the restoration. It was a great idea to leave it there to remind people what grime was there. A lot of it was exhaust and furnace soot, but also from tobacco products. Makes you want to quit if that's your vice.

February 24th, 2006, 04:08 PM
There's also a hole in the ceiling for the tip of that missile.

February 25th, 2007, 12:22 PM
Here are some additional photos of the exterior and interior of Grand Central Station (http://andrewprokos.com/photos/new-york/landmarks/grand-central-station/). It may be very valuable airspace, but to build an office tower atop Grand Central would absolutely ruin the charm the facade. Not everything boils down to money, even in New York.

March 5th, 2007, 12:30 AM
Threadbare to Quite Posh, in Just 12 Hours

James Estrin/The New York Times
Just before the bar opened Sunday, the owner, Mark Grossich, right,

gave last-minute instructions to Matthew Hartzog, a designer.

NY Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/05/nyregion/05campbell.html?ref=nyregion)
March 5, 2007

In 1923, John W. Campbell, a millionaire American financier, built a big corner office resembling a 13th-century Florentine palazzo, a whim not unusual in the age of Gatsby, save for the whim’s location.

Mr. Campbell chose Grand Central Terminal. There, in a hide-in-plain-sight corner only steps away from commuters pouring onto Vanderbilt Avenue, he built his ground-floor office in a space the size of a chapel.

It had a butler, a pipe organ, a library and one of the world’s largest Persian rugs. After Mr. Campbell’s death in 1957, the space fell into peculiar times, including a stint as a jail.

Not until 1999 was it restored and renovated into a lush saloon of dark wood, dim lamps and Jazz Age cocktails now known as the Campbell Apartment.

Last year, Mark Grossich, who restored the leased space and owns the bar, decided the place was getting threadbare and needed Nina Campbell, an interior designer in London, to spruce it up. In less than 12 hours, they would do everything, to avoid closing for even a night.

Yesterday, a platoon of workers labored morning to afternoon to refashion the Campbell Apartment into something still agreeably old but almost entirely new.

James Estrin/The New York Times
Workers peeled back carpet early yesterday
in the Campbell Apartment, an office-turned-bar
in Grand Central Terminal.

Ms. Campbell, who is not related to the American financier, is known for designing the interiors of Annabel’s club in London and the Hotel le Parc in Paris.

When she first saw the Campbell Apartment about a year ago, she recalled, she was stunned. “I came in the doorway and I said, ‘Oh, my God, what is this, Pandora’s box?’

“Then I began thinking of Anna Karenina and train stations and steam and illicit meetings.” She added, “Luckily for me, the upholstery needed attention.”

Ms. Campbell’s strategy was to replace a largely blue palette with a largely red one — to lay new carpet, banquettes, bar stools and chairs, and brighten it all with red, much like turning up the color on a television set.

The 1999 restoration of the Campbell Apartment cost more than $1.5 million and the current makeover more than $350,000, Mr. Grossich said.

The breakneck renovation, months in the planning, began at dawn yesterday. Under the 25-foot ceiling, union workers being paid double overtime hauled away old tables, chairs and sofas, and then peeled away the carpet.

Shuffling along on knee pads, they scraped away sheets of carpet adhesive, stuck like fried egg on a pan, as well as the remains of countless spilled martinis.

The new designer furniture left Hickory, N.C., on Friday morning and with luck and clear skies would be rumbling into Manhattan in time for the beefy workers to arrange it just so.

As it happens, the new red furniture arrived a bit late, but serendipitously so, at 3:45 p.m. The furniture workers arrived just as the carpet workers were leaving.

A last-minute glitch: Some of the furniture was too big for Grand Central’s single doors. But employees at the restaurant next door, Cipriani Dolci, let the big furniture caravan its way through their double doors.

By 5:53 p.m., barely 12 hours start to finish, the makeover was complete, the maître d’s lectern in place, and a beaming couple from out of town were the first customers of the evening.

“I like the idea that it’s rather grand,” said Edwin Foster, 53, a music director from Boonton, N.J., who was visiting the Campbell Apartment for the first time.

“And a piece of old New York,” added his friend Judith Stuss, 57.

There is no evidence that John Williams Campbell wrote letters or kept diaries. To Allyn Freeman, who is writing a book about the Campbell Apartment, personal facts about him are almost as scarce as those about Shakespeare.

But what facts there are are choice. Mr. Campbell, who resembled Warren G. Harding, favored Savile Row tailoring but disliked wearing socks, even with shoes, said Mr. Grossich and Mr. Freeman, who have spoken about him with Elsie Fater, his niece. He liked unwrinkled trousers, so he hung his in a humidor, while he worked untrousered at a desk.

Mr. Campbell was born in 1880, the son of John Campbell, the treasurer of Credit Clearing House, a credit-reference firm specializing in the garment industry. The younger Campbell had a sister and an older brother. The family lived on Cumberland Avenue, in the affluent Brooklyn neighborhood known as The Hill, now called Fort Greene.

There is no record of the younger Mr. Campbell attending college. He started work at 18 at his father’s firm, where he became a senior executive at 25 and later president.

In 1920, he was appointed to the board of New York Central Railroad, where he would have crossed paths with William K. Vanderbilt Jr., the railroad scion whose office was in Grand Central Terminal.

By this time, Mr. Campbell was prosperous enough to have workmen come from Tiffany & Company to polish his silver. His wife, the former Rosalind D. Casanave, nicknamed Princess, was once listed in The New York Times as a “patroness” of a “Monte Carlo party and dance” at the Ardsley Country Club at Ardsley-on-Hudson.

Sometime in 1923, he commissioned Augustus N. Allen to build an office in leased space in Grand Central Terminal. Mr. Allen was an architect known for designing Long Island estates and grand offices.

Mr. Campbell filled his new office with Italian furniture, a pipe organ, a piano and a steel safe inside a large stone fireplace. There was a bathroom and a small kitchen. Mr. Campbell had a butler there named Stackhouse.

Perhaps the most striking piece was a Persian rug that covered nearly the entire floor, which is the length of a subway car. It was said to have cost $300,000, or roughly $3.5 million in today’s money.

After Mr. Campbell’s death, it was unclear what happened to the rug and other furnishings, Mr. Freeman said. The space became a signalman’s office and later a closet, where the transit police stored guns and other equipment. It also became a small jail, in the area of the present-day bar.

As for the name Campbell Apartment, that is a misnomer, according to Mr. Freeman. People assumed that such a baronial space was an apartment.

While there was a couch in the office, there was no bed. Mr. Campbell and his wife lived a few blocks away at 270 Park Avenue, not far from the Waldorf-Astoria. There was no need to sleep in the office overnight, Mr. Freeman said.

And for the record, there is no record, or rumor, of dalliance on Mr. Campbell’s part in what must have been one of the city’s great stages for assignation. Not one chorine, hat-check girl or taxi dancer?“

’Fraid not,” Mr. Freeman said.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

October 21st, 2007, 03:11 AM
aarongarcia on Flickr
October 9, 2007

Larger Size (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2357/1551995283_2652a5bfc3_o.jpg)


October 22nd, 2007, 06:58 PM
^ amazing shot! ;)

February 4th, 2008, 05:07 AM
TV Review | 'Grand Central'

Crossroads of a Million Private Lives

Published: February 4, 2008

The “American Experience” documentary “Grand Central” is such an entertaining wallow for New York PBS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/public_broadcasting_service/index.html?inline=nyt-org) viewers that it’s disconcerting to note that it was produced, as World Series champions are these days, in Boston, by the public television station WGBH. Think of it as a peace offering.

A 1919 photograph of Grand Central Terminal, subject of a documentary on PBS.

The film, which was written and produced by Michael Epstein and has its premiere on most PBS stations on Monday night, is at its best when it sticks to its primary concerns of commerce and technology (rather than aesthetics), beginning with Cornelius Vanderbilt’s construction of the original Grand Central Depot on 23 acres in what was, in the 1870s, a squalid industrial zone in the netherlands of Manhattan.

That European-style station, with its huge train shed serving three rail lines, helped to consolidate Vanderbilt’s monopoly on train traffic into New York, but it also quickly became an eyesore, and the tracks running north at grade level through the growing city were a public menace.

From there the story flows: The tracks are sunk below Park Avenue into uncomfortably hot and dangerous tunnels. That leads to a horrific underground collision in 1902 in which 15 died, many killed by steam while trying to escape. That, in turn, forced the railroads to convert from steam to electric locomotives and led, along with competition from the Pennsylvania Railroad and its impressive new station on the West Side, to the building of the current Grand Central Terminal. Among the innovations were two levels of tracks and platforms, both below ground, to handle the growing traffic; and the sale of air rights above the Park Avenue tracks to finance the construction, changing the nature of the Upper East Side.

The narrative gains some contemporary resonance because it takes place largely during the Progressive era, when publicly slamming the predatory practices of big business was a popular sport, one that we’re beginning to see the faintest stirrings of in our own suddenly perilous economic times.

“Grand Central” tells its tale of business and the city briskly via the familiar, and in this case entertaining, mix of archival photos and congenial talking heads. The film’s other component, which could be called the nostalgic-poetic as opposed to the historical-dramatic, is not as felicitous.

Apparently feeling the need to acknowledge the Grand Central-as-modern-cathedral clichés, the filmmakers stop the narrative every so often for brief testimonies, from an immigrant, a veteran, a photographer and so forth, about the terminal’s place in their lives. These stories are touching but ordinary — words like “incredible,” “amazing” and, yes, “cathedral” pop up — and do little but slow down the narrative.

Of course just about anyone can be susceptible to Grand Central’s charms. The film quotes a certain New York daily newspaper — O.K., this one — on the occasion of the terminal’s opening in 1913: “Without exception, it is not only the greatest station in the United States, but the greatest station of any type in the world.”

Grand Central
On most PBS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/public_broadcasting_service/index.html?inline=nyt-org) stations Monday (check local listings).

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

February 4th, 2008, 10:18 AM
That must be the beautiful Commodore hotel, there to the left of GCT, that Trump so tragically defiled.

February 4th, 2008, 10:24 AM
PRINT (http://cgi.ebay.com/1903-Rare-PHOTO-VIEW-Book-of-NEW-YORK-CITY-MOSES-KING_W0QQitemZ110221077329QQihZ001QQcategoryZ29223 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem) : Bird's eye view of the Grand Central Station on the site prior to the GCT (with open tracks all the way up Park Avenue) ...


February 6th, 2008, 11:16 PM
This seems like a good thread to host this. Check it out. Brilliant guerilla performance in GC.

http://gawker.com/5002790/when-grand-central-stood-still (http://gawker.com/5002790/when-grand-central-stood-still)

February 6th, 2008, 11:49 PM
Ha! Thats great, though I wonder why people took photos because in the photo everyone is going to look like they are standing still!!

February 7th, 2008, 10:47 AM
My sister did that! She's an "agent" occasionally with them on some of their "missions". Cracks me up every time.

