We have all seen the Hollywood scenes of a couple meeting in Grand Central Station. However, none of these films give justice to the sheer size and impressiveness of this iconic building. Visiting the station is a must for anyone coming to New York City. Luckily, you can easily walk to the station when you stay at the Concorde Hotel New York.
The Grand Central Depot opened in 1871 as a hub for the quickly expanding train systems in and around New York City. Cornelius Vanderbilt was the driving force behind this development and unification of the multiple railroad systems. In 1900 it was renamed the Grand Central Station. Then in 1976, Jackie Kennedy gathered support to protect the terminal and preserve it as a historical building.
The primary purpose of Grand Central Station is to be a transportation hub. If you are traveling into or out of New York City, you could travel on the Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Railroad, subway, or bus system.
What to See
This New York City landmark is full of sites. You could take the official tour. It will give you access to the lesser-known areas of the terminal, such as the movie theater. However, there is plenty to see on your own.
Main Concourse Ceiling
The main concourse has a brilliant brilliant blue ceiling that features 2,500 stars. Fifty-nine of those stars are illuminated with LEDs to bring the ceiling to life. There are 12 constellations throughout the ceiling. Look for Cancer the crab, and you will find a small dark patch. This is what the ceiling looked like before it was cleaned of nicotine from when smoking was allowed.
Visit the information booth to see the infamous four-sided clock. It is rumored to have a value of $20 million. This is partly due to the opal finish on each clock face. The U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, sets the clock. The accuracy is so precise that it is within 1 second every 20 billion years.
This quirky corner of the terminal features a ceramic brick arch ceiling. It is located next to the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. You will need a partner to test out the acoustics. Stand in opposite corners, and you can whisper to each other.
Head outside to this feature of the terminal. On 42nd Street and Park Avenue, you will see the world's largest specimen of Tiffany glass. The clock and statue took seven years to construct and stands 48 feet high. The clock is 14 feet in diameter.
There are 65 retail stores within the terminal. From an Apple Store to several clothing retailers and Right Aid, there is everything you could need. In addition to well-known national brands, you can find unique local brands. You could get a shoe shine at the Leather Spa. Or visit Inaya, Grand Central Optical, and the Grand Central Watch.
The Grand Central Market is a European-style market that is home to 13 vendors. You can pick up gourmet ingredients and specialty prepared foods. This is the perfect place to create a picnic basket for visiting Central Park, a small gift for your host, or take food back to your hotel to munch on later. The market boasts 160 different types of seafood, 400 varieties of meats and cheeses, and a selection of freshly baked bread.
There are 20 fast-casual restaurants, and more are always being added. Most notably, there are the famous Magnolia Bakery cupcakes and lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster. There are also plenty of wine and beer options. For more upscale dining, there is The Campbell Bar, Cipriani Dolci, and the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Campbell Bar is the former office of railroad executive John W. Campbell. It boasts 25-foot hand-painted ceilings. Cipriani Dolci is a modern and hip Italian place with stunning views. Finally, while the Oyster Bar serves oysters, its menu changes daily with fresh seafood offerings.
Book your stay at the Concorde Hotel New York and be within walking distance of the Grand Central Terminal.