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

  1. #46
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    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.



  2. #47
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPC
    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.

  3. #48
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby
    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

  4. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby
    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.

  5. #50
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
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    Btw, I definitely do not want the squeegee men back...

    How could anyone?

  6. #51

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    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.

  7. #52
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #53

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    cant see it

  9. #54
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    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)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #55
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    ^ 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.

  11. #56
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    There's also a hole in the ceiling for the tip of that missile.

  12. #57

    Default Photos of Grand Central Station's interior & exterior

    Here are some additional photos of the exterior and interior of 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.

  13. #58
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    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
    By ANTHONY RAMIREZ
    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

  14. #59

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    aarongarcia on Flickr
    October 9, 2007

    Larger Size


  15. #60
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    ^ amazing shot!

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