February 7th, 2008, 04:25 PM
That is so BRILLIANT!!! greatest thing I've seen in a very long time. Now that's New York! I was imagining what my own reaction would be if I witnessed that happening. Aliens? Someone meddling with the space-time continuum?:D

February 8th, 2008, 11:55 AM
Here's another video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwMj3PJDxuo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwMj3PJDxuo)

February 8th, 2008, 05:57 PM
Reminds me of what I used to see every day during rush hour scrambling across Grand Central from the subway station to catch my train.

March 23rd, 2008, 06:38 AM
New Wave of Upgrades at Grand Central Shops

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/03/19/business/19grand.600.jpg Photographs by Patrick Andrade for The New York Times
The window of the boutique La Crasia looks out into the Lexington Passage at Grand Central Terminal.

Published: March 19, 2008

Grand Central Terminal is like a seasoned Hollywood celebrity, aging gracefully with the help of a little nip and tuck now and then, and a major face-lift only when absolutely necessary.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/03/19/business/19grandB.enlarge.jpgPatrick Andrade for The New York Times
The passage leads commuters past stores on the way to the street.

The last overhaul was completed 10 years ago; it resulted in a whole new retail face for one of New York’s best-known landmarks. Now, many of the leases signed after the renovation will be expiring in the next few years, with the first wave concentrated in the Lexington Passage, an entrance from 43rd Street created during the renovation.

The property managers of Grand Central think this provides an ideal time for another nip and tuck. “We want to freshen things up a bit, update the look and mix of retailers,” said Gordon L. Pelavin, vice president and general manager for Jones Lang LaSalle, which has managed Grand Central for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/m/metropolitan_transportation_authority/index.html?inline=nyt-org) since it gained control of the property in 1994. “Retail has really changed over the last 10 years.”

So has Grand Central. When the Lexington Passage retail spaces were being completed in 1998, the terminal was considered a risky venture.

Then, most of the stores were aimed at commuters, and the Main Concourse was dingy and covered with large banner advertising.

The original leasing agent, Williams Jackson Ewing, based in Maryland, courted local boutique operators.

“National chains get tired,” said Michael Ewing, a principal of Williams Jackson Ewing, which had overseen the redevelopment of Union Station in Washington in the early 1980s. “They get to be big companies, and it’s hard for them to change. Small retailers are constantly evolving and updating.”

The strategy worked, and the small stores did well. Grand Central remains one of the rare collection of stores where national chains have not taken over. There is still a concentration of local retailers, and only 16 percent of the stores are national chains.

Not only have annual sales steadily risen, to $175 million in 2007 from $117 million in 2000 (excluding fine-dining restaurants), but there has also been little turnover among tenants.

With annual sales averaging $1,300 a square foot, many tenants would like more space, including Pink Slip, a lingerie shop, whose lease expires this year.
Margo Andros started Pink Slip by selling at flea markets and initially went to Grand Central as part of the Holiday Fair, a temporary market set up in November and December in Vanderbilt Hall, adjacent to the Main Concourse. This event has acted as an incubator for local retailers to test their products without taking the risk of a long-term lease.

After solid sales, Pink Slip signed a lease. With only 337 square feet, its revenue was $906,385 in 2007, not including the Holiday Fair, which pushed the total over $1 million, Ms. Andros said. The leasing agents and property managers have “done a great job with marketing,” she said. “We have 4,000 customers, and we made a name here and we would like to expand,” despite a potentially difficult retail climate on the horizon.

Ms. Andros said that while total sales are the same as last year in dollar terms, the number of transactions is down (meaning that shoppers are spending more on average).

Recent surveys indicate that consumer confidence in New York State (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/?inline=nyt-geo) is down sharply, according to the Siena College (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/s/siena_college/index.html?inline=nyt-org) Research Institute, based in Loudonville, N.Y., which has been tracking consumer confidence in New York since 1999.

Indeed, a few tenants are concerned about slowing sales, even though the ridership of Metro-North Railroad is higher than ever; 700,000 people pass through Grand Central daily. One manager of a store in the Lexington Passage said that total sales revenue and the number of sales so far this year were down compared with last year.

Among the Lexington Passage shop owners interviewed, however, not one wanted to leave, and most wanted to expand, which may not be easy to do.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Jones Lang LaSalle and Williams Jackson Ewing require shop owners to reapply for their spaces as they become available and explain how they will upgrade their businesses. By March 2011, 49 leases will be expiring, representing 56,884 square feet, a little more than 40 percent of the total space.

Ms. Andros said she would apply for five spaces just to make sure she gets a spot. While she believes that Pink Slip, with good sales and a willingness to upgrade, will almost surely be approved for a new lease, others might not be so lucky.

This is particularly true of retailers that are dealing with difficult market changes, like InMotion Entertainment, a DVD and CD store, which faces the prospect of becoming obsolete as online sources for movies and music gain in popularity.

The terminal has qualities that make it exceedingly attractive to retailers, said Karen Bellantoni, executive vice president of Robert K. Futterman & Associates, who is familiar with leasing activity at Grand Central but is not currently involved.

“You’ve got tourists and commuters coming in on Metro-North, a strong demographic coming from Westport and Westchester (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/westchester/?inline=nyt-geo),” she said. “And you also have the office population, lawyers, hedge funds and the MetLife Building attached.”

She added, “Maybe the former World Trade Center is about the only thing that would be similar.”

Meanwhile, another nip and tuck is starting at the grande dame. About 15 years after its last big overhaul, Vanderbilt Hall is closing for a major cleaning, the transportation authority and Metro-North Railroad recently announced.

For the next seven months, conservators will clean and repair the faux Caen stone walls, the Tennessee pink marble floors and the white Botticino marble wainscoting in the 12,500-square-foot room.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company.

March 23rd, 2008, 07:07 AM
Hall at Grand Central to close for $3.6M cleaning

The Associated Press March 4, 2008 Grand Central Terminal (http://www.newsday.com/topic/travel/transportation/railway-transportation/grand-central-terminal-PLTRA0000120.topic)'s Vanderbilt Hall is to undergo a $3.6-million cleaning that will close it to the public for seven months.

Metro-North Railroad officials say the cleaning, which begins today, involves repairing and replacing, as needed, the stone walls, the marble floors, the white marble wainscoting and every surface in the 12,500-square-foot room.

During the cleaning project, travelers will be able to walk between the main concourse and 42nd Street through a plywood tunnel.

Vanderbilt Hall, formerly known as the Main Waiting Room, once had seating for more than 600 long-distance travelers. As long-distance train travel declined, the room became obsolete. Since 1992 it's been used as a venue for parties, fashion shows, art exhibits and other events.


March 30th, 2008, 04:01 AM
East Side

When Grand Central Was Younger

Published: March 30, 2008

THOMAS WOLFE (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/thomas_clayton_wolfe/index.html?inline=nyt-per) wrote that the late Pennsylvania Station was vast enough to hold the sound of time. More than half a century ago, across town at Grand Central Terminal, a 23-year-old industrial design student named Boris Klapwald did something else with time: He stopped it.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/03/30/nyregion/central450.jpgBoris Yale Klapwald/Brain-Ink
More than half a century ago, a young design student named Boris Klapwald took a series of photographs of the station, capturing the romance of train travel and even the allure of waiting for a train. More Photos » (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/03/29/nyregion/033008Grand_index.html)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/03/29/nyregion/grand190.jpgSlide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/03/29/nyregion/033008Grand_index.html)A Station in Time (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/03/29/nyregion/033008Grand_index.html)

Mr. Klapwald, then a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, would occasionally wander through the station with his twin-lens Rolleiflex. All told, he shot only a few rolls of film. He liked Tri-X 120, big enough to enlarge dramatically, sensitive enough to use without a flash. In that pre-digital era, images were husbanded: He had only 12 exposures per roll, and he did not even use up all the ones he had.

The young student thought he was documenting the great terminal’s eternal rituals, mostly the ritual of waiting. “It was a place of contemplation, really — the exact opposite of what it is today,” he recalled. “In the waiting room, you could sit. The policemen wouldn’t bother you. No one bothered you. I liked the quiet of it. It was like a cathedral. You didn’t have to pray; you could reflect on yourself.”

In fact, what he documented was not just timeless but time-bound. His images captured an era when names like New York Central and New Haven Railroad were still emblazoned on the walls; when soldiers and sailors returned from war aboard trains; when women wore hats and nylons with seams; when smoking was so commonplace, and so tolerated, that cigarette butts littered the floor; when a person could leave suitcases unattended without thieves or bomb squads descending upon them; when, come to think of it, one still took suitcases to Grand Central, which was still a hub for long-distance trains rather than a pit stop for suburbanites; when there still was a waiting room.

Although Mr. Klapwald developed his pictures and made contact sheets, he never even printed them. “I had no thought in mind of pictures that were going to become iconic or that someone else would look at and say ‘Wow!’ ” Mr. Klapwald, a modest and soft-spoken man of 77, remarked the other day as the clatter of dishes bounced off the vaulted ceilings of the Oyster Bar, in the bowels of the terminal.

For more than five decades — until his daughter, Thea, unearthed them and took them to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/m/metropolitan_transportation_authority/index.html?inline=nyt-org) — the photographs sat in boxes in Mr. Klapwald’s basement in White Plains. But for much of the past year, his images have been displayed on both sides of the food court on Grand Central’s lower level, and they are both powerful and poignant.

In the keynote picture, featured on the poster that introduces the show, two sailors, the collars of their pea coats turned up, huddle with a young woman on the western balcony, contemplating an impending departure, perhaps, or adjusting to a recent arrival. Beyond the vast concourse is the old Kodak sign, which came down years ago; in between are those mighty shafts of sunlight that appear in all the classic photographs of Grand Central. They, too, are gone: the building across East 42nd Street, erected several years ago by the company formerly known as Philip Morris, stands in the way of the light.

In another picture, a mother reads to her young son as her daughter lies perpendicular to them on the bench. You might think they are homeless, until you look at their shoes. On another bench sit four black children; one is reading a Woody Woodpecker comic. Behind them, in chalk, is a train schedule, like a tote board at a racetrack.

An ungainly young man with white socks, a refugee from a Diane Arbus (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/diane_arbus/index.html?inline=nyt-per) photograph, sits on a cheap striped suitcase. A boy in shorts leans over a banister. (The picture is the victim of some 21st-century, politically correct cropping: Apparently concerned about suggestions of pedophilia, the transportation authority cut out the figure of a man who stood nearby.)

On the other side of the dining concourse, past Junior’s Cheesecake and a juice bar, are more photos. In one, soldiers sit on duffel bags. Farther down, a world-weary young woman, arms folded, stares blankly from one side of a bench while an upright-looking priest, wearing black from his homburg to his shoes except for the bright white of his clerical collar, reads his missal on the other. Physically, cognitively, they are as distant as two occupants of a single bench can be: Edward Hopper (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/edward_hopper/index.html?inline=nyt-per) meets Grant Wood.

“This is my favorite of all,” Mr. Klapwald says. “What’s she thinking about? ‘Should I leave him? Should I go back?’ ”

Mr. Klapwald surely captured a moment in time, but exactly when? He never wrote down a date, and his guesses are tentative, even contradictory. He’d always thought he’d taken the pictures in a single day, but that can’t be: While most of the people wear overcoats, some are in shirt sleeves.

The year? Around the end of the Korean War, he thinks, which would place them in 1953. One might know for sure if the now-defunct newspaper — The World-Telegram and Sun? The Journal-American? — that a toothless man reads in one picture were not just a trifle too out of focus.

THE time of day? The heavenly beams streaming through the grand windows on the station’s southern facade say it’s late afternoon, though in some other pictures the space is dark, and the clocks in still others read anywhere from 6:30 to 7:50.

The project architect for Grand Central’s restoration, Frank J. Prial Jr. of Beyer Blinder Belle, theorizes that Mr. Klapwald visited at least twice, at different times of day, several months apart. The day of the week seems clearer: The sheer emptiness of the place, the absence of hurried, harried commuters, suggests weekends.

Mr. Klapwald, who runs his own interior design business, still travels to Grand Central regularly. Next Saturday he is scheduled to give a tour of the exhibit, which will remain at least until June, under the auspices of the New York Transit Museum. He sometimes checks out his pictures, and whenever he does, he discerns not just a bygone era, but his own, younger self.

And what does he see?

“He was lonely,” he said. “Maybe not lonely, but a loner. He was interested in people, and the things that people were not doing as much as what they were doing. He’s interested in structure and design and detail. He was sensitive.”

David Margolick, a contributing editor at Condé Nast Portfolio, is writing a book about Sid Caesar and “Your Show of Shows.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times.

October 6th, 2008, 06:22 PM
October 6, 2008, 3:18 pm

A $240,400 Traffic Jam at Grand Central

By David W. Dunlap (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/author/ddunlap/)

A Maserati GranTurismo on display at Grand Central Terminal, promoting a raffle for the scholarship fund of the Columbus Citizens Foundation. (Photo: David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)

Metro-North travelers find themselves battling two more obstacles on their way into the city this week. But they are two of the slickest obstacles ever thrown in a commuter’s path: a $125,750 gunmetal gray Maserati Quattroporte (doesn’t that simply mean four-door?) and a $114,650 cherry red Maserati GranTurismo. Perfect for the recession.

It has been 20 years since the Metropolitan Transportation Authority allowed the floor of the terminal’s grand concourse to be occupied permanently by corporate interests. The last freestanding kiosk on the floor was a Merrill Lynch brokerage booth, so it would have been gone by now anyway.

In recent years, however, automobiles have occasionally been allowed to spend a few days in what must be the world’s most glorious garage. The current display highlights a $1,000-a-ticket raffle to benefit the scholarship fund of the Columbus Citizens Foundation (http://www.columbusraffle.com/). The first prize is a Quattroporte.

“We are very protective of the main hall at Grand Central Terminal, because it is both a historic space and a thoroughfare for our customers,” said Aaron Donovan, deputy press secretary of the transportation authority. “On rare occasions, we do set up displays, but this charity benefit has not proven to be a significant obstacle to pedestrian flow.”

In fairness, we should note that the transportation authority has distinguished itself in recent weeks with creative new antiflood sidewalk grates in Lower Manhattan and Jamaica, Queens. So the agency is clearly sensitive to the aesthetics of public space.

But none of that changes the fact that — for the moment — Grand Central feels a less like a train station and more like a high-end car dealership.


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

November 17th, 2009, 04:39 AM
Commuters Overlooking Free Treasure



I might not have appreciated the marvel of the Grand Central Terminal water fountain if it hadn’t been for the notebook.

I had run into Posman Books after getting off my train and finding myself without a notebook, and grabbed what Moleskine, the high-end paper packager, calls a reporter’s notebook. I’m a reporter; it spoke to me. Until I got to the counter and learned it cost a cool $17.95 plus tax, a sum no reporter I know would shell out for a notebook, even if it came with the story already written in perfect Pulitzer-worthy prose.

I put the notebook back, and felt a flash of frustration. Now I needed a notebook and a drink of water. For most of my adult life, I’ve either commuted through Grand Central or lived within five blocks of it, but I didn’t know of a water fountain in the place.

I was on the brink of buying a bottle of water along with my not-quite-as-overpriced notebook at Rite-Aid, but balked. It’s not just that bottled water is a waste of money and plastic; I also never need as much as a bottle carries, so it would either go to waste or I’d lug it around all day, with a lot of overpriced liquid weighing down my bag.

Maybe the saleswoman knew where a water fountain might be. She didn’t, but asked someone. There was one right by the Chase A.T.M.’s.

There, just a 30-second walk from the saleswoman, who surely must occasionally feel thirst, was the perfect water fountain. The spout juts out from the cool, beige Botticino marble wall of Grand Central, a handsome basin below it, a marble relief of some natural harvest above. Water was arcing above the spout, so high that I felt reassured no thirsty germy toddler had mouthed the metal at the base. A fluid piece of accessible history, that fountain, I later learned, has conveniently been spouting water almost continually since the terminal opened in 1913.

I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed this small wonder. Just across the way from a store where someone was charging $20 for a few hundred sheets of paper, the water fountain was proffering its goods free. Here it was, the ideal nourishment — nonfat, ice-cold, high-fructose-corn-syrup-free.

If it’s good and it’s free in New York, you usually have to get there pretty early to get it. But at Grand Central Terminal, which 700,000 people hustle through every single day, there was not even so much as a line for the water. I took a drink, stood back, admired the carvings of oak leaves and acorns — a Vanderbilt family symbol — and drank some more. Then I looked up. A police officer was looking at me as if I’d just lapped up some water on one of the tracks.

So it’s free, it’s cold, it’s pretty, it’s a Proustian trip back to splashy childhood satiations — is it safe?

A phone call to Metro-North revealed that the terminal’s two water fountains are cleaned daily between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., and that a test last year confirmed the water was at least lead-free. A quick Google search of the medical literature on water fountains suggested that the real risk of germ contamination lies in the fountain handle. Given how few people use that water fountain — seven in the course of an hour I spent watching it during the Monday morning rush — chances are it’s a lot safer than the average subway pole.

Of the seven people who used the fountain, only one was a woman. Maybe it’s the lipstick, or that women are more conscientious about hygiene, or think there’s something decidedly unchic about drinking from a public fountain. I like to think that just as the humble canvas tote has been transformed into a fashion and political statement — “I’m hip, therefore I recycle” — one day there will be a certain cachet in stopping to join a line in front of a public water fountain.

Standing in such a line will signify: I eschew the landfill’s friend, the plastic water bottle. I resist the mass marketing of sugary coffees and teas and juices. At a minimum, it will signify what I wanted to say to the cop who was looking at me as if I’d just done something indecent in public: So sue me, I’m thirsty.

Next time you pass through Grand Central, feast your eyes and drink freely of what’s free. And if you’ve got some hand sanitizer with you, that probably wouldn’t hurt.


November 27th, 2009, 01:11 AM
The Grand Central Depot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Central_Terminal), which preceded today's Grand Central Terminal building, opened in 1871 on the same site along East 42nd Street.

The PBS series American Experience has an hour show on the history; it can be viewed online: Grand Central (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/grandcentral/program/)

The Depot under construction, as seen looking north from East 42nd Street along Vanderbilt Avenue (named for Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, the head of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, the New York and Harlem Railroad, and the New York and New Haven Railroad), circa 1869:


The GC Depot fronting onto 42nd Street, circa 1871:


The Depot from the south with the open tracks dug down into Fourth Avenue (later Park Avenue South):


The train shed was a huge arc of iron and glass and ran from 42nd to 45th Street:




The north end of the Depot faced a swath of open tracks at surface level (later the area was excavated, the tracks were sunken and covered over, eventually becoming Park Avenue):


Looking east along 42nd towards the Depot from just west of Vanderbilt Avenue, circa 1885:


From the west side of Madison Avenue looking east, with the Church of the Holy Trinity at center (seen above at left) by Leopold Eidlitz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_Eidlitz) (1871), circa 1873:


Leopold Eidlitz designed a number of grand NYC buildings including St George's Episcopal Church on Stuyvesant Square (1846-49), the Tweed Courthouse near City Hall and the Dry Dock Savings Bank on the Bowery (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=305058&postcount=48).

More views of the Church of the Holy Trinity (http://murrayhill.gc.cuny.edu/42ndp/), circa 1890:



Looking west toward the Depot with the terminus of the elevated train just to the east on 42nd Street, circa 1889:


The northern end of the GC Depot along Vanderbilt Avenue, circa 1889:


42nd and Fourth Avenue, circa 1893:


In 1899 the entire facade of the Depot was rebuilt, expanding it from 3- to 6-stories.

A cutaway of the Depot showing the plan for new subway tracks beneath, circa 1901:


Following a deadly train accident (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/14/realestate/streetscapes-park-avenue-how-a-deadly-train-accident-created-an-elite-street.html) that killed 15 passengers in 1902 (the engineer was tried but acquitted, but met an untimely death (http://www3.gendisasters.com/new-york/7273/new-york-ny-train-engineer-drowns-aug-1909) 7 years later) it was determined that steam engines would no longer be allowed to enter Manhattan and the RR was forced to re-think and re-build Grand Central station to accommodate electric trains.

The Depot was razed in 1903:


This made way for the Grand Central Terminal building we know today ...

November 27th, 2009, 01:30 AM
The original plan for the Grand Central Terminal building was by the architectural firm Reed & Stem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reed_and_Stem), based upon the engineering of William J. Wilgus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Wilgus), chief engineer for construction and maintenance of way (track) and later the vice-president in charge of construction.

Their 1902 plan was for a large building above the main terminal:


It included the initial plan for what later became Terminal City:



In 1907 there was another terrible & deadly accident, this time involving a new electric train. Wilgus was forced out and architects Warren & Wetmore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_and_Wetmore) were brought onto the project. Essentially the track & circulation lay-out devised by Wilgus was kept, but the exterior was completely revised.

An early plan:



The final plan with provision for building above (http://www.thecityreview.com/byard.html) the GCT at a later date:


November 27th, 2009, 01:54 AM
Wow. The "early plan" for Grand Central was an even more dressed up (and IMO even better) version of the one we ultimately got, which is saying a lot since the existing one is still a treasure. Would have loved to see that one became reality.

Look at the oodles of fine and elegant detail on every square inch of surface. The people back then had artistic skills.

The hacks we have today that we have re-doing the whole entire city (Kaufman, Kondylis, et al) don't have the skills to even shine the shoes of those guys back then.


Sadly, I have a feeling this building wouldn't have made it past the 1960's. They would have either felled it and put up the Metlife building or re-skinned it in shiny glass ala the Commodore hotel or HBO building.


November 27th, 2009, 01:57 AM
The final design for the new Grand Central Terminal, from a 1907 plan from Warren & Wetmore in conjunction with Reed & Stem ...


The plan for the new Grand Central Terminal and Terminal City (with the Biltmore Hotel to the left):



The plan for the Biltmore Hotel, situated to the west of the new Terminal at Vanderbilt Avenue and East 44th, by Warren & Wetmore (1913):


The subterranean double-level track lay-out to the north of the Concourse and showing the plan for the new Park Avenue ...


Park Avenue, with tracks covered north of the Terminal;


The Terminal seen from the south, showing the Commodore Hotel just to the east at 109 East 42nd (now re-clad in glass and operating as the Grand Hyatt), circa 1919:



The Terminal with the newly-built New York Central Building tower at the north end (now the Helmsley Building (http://www.thecityreview.com/helmsley.html)), circa 1930:


The Concourse, circa 1913:


Grand Central Terminal:


November 27th, 2009, 04:01 PM
^Great posts. I'm a very big fan of these stories on the development process and never-built projects of the classic New York era.

Here is McKim, Meade & White's Grand Central Proposal (which lost to Warren & Wetmore):

Fortunately for all of us, what was built was on a similar level of greatness and remains an electrifying public space.

November 29th, 2009, 08:49 PM
Gorgeous ^ . If others find images of the proposals for GCT please post them here.

Another shot showing Fourth Avenue (later park Avenue) north of the Depot, circa 1874 (after the tracks where beamed over, but still open to the sky above) ...


August 20th, 2010, 05:54 AM
Covering Its Tracks Paid Off Handsomely


There are still remnants of what was conceived as Terminal City, a unified matrix of development on the new real estate
created when the tracks surrounding Grand Central Station were covered. The view north on Park Avenue in 1930.

The 26-story Hotel Biltmore, at 44th Street and Madison Avenue,
seen here in 1914, was set back along Vanderbilt Avenue so as not to crowd the terminal.

The Vanderbilt Avenue side of the Hotel Biltmore, photographed in 1914,
featured a broad terrace.

An enormous twelve-section apartment house at 277 Park Avenue was organized around a central court and 432 apartments.
But the open space in the middle, though grand in size, was lifeless.

Looking south from 50th Street during the construction of Grand Central and the railroad yard in August 1909.

The Commodore Hotel at 42nd Street as seen in 1960. The smokestack
seen at the upper left in this photograph survives.

http://www.nytimes.com/adx/bin/clientside/185eb3ecQ2Fl.Q7DglQ7C2Gp9Q2FpQ60Q24u%28Q7CfyWWyy4y Q2FGphttp://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/08/19/realestate/20100822scapes2/20100822scapes2-custom5.jpg
The Park Lane, an apartment-hotel that opened in the mid-1920s,
featured a central dining room with tapestries and a coffered ceiling.

Looking south from 50th Street during the construction of Grand Central and the railroad yard in August 1909.

The smokestack visible above what is now the Grand Hyatt New York Hotel at 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue is a remnant of the
old Terminal City development surrounding Grand Central.

IT’S a common hobby, searching for surviving pieces of the 1910 Pennsylvania Station, like ironwork, brass handrails and other fragments, amidst its vulgar replacement of the 1960s.

With Grand Central Terminal, opened in 1913, no such quest is necessary, but there is a network of fragments of what was conceived as Terminal City, a unified matrix of development atop the new real estate created when the tracks and railroad yards were covered. Much of Terminal City has fallen, although there is still enough left for the dedicated urban archaeologist.

In 1902, William J. Wilgus, an engineer for the New York Central Railroad, came up with the concept of roofing over the yards around Grand Central and building hotels, offices and apartment houses. Among the earliest concepts were a 20-story tower over the terminal itself, and an adjacent hotel, later erected as the Biltmore, from Vanderbilt to Madison Avenue, between 43rd and 44th Streets. In 1910, The New York Times published a design for a ceremonial Park Avenue showing tall, income-producing office buildings, but also new structures for the National Academy of Design and the Metropolitan Opera, their cultured imprimatur blunting the nakedness of the railroad’s commercial quest.

In the next 20 years, Mr. Wilgus’s plan remade the dozen or so blocks north of the terminal. The Biltmore was the best known, 26 stories high but set back along Vanderbilt Avenue to give the terminal breathing room. With no stores on Madison Avenue, a main dining room 120 feet long and a terrace on Vanderbilt, it was a particularly debonair work. Inside, the Palm Court had a timepiece on a wooden screen; “under the clock at the Biltmore” became a legendary meeting place.

Vanderbilt filled up with structures like the high-rise Yale Club, at 44th and Vanderbilt, and the Roosevelt Hotel, from 45th to 46th. Along Lexington, buildings included the giant Commodore Hotel at 42nd and the streamlined Graybar Building at 44th.

But it was the width of Park Avenue that offered the canvas for a much grander design, something really worthy of the name Terminal City. There were a few commercial buildings, like the New York Central Building, with its signature tower, spanning Park at 46th; and the crisp, cool Postum Building at 250 Park from 46th to 47th.

Office construction here was premature, though — the newly developed apartment house was in demand, as the well-to-do began to abandon town houses and pare their servant rosters.

Just north of the Postum Building rose 270 Park Avenue, with 3,000 rooms and, according to the magazine Buildings and Building Management in 1920, 100 millionaires. Its arcaded central courtyard, with triumphal arches, struck a particularly civilized note.

Directly opposite rose 277 Park Avenue, a colossal 12-section apartment house organized around a central court and 432 apartments.

The Hotel Chatham went up at 280 Park, from 48th to 49th, with a delicious terra cotta frosting along the top stories. Opposite, at 299 Park, the discreet Park Lane opened in the mid-1920s, an apartment hotel whose central dining room had tapestries and a coffered ceiling. In 1924 Arts & Decoration magazine referred to these as “the new apartment buildings which now constitute the social background of New York.”

They were, it is true, enclaves of the rich and well born, with names like Aldrich, Betts, Dodge and Rutherfurd. But there were also those whose families and fortunes were newer, like the developer Charles Paterno, the actor Rudolph Valentino and Frederick T. Ley, who started work in construction at age 15 but later was the contractor for the Chrysler Building.. The development of the residential section of Terminal City continued up to 50th Street, and was matched by construction farther north.

Terminal City began to dissolve after World War II, when commerce swept the avenue almost clean of residential buildings. The construction along Lexington has survived, except for the old Commodore at 42nd Street, refaced around 1980 for a new Hyatt. But its original gritty black smokestack still juts up from its back corner.

On Vanderbilt Avenue, the Biltmore was gutted and refaced with red granite in the 1980s to create the present, hulking office tower at 335 Madison. Here the legacy of Terminal City strikes a few poignant notes. Along 44th, the sleek, modern facade is interrupted by a taxicab ramp, descending to the concourse level of the station. The connection is now walled up, and the area is only a garage, but it is still roofed with the Guastavino tile seen elsewhere in the station.

The Biltmore’s sleek interior carries only one trace of the grand design of Terminal City.

Above the security desk is a vintage timepiece — the fabled clock. On a recent weekday there were two guards on duty. Asked if anyone still came to meet there, one first said no, but then thought and said, “Well, two people meet here every morning,” pointing to the other guard on duty and saying, “She and I do.”


August 30th, 2010, 05:14 PM
Thread deserves a bump.

Larger=williamderby (http://www.flickr.com/photos/williamderby/4933025979/sizes/l/in/pool-35034350743@N01/)

August 31st, 2010, 04:22 PM
Pint at Annie Moores anyone?

September 1st, 2010, 01:28 PM
Any reason why this shouldn't be built (even stretched upward)?


September 1st, 2010, 06:04 PM
Who wants to build that design? Or pay for it?

Besides, you'd have to tear down the Met Life Tower for this to go up.

September 1st, 2010, 09:33 PM
The MTA could team up with a developer as a profit making venture (and the MTA could use some profit right about now).

No tearing down the Pan Am building necessary. However, whoever owns it would not be happy, as a lot of southern view would be cut off. I don't know if an easment against this was included in the contracts to build the Pan Am building.

Go to the googlemap image below:


The design of the office building has it over the southernmost part of the station (basically over the main public areas). The Pan Am building is further north. It would fit, tightly, but it would.

September 2nd, 2010, 08:54 AM
Seriously, what has changed in these pictures?

September 2nd, 2010, 09:18 AM
The design of the office building has it over the southernmost part of the station (basically over the main public areas). The Pan Am building is further north. It would fit, tightly, but it would.How does support for the tower get to ground?

September 2nd, 2010, 10:56 AM
The station was designed to have this built on top at some point in the future. The support is already there. That's why it would work.

September 2nd, 2010, 11:09 AM
The design you refer to was further north. You've proposed to pull it forward to the southern end.

How are you so sure the "support is already there?"

September 2nd, 2010, 11:25 AM
If you look at this Google Map street view (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Park+Avenue,+New+York,+NY&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=49.844639,76.201172&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Park+Ave,+New+York&t=k&ll=40.753418,-73.977653&spn=0.002877,0.004066&z=18&layer=c&cbll=40.753108,-73.977877&panoid=Nb6CN2XYGLvx-D5tHXbxbw&cbp=12,79.13,,0,-27.53) you can see that the stretch along the base of the Met Life building on Vanderbilt corresponds with the colonnaded base of the early proposal posted above. Seems the perspective is playing tricks, giving the appearance that the old proposal might rise over the main GCT space, when in fact it seems that the old proposal was for the Met Life Tower site.



September 2nd, 2010, 11:28 AM
Substantial piers (possibly containing hefty steel) flank both long sides of the main space.

September 2nd, 2010, 01:03 PM

Look at all three (the rendering, the street view, and the overhead).

On the rendering, note that the front facade of the office structure starts where the western facade of the existing station building bumps out from the line established where that facade joins the southern facade. Now look at tha overhead. This bumpout starts maybe 20-25 yards from the edge of the south facade. You can also see the edge of this bumpout on the streetview.

Looking at the rendering, I would guess the office structure was designed to run north from the start of the bumpout, to the end of the main terminal building where the mansard roof ends.

Also looking at the rendering, there was another collonade running along a lower roof section of the terminal, behind the main terminal building. This is what was replaced by the Pan Am building.

September 2nd, 2010, 07:59 PM
The question is about the Met Life building ....

The entire colonnaded northern end of the base -- the "upper" portion as seen in both images from different perspectives -- runs up to 45th Street. A map view (http://maps.google.com/maps?expIds=17259,25221,25618,25900,25907&sugexp=ldymls&pq=helmsley+building+park+avenue&tok=X3Lgew1_IldPR8VgfOxd8A&xhr=t&q=230+park+avenue+new+york+ny&cp=16&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=230+Park+Ave,+New+York,+NY+10017&gl=us&ei=CjeATJr4CpDWtQOHxPR3&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBQQ8gEwAA) shows that particular portion is 2/3 of the GCT structure, running two blocks long between 43rd <> 45th. That area between 43rd <> Vanderbilt <> 45th <> Park Avenue is nearly square in shape. Counting the columns across the front of the Beaux Arts design I find ~ 20 columns and a similar number (if not more) running to the north. This is clearly a deep building, a good portion of which is situated to the north (or behind, in the drawing) of the more massively columned GCT that we know today.

I don't see any way that it doesn't take up the entire space where the Met Life building now stands.

We clearly need a referee.

Or a Poll.

September 2nd, 2010, 09:30 PM
Did you happen to walk around the area when the street was blocked off?

September 3rd, 2010, 12:45 AM
ON the Saturdays when Park Avenue was closed? No, I didn't.

September 3rd, 2010, 01:14 AM
It was interesting as you could see how close the buildings are together.

October 26th, 2010, 07:49 AM
New Pedestrian Plaza Planned for Grand Central's Doorstep

Community Board 5 will be holding a forum to discuss plans for the new plaza Monday night at 6 p.m.

By Jill Colvin

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_10_R1855_New_Pedestrian_plaza_p anned_for_Grand_Central.JPG
The Department of Transportation will be holding a forum Monday evening to discuss proposals for the space.

CITY HALL — The southern entrance of Grand Central Terminal will soon be a bit more pedestrian friendly.

The Department of Transportation will hold a forum Monday nighy with Community Board 5 to discuss plans for the new Pershing Square pedestrian plaza (http://www.grandcentralpartnership.org/what_we_do/beautify_pershing_square.asp), which would permanently bar vehicle traffic from the southbound lanes of Park Avenue between East 41st and East 42nd streets — just south of Grand Central.

The Grand Central Partnership has been using the stretch as a temporary plaza outside of Pershing Square Café during the summer months.

The location was selected as a winner of the "NYC Plaza Program (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/sidewalks/publicplaza_round1.shtml)" in 2009, which is aimed at making better use of public space.

The Grand Central Partnership describes its vision for the permanent park as "an urban oasis in the heart of midtown."

They envision a thriving plaza, filled with trees, café tables and chairs.

"Once completed, the project will transform the site into a permanent year-round plaza for the benefit of visitors, commuters, and residents of the Grand Central neighborhood," the project description reads.

Dave Roskin, a partnerships spokesman, said that the area is in serious need of public space since there are no parks or seating areas nearby.

"I think it will be a focal point for the neighborhood," Roskin said.

So far, neither the city nor the partnership have come up with any concrete plans about what exactly the space will look like.

An engineering firm and landscape architect were selected by the city in August, but they have been waiting for the public's input before moving forward with a design, Roskin said.

"Before pens are placed to paper, we want to reach out," he said.

Nonetheless, those who work nearby seemed excited to hear that a plan is in the works.

"That would be a welcome change," said Christopher Caoili, 46, who has worked at a tourist information desk across the street from the proposed plaza for the past two years.

Michael Laytin, 28, who lives in the East Village and works nearby, agreed.

"There's not much traffic anyway," he said.

Monday's meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Bartholomew's Church at 109 E. 50th St.

The Transportation Department hopes to have a final design by the end of August 2011 and expects to complete construction by March 2014.


October 26th, 2010, 07:23 PM
One thing that would help this would be a total redesign of the Altria Group building's base. Saying there is no public seating is misleading because there is a "public" space on the ground floor of the building. This would be much better used as some kind of retail/restaurant once the plaza is in place.

November 19th, 2010, 10:43 AM
The Terminal City Plan, seen in a rendering from 1920 (http://www.archive.org/stream/valentinescityof00browa#page/272/mode/2up).

November 24th, 2010, 04:49 AM
A Tennis Court That Will Cost $210 an Hour

Practice Lobs in Grand Central Terminal


Only in Manhattan, where indoor tennis courts are rarer than personal garages, would anyone sign up a year in advance for an hour of tennis. And only on this space-strapped island would they pay as much as $210 an hour for the privilege.

Tennis players with thick wallets and ample foresight have already begun reserving hours at the new tennis facility that's being built in Grand Central Terminal in a space that used to house a CBS recording studio where "What's My Line?" and Edward R. Murrow's "See It Now" were filmed.


The price—depending on the time of day, between $100 and $210 an hour—will likely be the highest in the city for an indoor court, according to Anthony Scolnick who is leasing it from Metro-North Railroad. He predicts hedge fund executives, real estate professionals and others will be willing to pay that price when the Vanderbilt Tennis Club opens in September.

Given Grand Central's location and the popularity of the sport with the city's upper crust, he will likely get his wish. Many once played in courts in the train terminal that used to be operated by Donald Trump. Those were closed in 2009 to make way for a conductor lounge.

Since then, well-heeled tennis players have settled for locations that didn't allow them to catch the train to Scarsdale just minutes after beating their partner in a match. "I'm very happy to have it back," says Jonathan Mechanic, one such tennis player and the chairman of law firm Fried Frank's real estate department who used to play ball on Friday mornings.

Indoor tennis in space-crunched Manhattan has never been for the middle class.

Aside from a seasonal tennis bubble a Parks Department concessionaire erects under the Queensboro Bridge, there are no public indoor courts on the island and the private ones are pricey. The Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, for example charges $110 to $165 per hour for the court there. The same amount of time costs $115 an hour for non-members at the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club.

Players looking for something more affordable and willing to play during off-peak times can play for $75 an hour at the Midtown Tennis Club on Eighth Avenue. Or they can bite the bullet and join a club: Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club has an annual membership fee of $1675, which includes an initiation fee of $300. Once a member, players pay between $45 and $76 an hour for a court.

"We wanted to maintain a sports presence in Grand Central Terminal," says Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North. "Personally, I think racquet ball or squash would have made more sense. But the people who came up with the money wanted a tennis court, so that's what we'll have."

The opening of the court will represent the latest stage in the space's long and peculiar history. Originally an art gallery, and then a CBS recording studio, it was taken over in 1966 by a Hungarian immigrant who installed a 65-foot ski slope made of astroturf and two tennis courts.

In 1984, Mr. Trump took over operation of the sports club, then just tennis courts, and ran it, in his words, "with great success."

The players "were wonderful people," recalls Mr. Trump, who paid $90,000 a year in rent. "Seymour Durst of the Durst family was there. And lots of celebrities were there. A lot of the tennis pros would play there, because it was convenient, it was in Midtown."

"Seymour and I would play there Tuesday night at 8," confirms Douglas Durst, Seymour's son and chairman of the Durst Organization, via email.

While business executives volleyed tennis balls, Metro-North began eying the space for its conductors, who were forced to spend their federally mandated rest time in cramped, cockroach-ridden locker rooms in the bowels of Grand Central.

"The space that they're in is funky," says Ms. Anders. "And with the sewer pipes, the stench sometimes is overwhelming."

After the latest recession hit, the railroad scored $18 million in federal stimulus funds to build out a new conductor lounge on the terminal's third floor. And so the railroad sent the tennis players packing. Mr. Trump's lease was terminated on May 31, 2009.

A new conductor lounge was planned but there was sufficient space left over in the cavernous Terminal. Metro-North issued a request for proposals for a sports facility to be developed on a new fourth and fifth floors. Mr. Trump says the new space, with room for just one court and two practice alleys, was too small to concern him.

The bidding was won by Mr. Scolnick, the owner of Yorkville Tennis Club and Sutton East Tennis, both on the Upper East Side. He is a former athletic director at Hunter College.

He will pay a starting rent of $225,000 a year to Metro-North.

The court will be naturally lit by the terminal's recently uncovered Palladian windows and have views of Park Avenue South. "We're looking for the same crowd Mr. Trump had, but we're also emphasizing the instructional aspect of the game," Mr. Scolnick says.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703559504575631013495344680.html?m od=rss_newyork_main

February 22nd, 2011, 01:00 PM
"The Department of Transportation will hold a forum Monday nighy with Community Board 5 to discuss plans for the new Pershing Square pedestrian plaza (http://www.grandcentralpartnership.org/what_we_do/beautify_pershing_square.asp), which would permanently bar vehicle traffic from the southbound lanes of Park Avenue between East 41st and East 42nd streets — just south of Grand Central."
If they closed the northbound lanes it would cause problems for people taking Park Ave to drop people off at GCT. Also there's a bus company that operates an airport shuttle from park between 41 and 42. As for the Southbound lanes, they've had pedestrian promotions there on and off, and I can't say that they've seemed to be too popular

February 22nd, 2011, 10:46 PM
I'm surprised this wasn't posted already:

Apple Has Targeted Manhattan For Fifth Store

February 8, 2011

While speculation on Apple’s next New York City store has focused strictly on Brooklyn, the company’s retail team has been scouting for a fifth store in Manhattan that will open later this year, before any new stores in the outer boroughs. The New York Observer reports—and IFO can confirm—that Apple is evaluating the retail space within the Grand Central Terminal (GCT) at Park Avenue and East 42nd Street, less than a mile south of the existing Fifth Avenue store. The location was chosen to draw a massive number of visitors away from the Fifth Avenue store, which is crowded with shoppers, tourists and ne’er-do-wells each of the 24 hours the store is open. Despite the expanse of the ground-level plaza and the soaring glass entrance, Fifth Avenue is the smallest store in Manhattan. And despite its small size, it sells more products than the other three Manhattan stores combined. That track record has made creating a nearby store a priority, higher than providing new stores to New York City’s other four boroughs. Update: A Cult of Mac story says Apple intends this store to be the chain’s largest, although retail space within the Terminal is limited.Grand Central Terminal opened in 1871 and features two underground levels of train tracks. At one time the train station was the largest in the world by number of tracks in service. The building has been renovated several times, in 1994 to add and reconfigure existing retail spaces, and in 2000 to upgrade the building and modernize some features.

Today, the terminal hosts 700,000 visitors a day, most hurrying to trains and the city’s busiest subway stop. But another 250,000 visitors a day pass through the expansive Vanderbilt Hall, the station’s original waiting room that is now rented out for special events.

The 134,000 square-feet of retail space includes 68 shops and 35 restaurants, some on the main concourse level surrounding Vanderbilt Hall, and others on the balcony level just below. Current major tenants include Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole and a Michael Jordan Steakhouse in about 6,000 square-feet of space each, and many other tenants in less than 1,000 square-feet. The historic Oyster Bar restaurant in on the lower level, along with a fresh food market.

Leasing of the retail space within GCT has been controversial, both for the process and the retailers who have been selected. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) issues a request for proposals (RFP), and interested companies then respond with a description of their retail operation and the amount they’re willing to pay per square-foot. The MTA reportedly has control over restaurant menus, the retail design and architecture, the lighting, minimum store hours and other details. The agency encourages retailers to sign 10-year leases.

According to reports in 2008, the MTA requires proposers to offer rents of about $300 per square-foot annually, with a three percent annual rent increase. At that time, tenants whose sales top a specified amount were also required to pay eight percent of their gross sales.

Apple previously considered a retail space on West 34th Street opposite the Empire State Building, and renderings of the possible store appeared on the Web. But the company later backed away from the project, apparently because the neighborhood was not upscale enough.

Download (pdf) the leasing plan and a brochure about the retail spaces. Also download a RFP for a vacant GCT restaurant space, as an example of the lease conditions that the agency imposes on retailers.


September 9th, 2011, 08:03 AM
Just watching Grand Central documentary on TV now:



November 23rd, 2011, 09:37 PM
November 23, 2011

Grand Central Apple Store temporary frontage revealed

By Seth Weintraub

Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wpM7vLWJ5Uc)





The wraps are coming off of the Grand Central Apple store frontage to reveal a ticker sign according to our morning commuter tipster. The screens move like flipping letters of the old Grand Central timetables. The design is reminiscent of Apple’s Green Monster Facade at the Boston Store.

A construction worker on the scene said that the store wasn’t going to be opening any time soon, reiterating a comment from yesterday. Apple had originally hoped to have the store open for the Black Friday shopping rush, but now rumors are floating around of Friday, December 9th.

© Copyright 2011 925 LLC

November 23rd, 2011, 09:41 PM
MTA renderings:


December 8th, 2011, 08:51 AM
Apple Takes Bite of Grand Central

by Tom Stoelker


This morning Apple held a press preview of their new Grand Central store, which is set to open this Friday. The first impression of this glassless emporium, an anomaly for the company, is the respectful handling of the hallowed space. The store fills the space vacated by Metrazur restaurant, which wrapped around the Lexington Avenue side balcony. Apple’s showroom takes up half of the northern balcony as well. For Mac fans, the cleaned lined furnishings will be familiar, as are the various stations spread throughout the 23,000-square-foot space. The Genius Bar is still there, as are the iPad and iPod stations, laptops, accessories, and a professional yet casual staff of more than 300. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson‘s design took sight lines into consideration, as the only real hint that the store is there from the concourse are small strips of table lighting, and, of course, the company’s ubiquitous apple which hangs from a grand arch centered on the balcony. It could be argued that logo competes a bit the the world famous clock at the center of the terminal. But otherwise, the interventions appear considerate and reversible.


http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8541-150x150.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8541.jpg) http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8550-150x150.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8550.jpg) http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8552-150x150.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8552.jpg)

http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8565-150x150.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8565.jpg) http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8576-150x150.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8576.jpg) http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8589-150x150.jpg (http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IMG_8589.jpg)
(click to enlarge)


December 8th, 2011, 11:49 AM
TWO illuminated apples. That sucks. They should not have been allowed to even have ONE illuminated apple, let alone two. ONE non intrusive, small, shiny, metal apple would have been more respectful of this grand public space. Are they embedded into the staircase wall, or are they suspended from supports?

December 8th, 2011, 11:56 AM

The whole Apple-GCT agreement is being investigated. Good. The deal they received wasn't satisfactory on my opinion for that type of positioning.

December 11th, 2011, 08:05 PM
The whole thing sucks. That balcony used to be a nice place to sit and take in the space while dining at a Metrazur, a lovely restaurant with very nice food. Now, it's another place to by useless crap made from abused child labor. The stupid lights are just the cherry on top of the sh_t sundae.

December 11th, 2011, 10:31 PM
The whole thing sucks. That balcony used to be a nice place to sit and take in the space while dining at a Metrazur, a lovely restaurant with very nice food. Now, it's another place to by useless crap made from abused child labor. The stupid lights are just the cherry on top of the sh_t sundae.

Indeed. They shouldn't be there at all; there are plenty of other places to purchase Apple products. I hope they get kicked out.

December 11th, 2011, 11:04 PM
Well get used to it, Apple is there to stay. I couldn't care less that Apple moved in, good for them. Never been to Metrazur before, never planned on it either. You can always go to the Michael Jordan Steakhouse

December 11th, 2011, 11:39 PM
It is much better now that far more people get to experience the balconies, rather than restricting the area to dining. The Apple store is far less intrusive than any other retailer could be, and the sheer profit that will come from this store will be excellent for grand central terminal as a whole. There is still plenty of dining in the lower section of GCT and in the nearby area.

That misleading NYPost article is not about "kicking out apple", its about greedy government agencies trying to re neg on their agreements in order to extract more money from apple. The MTA already quadrupled the rent, now the state wants profit sharing in addition.

December 12th, 2011, 10:59 AM
$60 / sq ft seems awfully low for premium space like that. I would think the rent would be at 50-100% higher, depsite the buy-out ane renovations.

December 12th, 2011, 11:49 AM
$60 / sq ft seems awfully low for premium space like that. I would think the rent would be at 50-100% higher, depsite the buy-out ane renovations.

Thanks. This is what I was getting at. You can't stress how premium this location is.

December 30th, 2011, 07:46 AM
The illuminated Apple logos in the stairwells are not embedded in the stone of GCT. They're part of a glass panel that stands right in front of the stone. I was in a hurry but snapped a pic the other day (on my iPhone) .

My wife was no fan of the changes but to my mind, they seem minor and respectful, especially compared to the big Metrazur sign and out-of-place trees that used to be there (http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/2b/48/ee/new-york-city.jpg).

Of course, GCT has endured worse intrusions (http://nyc-architecture.com/MID/Grand_Central(3).jpg), in its history.

January 3rd, 2013, 11:41 PM
Mercedes Cuvi design = just plain silly

The station, in spite of its banal Beaux Arts architecture is extraordinary because of its circulation.

^ :confused:

Architects Get Creative With Drawings for Grand Central

by Sara Polsky

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/cuviGCT-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/cuviGCT.jpg)

There's less than a month until the official centennial of [B]Grand Central Terminal—the station opened on February 2, 1913—and as part of the festivities, the Architectural League of New York and the New York Transit Museum hosted a competition for architect and designer sketches of the station. Archinect (http://archinect.com/news/article/64079176/winners-of-grand-central-terminal-drawing-competition) has a slideshow of the winners, which were unveiled late last month and will be published in a Moleskine Grand Central-themed sketchbook. The winning architects submitted a mix of futuristic visions of Grand Central and alternate ways of looking at the current design. Above and below, a few of our favorites.

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/markGCT-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/markGCT.jpg)
[By Sarah Mark]

The Architectural League (http://archleague.org/2012/12/grand-central-sketchbook/) website has some commentary from the judges, including this rave for the above design by Sarah Mark: "The station, in spite of its banal Beaux Arts architecture is extraordinary because of its circulation. So I must confess I was looking for vindication, for a sense in the drawings submitted that others had found the circulation to be a dominant factor as well. And I found it in Sarah Mark's beautiful drawing reminiscent of a medical illustration marking the pattern of arteries and veins in the human body."

Then there's this concept from Tyler Survant, Leticia Wouk Almino, and Kyle Stover, which suggests a future in which the station has been buried under an artificial wilderness and the former tunnels are home to robots:
http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/survantGTC-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/survantGTC.jpg)
[By Tyler Survant, Leticia Wouk Almino, and Kyle Stover]

Winners of Grand Central Terminal Drawing Competition (http://www.bustler.net/index.php/article/winners_of_grand_central_terminal_drawing_competit ion/) [Bustler via Archinect (http://archinect.com/news/article/64079176/winners-of-grand-central-terminal-drawing-competition)]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/01/03/architects_get_creative_with_drawings_for_grand_ce ntral.php

January 4th, 2013, 10:55 AM
Architects Get Creative With Drawings for Grand Central

by Sara Polsky

The Architectural League (http://archleague.org/2012/12/grand-central-sketchbook/) website has some commentary from the judges, including this rave for the above design by Sarah Mark: "The station, in spite of its banal Beaux Arts architecture is extraordinary because of its circulation. "

Oxymoronic statement.

January 4th, 2013, 05:38 PM
Holy crap, what a quote. That sounds like something I would have said when I was 13 year old. See: the majority of SkyScraperCity and SkyScraperPage.

January 4th, 2013, 06:34 PM
Architecture students are actually taught to think like that in most institutions.

January 4th, 2013, 10:39 PM
Yeah. I had a professor who told us if we even mentioned anything classical she'd fail us. Probably wasn't serious but boy did she hate anything that wasn't totally contemporary. Luckily that was first year.

January 4th, 2013, 11:34 PM
Architecture students are actually taught to think like that in most institutions.

That explains the vapid state of most contemporary architects and their correlative outputs.

January 13th, 2013, 07:56 PM
Grand Central Terminal: 100 and still growing

Looming improvements in and around Grand Central will make it more vital than ever.

By Daniel Geiger

After buying the 44-story office tower at 140 E. 45th St. last year, executives at Rockwood Capital began hearing about a strange phenomenon. Most of the building's tenants were coming and going via the building's back door on East 44th Street, the one next to the loading dock.

Rather than fight it, Rockwood is spending millions of dollars to glam up that entrance, including handsomely walling off the loading dock. The improvements are designed not just to please the property's tenants but to capitalize on the property's biggest asset: its proximity to Grand Central Terminal, just a block from the rear door.

"Forty-fourth Street is not going to feel like a back entrance anymore," said Diana Shieh, an executive at Rockwood who oversees the building.

Rockwood's move is just one of many by which countless landlords and tenants alike are demonstrating that even at the ripe old age of 100, the grand dame of New York's transit hubs is more central and vital than ever. What's more, with the planned arrival by 2020 of Long Island Rail Road trains in Grand Central's sub-basement and the expected rezoning of the surrounding neighborhood to spur development of a whole new generation of bigger, smarter office buildings, the terminal is destined to become only more important.

"When the LIRR link opens, it will bring about 80,000 new commuters per day through the terminal," said an MTA spokeswoman. Those new faces will add to the roughly 800,000 people—including tourists and, increasingly, shoppers—who will pass through the building each day by the end of the decade.

Similarly, the extension of the 7 subway line—which runs beneath the station out to Manhattan's newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards, just beginning to rise west of Penn Station—will further knit the terminal into the city's future growth.

In a sort of virtuous circle, it is those beefier transportation links that effectively lay the groundwork (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/topics/3569/Groundwork) for the big new towers, which are expected to add 10 million square feet or more of additional space in the coming decades—the equivalent of more than three Empire State Buildings—and their tens of thousands of additional tenants. They could begin arriving as soon as 2020.

To help accommodate them, the city is hoping to plow as much as $300 million—raised by selling the air rights to developers to allow them to build bigger properties—into a whole raft of ambitious Grand Central-centric pedestrian improvements.

Among other things, the New York City Planning Commission, which is overseeing the rezoning plan, is mulling a proposal to turn Vanderbilt Avenue, along the west side of the terminal, into a pedestrian green space similar to what it has done with Broadway in Times Square. A similar treatment could lie ahead for the underutilized roadways on either side of Pershing Square, across from the terminal's main entrance on East 42nd Street.

Big changes ahead

Inspired by the rezoning, the Regional Plan Association and Municipal Art Society will jointly float a proposal this spring, when the rezoning plan enters public review, to take a traffic lane on both Madison and Lexington avenues and use the space to widen the cramped sidewalks along both arteries.

The fate of all these proposals and many that have yet to be enumerated remains to be seen, but what seems clear is that big changes in the streetscape of the area surrounding Grand Central lie ahead.

"This is midtown's response to the High Line," said Raju Mann, director of planning at the Municipal Art Society. "What distinguishes a city and a neighborhood is not class A buildings ultimately, but what's happening around those buildings."

Improvements are also in the cards within the station itself. Among them is a planned widening of the staircase near the terminal's Pershing Square entrance that leads down to the 4, 5, 6 and 7 lines, relieving a notorious bottleneck.

"We could add a mirrored staircase that would roughly double the capacity," said Frank Ruchala, a planner at the Planning Commission.

The scent of a revitalized Grand Central and its surroundings is already drawing a swarm of investors. Last year, a total of $2.2 billion of commercial property transactions were completed in the neighborhood, a 10% rise over 2011, according to statistics compiled by Cushman & Wakefield. The increase contrasted with that of Manhattan as a whole, which saw a total of $9.7 billion in office sales in 2012, off 25% from the previous year.

Big sums are also being poured into refurbishing buildings. A few blocks north of Grand Central, for example, SL Green and Vornado are spending $125 million renovating their twin-building property at 280 Park Ave.

Steve Durels, an executive at SL Green, indicated that the building's location next to northern pedestrian entrances to the terminal's tracks—entry points that will eventually funnel into the LIRR connection—was a large factor in the partnership's decision to undertake such a big investment.

"There's no doubt that buildings that have proximity to north-end access points and the LIRR connector will be able to use that as a big selling feature," Mr. Durels said.

To the west, another big local landlord is also upping his bets on Grand Central. Aby Rosen, who owns several office towers in the city, including the Seagram Building and Lever House—the landmarks kitty-corner from each other on Park Avenue and East 53rd Street—recently spent nearly $540 million acquiring two office properties in separate transactions at 285 and 350 Madison Avenue. He is already planning to spend $55 million on a gut renovation of the former.

Shifting status

"We always have been into the Grand Central neighborhood, but it has become more essential given the way that transit is so important to a growing number of commuters," Mr. Rosen said.
Among them are many employees of Guggenheim Partners, an investment firm that inked a 15-year lease last year for nearly 200,000 square feet of office space at 330 Madison Ave. In fact, it was that transaction that helped convince Mr. Rosen that the Grand Central neighborhood's status as a fading star, losing status to newer precincts like Hudson Yards and a revitalized World Trade Center area, was shifting.

"Guggenheim Partners is a first-class tenant," Mr. Rosen said. "The fact that they chose to come to Madison Avenue shows that that stretch can now compete for the best firms."


With last year's arrival of Apple to the East Balcony, and this year's planned debut of Shake Shack in the lower dining concourse, Grand Central Terminal has emerged as a retail destination.

One of the things that Grand Central has going for it is a mix of tenants unlike those anywhere else in Manhattan. Many of the retail spaces in the station are small enough to appeal to a wider variety of boutique-type tenants who could not afford larger spaces on the street, notes Gary Alterman, executive vice president at Robert K. Futterman & Associates. More will come in 2018 with the planned opening the Long Island Rail Road concourse, which will add 22,000 square feet of retailing space.

“Grand Central is a magnet for the entire area,” Mr. Alterman said.

In fact, the halo effect has spread to surrounding areas, which offer larger spaces for retailers such as Zara and H&M.
“Retailers who can't fit into Grand Central—or whose renewals are rejected—probably end up taking space nearby,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of retail leasing at Douglas Elliman.

Meanwhile, west of the station, along Fifth Avenue from 42nd to 49th streets, rents have ballooned in the past few years as big-name retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Joe Fresh have set up shop, paying as much as $1,100 per square foot. Nearby Madison Avenue in the East 40s has held steady with such stalwarts as Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart.


January 30th, 2013, 01:00 PM
The tracks of their years: Grand Central Terminal's longtimers spill the station's fun & deepest secrets

As its 100th anniversary nears, loyal workers recall moments of love, laughter and even nudity

By Jacob E. Osterhout (http://wirednewyork.com/authors?author=Jacob E. Osterhout) / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 6:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 6:00 AM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1251036.1359557330!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/gct-1-0130.jpgCarlo Allegri/REUTERS

Passengers pass though Grand Central Terminal in November.

MELVIN JOHNSON has worked in Grand Central Terminal for the past 35 years. He’s a customer service representative, making it his business to know yours.
“This is the greatest place to work in the world,” says the 66-year-old Harlem native. “People take vacations from all over the world just to come here, to Grand Central Terminal, and I get to say hi to them.”
On Friday, the iconic station turns 100. And while the newly renovated building is as breathtaking as ever, it’s the people who’ve worked there for decades that really bring the station to life.
Every day 750,000 visitors pass through Grand Central Terminal, making it the largest hub for train traffic in the world. The station first opened its doors on Feb. 2, 1913 and took 10 years and $2 billion to build. In 1994, the MTA commenced a $500 million plan to restore the terminal. There’s currently an $8.2 billion project underway that will build a new terminal under the existing one and herald the arrival of Long Island Rail Road trains.
PHOTOS: GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL TURNS 100 (http://www.nydailynews.com/grand-central-terminal-turns-100-gallery-1.1251094)
Like Johnson, train engineer Michael King (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Michael+King), crew scheduling coodinator Gerry Geisler, special events manager Kyle McCarthy and photographer Frank English have spent the last few decades working at the station. They are the keepers of the secrets, the little-known stories and memories that have happened over the years. From supervising movie shoots to making sure the trains are staffed and on schedule, these are the people who work behind the scenes to make it all happen.
The Daily News caught up with some of Grand Central’s longest-standing employees to see the grandeur through their eyes:
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1250826!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/gctpeople30-1-web.jpgJulia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Melvin Johnson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Melvin+Johnson), customer service rep: 'I'm a terrorist expert, social worker, baby-sitter and doctor.'

Customer Service Representative
For Melvin Johnson, Grand Central Terminal is full of love.
It’s where he met his wife. It’s how he put his daughter through college. And it’s the place where he greets hundreds of lost or confused visitors every day with a smile.
Johnson has worked as a customer service representative in Grand Central in 1978. Back then, his “office,” as he refers to the main concourse of Grand Central, wasn’t quite as pristine as it is now.
“When I first started here in the ’70s, this place had a lot of homeless and was very dangerous, and that’s just the way it was,” he says. “This place used to be a hell hole, but I still enjoyed my job.”
According to Johnson, “I’m a terrorist expert, social worker, baby-sitter and doctor. I’m the eyes and ears of the railroad.”
And a Casanova. Johnson met his wife, who worked in a nearby office building, on the main concourse in 1976 after being introduced by friends. Six years later, they married. “I owe a lot to Grand Central,” says Johnson. “Even though I grew up in Harlem, I had never come to Grand Central until I needed a job. Now I can’t leave.”
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1250825!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/gctpeople30-2-web.jpgJulia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Kyle McCarthy, special events manager: 'If film crews want to come back ... they have to listen to me.'

Special Events Manager
Kyle McCarthy sees a side of Grand Central that nobody else sees.
As the MTA special events manager, McCarthy coordinates all the movie, commercial, documentary, music video and photo shoots that take place in Grand Central Terminal. She has helped work on movies like “Radio Days,” “The Freshman,” “Carlito’s Way,” “The Fisher King,” “Unfaithful,” and “Arthur.”
“We do filming when it doesn’t interfere with our operations and our ability to provide transportation,” says the 52-year-old Woodhaven native. “As long as there is not an official rush hour, you can film, which means lots of nights and weekends.
McCarthy, whose father worked for the railroads all his life, started working at Grand Central when she was just 24. She began in the commuter relations department “taking more complaints than compliments,” before working her way up to manager of special events.
Her first movie shoot was a trial by fire.
“I helped set up Woody Allen’s ‘Radio Days,’” she recalls. “It was supposed to be a 1940s piece. I had them shooting at a train gate. Suddenly, a commuter train pulled in on one of the platforms and unloaded all these modern people in the middle of the 1940s.”
McCarthy usually wins arguments with the film crews. “If they want to come back, and everybody wants to come back, then they have to listen to me,” she says.
Standing at the west Oyster Bar ramp, she recalls when the most recent refurbishment was completed.
“This is the spot that took my breath away,” she says. “This is where I wish my father had stood to see the new Grand Central ... because I think he really would have been impressed.”
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1250823!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/gctpeople30-4-web.jpgJulia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Michael King, a locomotive engineer: 'I don't go to work. I go to play ... with big trains.'

Locomotive Engineer
As a kid, Michael King played with trains. When he grew up, he didn’t stop.
The 54-year-old Poughkeepsie resident is a fourth-generation locomotive engineer for the Metro-North Railroad, starting the job in 1979.
“My father was an engineer,” he says. “His father was an engineer, and his father’s father was an engineer. We all worked on trains in the state of New York.”
The most challenging part of King’s job — which entails starting, stopping and running trains — is navigating the labyrinth of tracks below Grand Central.
But King’s favorite part of the terminal is above ground. The “whispering wall” near the ramp to the Oyster Bar allows one person to whisper into a wall on one side of a dome, while another can hear it from a wall more than 20 feet away.
“The sound’s wave will travel right over the dome so that it is like we are talking face to face,” King says. “Before the refurbishment, you couldn’t do this because the wall smelled like urine. But they did a marvelous job of rebuilding the terminal. Thank you, Jackie Kennedy.”
He takes the same glee in operating trains.
“I still can’t believe I have this job after 34 years,” he says. “I don’t go to work, I go to play. I play with big trains and when I’m done playing, my mother can't make me pick the tracks up.”
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1250824!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/gctpeople30-3-web.jpgJulia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Frank English, official photographer: Lucille Ball 'worked with all the railroad people. ... She was so sweet and genuine.'

Official Photographer
Frank English has taken more photos in Grand Central than anyone else.
By his own estimation, the 76-year-old Kips Bay resident has snapped at least 200,000 photos in the iconic terminal — he’s been the official photographer since 1984.
But Frank’s pictures transcend corporate photography. His photos have been used in multiple books, including the upcoming tome “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America” by Sam Roberts.
For English, Grand Central is more than just a train station. It is where he grew up.
“My father was a partner in an accounting firm that had their offices here,” he says. “When I was a little kid in the Bronx, I would come down to Grand Central and meet my father for lunch. That was an introduction to the railroad for me, not just to the terminal, but to the tracks that came down here. Everything flowed to Grand Central.”
One of his favorite memories was photographing actress Lucille Ball, when she was filming “Stone Pillow” for CBS.
“Most of the stars in between shoots go to their trailer, but she didn’t,” he says. “She stayed there and worked with all the railroad people at teaching them games that they didn’t know. She was so sweet and genuine.”
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1250822!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/gctpeople30-5-web.jpgJulia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Gerry Geisler, assistant director of crew scheduling: 'One time, a woman's dress fell off when she was buying a ticket.'

Assistant Director of Crew Scheduling
From the ticket booth to the railyards, Gerry Geisler has seen it all.
By his count, the 34-year MTA vet has had at least six jobs working for the MTA in and around Grand Central.
He started in the freight yards, sold tickets and even worked as a janitor before eventually climbing up the ranks to become the assistant director of crew scheduling.
From his office building high above the main concourse, Geisler basically determines which crews work on which trains. Seems simple enough, until you factor in that more than a thousand trains come and go from Grand Central each day and there are at least a thousand conductors, engineers and crew members he has to properly put on those trains.
“Basically, you are trying to cover seven-day-a-week service with five-day-a-week assignments and people need to have two days in a row off,” says the 54-year-old Chatham resident. Of course, Geisler can handle it. After all, if he could work the ticket booth in Grand Central in the early ’80s, he can certainly handle a few spreadsheets.
“The strangest things would happen back then,” he says. “One time, a woman’s dress fell off when she was buying a ticket. She was going to a costume party and was wearing a football jersey and it just fell off. I made sure I gave her the correct change.”
Beyond the occasional nudity, what Geisler really loves about his job is the sense of history he feels while he’s working in Grand Central.
“This building basically takes you back to the very beginning of rail transportation in New York City,” he says. “People used to come in by steamship and they would take a hansom cab to Grand Central and then head out to anywhere in the country. Even though we are only a commuter operation now, you still get that sense.”
Click for video (http://landing.newsinc.com/shared/video.html?vcid=24290096&freewheel=90051&sitesection=nydailynews)

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/grand-central-terminal-longtimers-spill-station-secrets-article-1.1250827#ixzz2JTzdEGGE

February 1st, 2013, 10:08 AM
Happy 100th Birthday Ol' Chap

If anyone is in the area today, there's a lot going on inside GCT so stop on by

February 13th, 2013, 07:30 PM
Set your DVRs/Tivos/Whatevers. Ch 7 is showing a Grand tour of the station including the new/old? tunnels, behind the giant clock, a frosted-glass catwalk behind one of the arched windows, and lots of cool stuff on Saturday at 7pm.

February 20th, 2013, 06:17 AM
10 Fun Grand Central Facts

by Jessica Dailey

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/34534-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/34534.jpg)

In conjunction with Grand Central's centennial, two books celebrating the terminal's history were published, bringing to life the train station's past through old newspaper articles, archived photos, and personal accounts. Grand Central: How A Train Station Transformed America (http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Central-Station-Transformed-America/dp/1455525960) is narrative history written by the New York Times correspondant Sam Roberts, while Grand Central Terminal: 100 Years of a New York Landmark (http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Central-Terminal-Years-Landmark/dp/1584799943) is a coffee table book (http://www.mta.info/news/stories/?story=948) compiled by the New York Transit Museum and Anthony W. Robins. Both books reveal little-known stories and hidden histories, and we've pulled 10 of the most interesting facts we learned about the terminal.

Ten fun facts from the books:

1) There are six secret staircases in the station [How A Train Station Transformed America], but the station was also designed as the first stairless train station in the world. From the New York Tribune, December 1912: "There is a whole story in the ramps, how the terminal engineers, not satisfied with the theoretical calculations, built experimental ramps at various slopes and studied thereon the gait and gasping limit of lean men with heavy suitcases, fat men without other burden than their flesh, women with babies, school children with books, and all other types of travellers. Upon the data thus obtained, they were able to construct ramps truly scientific and seductively sloped." [100 Years of a New York Landmark]

2) In the early days of Grand Central, before electric trains, the smoke and ash from steam engines caused safety problems in the tunnels. So to keep the smoke out of the tunnels, railroad engineers created the "flying switch" in which the locomotive would be detached from the train cars at the very last second and deflected onto another track. The cars would fly into the station, unaided and the brake operator would stop them. "Amazingly, this procedure caused no incidents." [100 Years of a New York Landmark]

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/Screen-Shot-2013-02-19-at-2.07.25-PM-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/Screen-Shot-2013-02-19-at-2.07.25-PM.jpg)
[Photo by Harris Garber/Curbed Flickr pool (http://www.flickr.com/photos/monkeyone/3359903970/)]

3) The terminal's seventh floor was home to an art school opened in 1924 (run by the sixth floor's John Singer Sargent-founded Grand Central Art Galleries). [How A Train Station Transformed America] One of the school's art instructors, the artist Ezra Winter, actually lived in a studio above the terminal. His home was so high up that "the terminal's electricians had to pass through it to reach the space above the concourse ceiling" in order to service the lights. [100 Years of a New York Landmark]

4) CBS broadcast from the station until 1964, and sometimes the trains' vibrations led to "fuzzy images" on TV. [How A Train Station Transformed America] CBS set up a giant monitor in the main concourse to broadcast major news events to New Yorkers. The studio saw the broadcasting of the soap operas "As the World Turns" and "Guiding Light," and coverage of the 1960 Olympics. CBS Evening News and The Morning Show also began here. [100 Years of a New York Landmark]

5) After CBS left, the space was turned into tennis courts by the Vanderbilt Tennis Club. By 1980, they were operated by none other than Donald Trump, who let famous people like Dustin Hoffman and Robert Duvall come play. In 2009, the space was converted into a break room for train conductors, but now they are once again tennis courts operating under the original name. [100 Years of a New York Landmark]

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/e_s_n01_wpa00834-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/e_s_n01_wpa00834.jpg)
[The main concourse, circa 1935-1941 (http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/04/historic-photos-from-the-nyc-municipal-archives/100286/)]

6) "A silver vase found on a seat wins the prize for weirdest abandoned item, hands down. Terminal officials say that it turned out to have been left deliberately by a widow whose husband claimed a few too many times that he came home late because he had been stuck on a train. The vase contained his ashes, and his wife figured leaving them on a train indefinitely was just retribution." [How A Train Station Transformed America]

7) In the early 1900s, Grand Central had Red Caps and Green Caps. Red Caps served as porters and baggage handlers, while Green Caps were essentially secretaries for travelers. From the New York Times, June 1922: "Should a commuter or a traveler from out of town desire to send a message to a friend or business acquaintance, the Green Cap will see that it is telephone for a small fee. Should the commuter want his wife notified that he will be home earlier or later than usual, the Green Cap will oblige. In fact, for a dime, the Green Cap will telephone that a commuting husband will not be home at all." [100 Years of a New York Landmark]

8) When the ceiling was cleaned during the 1990s restoration of the terminal, what was thought to be soot and fumes turned out to be tar from passengers' cigarettes. [How A Train Station Transformed America]

http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/Screen-Shot-2013-02-19-at-1.52.14-PM-thumb.jpg (http://ny.curbed.com/uploads/Screen-Shot-2013-02-19-at-1.52.14-PM.jpg)
[Grand Central's 42nd Street facade, photo by 1982Chris911/Curbed Flickr pool (http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisk1982/5682618397/)]

9) Starting on Christmas Day in 1928, an organist named Mary Lee Read began playing concerts in the main concourse throughout the day. According to a New York Times article from March 1937, "Officials of the New York Central Railroad have found that organ music acts as a sedative for nerves jangled by the process of catching a train. 'The effect on fractious nerves,' they said, 'is apparent. Frowns fade, tension relaxes, and all but the most case-hardened commuters step blithely to their trains.'" Read played the organ in Grand Central during the Christmas season for 29 years. [100 Years of a New York Landmark]

10) The carved sculpture on the terminal's 42nd Street facade was made by the French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan, who never stepped foot in America. The sculpture was carved in a studio on Blackwell's Island (now Roosevelt Island), and it took five months. It stands 66 feet wide, 48 feet tall, and it weighs 1,500 tons. [100 Years of a New York Landmark]

Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America (http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Central-Station-Transformed-America/dp/1455525960) [Amazon]
Grand Central Terminal: 100 Years of a New York Landmark (http://www.mta.info/news/stories/?story=948) [MTA]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/02/19/10_fun_grand_central_factsand_a_chance_to_learn_mo re.php

February 20th, 2013, 01:48 PM
1) There are six secret staircases in the station

February 20th, 2013, 02:10 PM
well if you knew that they wouldn't be secret anymore :D

February 20th, 2013, 03:00 PM
From what I understand, there is a secret one that leads to the Clock Tower - Information booth. I for one can't not visualize it, but I am made to understand taht there is a brass cylander in the center of the information booth that conceals it.

Another, is located at "M-42", a secret basement housing electrical generators. Apparently this was known to be targeted by Hitler during WW II

A third one is used to service the clock in the clock tower. It is serviced everyday.

February 20th, 2013, 04:37 PM
brass cylander in the center of the information booth that conceals it.

There is. It's how the workers enter and exit the booth.

Cool facts. They should start doing number 9 again.

February 28th, 2013, 12:28 AM
Marilyn, 1955.


Music Man
February 28th, 2013, 08:57 PM


February 28th, 2013, 09:52 PM
better than the historically most famous incident at Gare Montparnasse in 1895 :)


March 1st, 2013, 12:20 AM
Gare Monteparnasse, another crime like Penn Station. Luckily Paris still had a bucket load of fine stations to enjoy.

March 1st, 2013, 03:36 PM
Marilyn, 1955.


That is a fantastic shot.
Check out the look on the guy's face to her right. If you took a shot 30 seconds later, you'ld probably find him walking into a column, or him sprawled out on the tracks. That is likely where you would find me too.

March 1st, 2013, 04:31 PM
That's funny because to me he looks like he's up to no good

March 1st, 2013, 06:55 PM
...anyone up for a game of pocket pool

March 1st, 2013, 07:57 PM
'London Flog' trench coat.......HeeeHee


Did he "get away with it"????

July 20th, 2013, 05:29 PM
Zoning rule changes could see bars, lounges and ice rinks come to Grand Central Terminal

Mayor Bloomberg's proposed rezoning includes a plan to lift the neighborhood's ban businesses opening above people's homes, to encourage new business in the area.

By Nathan Place (http://wirednewyork.com/authors?author=Nathan Place) / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Published: Friday, July 19, 2013, 2:48 AM
Updated: Friday, July 19, 2013, 4:47 AM

Grand Central Terminal could soon be surrounded by new businesses and amenties.
Rooftop bars, lounges — and even ice rinks — could soon sprout up around Grand Central Terminal under new zoning rules revealed Thursday by the city planning department.
The latest version of a proposed rezoning that Mayor Bloomberg (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Michael+Bloomberg) has been pushing includes a plan to lift the neighborhood’s long-time ban on restaurants and other businesses opening above people’s homes.

The main goal is to encourage new, high-end office space to open in a business district that has lagged behind its competitors around the world, said Edith Hsu-Chen, who head’s the planning department’s Manhattan office.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/cool-ideas-grand-central-article-1.1403257#ixzz2Zci9b16i

July 20th, 2013, 05:57 PM
Wondering if this plan will be kept alive once he's out of office.