All Information About Grand Central Terminal Station
You must have heard of Grand Central Terminal or Grand Central Station (its second name) in midtown Manhattan in New York City. If this is not the case, you will recognize its entrance hall, that’s for sure! This place has been used in many Hollywood movies, must-see series and even as a stage for some artists.
If you are planning a trip to New York, a passage through Grand Central Terminal is essential even if you do not have any train to take. If you still want to board a train, get a plan and book a ticket for one of the 50 American states.
Much more than just a station, it is actually the largest railway station in the world, and a real museum and a shopping center in the heart of Manhattan. In addition, the visit of this essential place is completely free. I explain all that in this article.
The Largest Railway Station In The World
Grand Central Terminal is the station with the most platforms in the world. In total, it houses 44 platforms, which provide access to trains that use 67 different tracks, spread over 2 levels. In addition to these quays, the resort hosts a very large shopping mall with around sixty shops and restaurants.
The station is separated into 5 main parts:
- The main hall is the center of the station, where the ticket offices are located as well as the famous clock that is the emblem of Grand Central Terminal.
- The restaurant lobby is located on the lower level, and it can be reached by stairs or elevators.
- The Vanderbilt Hall is a private hall that can be reserved for the organization of prestigious events.
- The subway station, with a much more modest architecture than the rest of Grand Central Terminal, is directly attached to the main hall.
- Grand Central North is a more recent extension, which allows you to enter the station from 47th and 48th streets, and reach the central concourse along the tracks.
Every day, more than 750,000 people pass through this terminal, by train, subway or New York City buses. As near each station, you will also find a good number of hotels in the area. This huge building covers more than three hectares, on seven levels, and accommodates around 800 trains a day.
As soon as you enter the premises, you can head towards the main hall, which is truly the heart of this station, in order to admire the absolutely stunning architecture of the place. From your first steps in this huge hall (over 110 m long and 36 m high) you will understand why this station is considered a historic site.
The guided tour of Grand Central Terminal
If you are looking to visit Grand Central Station in every corner, you will have the opportunity to discover the place with a local guide who will reveal all the history and all the secrets of this mythical and magnificent station: forbidden footbridges, tennis courts, voices in the walls of the building. After that, regain your strength in one of the quirky restaurants in the basement of the station. In short, you will be amazed during a 1h30 guided tour at the approximate price of 30 € per person. Book your tickets as soon as possible.
What To See In The Main Hall Of Grand Central Station?
If you arrive on foot and not by train in Grand Central Terminal, you will arrive directly in the main concourse called Main Concourse. You are likely to be impressed by the size of it and especially by its green ceiling. In my opinion, this is the perfect place to start your visit. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, keep reading this article and you’ll know exactly what to see in the Main Concourse at the world’s largest train station. So get ready to take your most beautiful photos in this splendid place.
The Main Hall Ceiling
The vaulted ceiling of the main hall is decorated with a huge painting covered in gold leaf. It represents the 12 constellations of the zodiac, which has more than 2,500 stars, 59 of which shine with LEDs. The sky is represented as it can be admired from the Mediterranean region during winter.
The painting is actually completely reversed, and the constellations were painted upside down. Some claim this is due to painterly error, but station founder Cornelius Vanderbilt claimed it was actually because this painting had to be viewed from a divine perspective, and therefore viewed from above.
Near the constellation of Cancer, it is possible to see a darker colored brick. This bears witness to the appearance that this ceiling had before the major renovation that was carried out in the course of the 1990s. In addition to the soot left by the fumes of the steam trains, it is largely the residues of nicotine and tar that had completely masked this work of art.
Grand Central Station Clock
Right in the center of the hall is the information kiosk. Directly above this, you can discover the real gem of this terminal: the four-sided clock. The value of this opal clock from the Tiffany brand is estimated between 10 and 20 million dollars. This clock is a true emblem of the city, and it serves as a meeting place for many New Yorkers every day.
Go Down To The Station Basement: Dining Concourse
Under the main hall, you will reach the Dining Concourse, the restaurant hall, in which many establishments are located. Travelers who pass through Grand Central Station are often in a hurry, this place puts fast food in the spotlight and all the most famous fast food brands are present there: Shake Shack (a chain still underdeveloped in France), Starbucks Coffee, etc. I invite you to go to the signs that you do not know yet, in particular the Lobster Roll if you have a craving for lobster or book at the Oyster Bar, an oyster bar. Finally, for dessert, taste the famous Magnolia Bakery cupcake, before returning to your hotels to regain your strength for the rest of your trip.
The Gallery Of Whispers
This is also where the Whispering Gallery is located. Under the arch that is directly in front of the Oyster Bar & Restaurant, you can try your hand at the most original and romantic means of communication. If you face one of the pillars of the vault and whisper a few words, the person placed on the other side of the corridor in the diagonal will hear your message perfectly.
Grand Central Market And Mall
Every day in the basement of the station, the Grand Central Market stretches over 120 meters in length. You will find many stalls offering fresh delicatessen products, vegetables, meat and fish.
In this market, which is strongly reminiscent of European markets, vendors offer seasonal ingredients and products, as well as ready-made meals. Grand Central Market is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to the market, restaurants and bars, you can also find a large number of shops in Grand Central Terminal. Luxury brands offering bags, clothing and fashion accessories from major brands. The station is also home to many souvenir shops, as well as banks and insurance companies.
At the top of the east staircase, you will access the East Balcony, where there is an Apple Store that is very well integrated into the historic structure of the building. From this place, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire main hall of Grand Central: the perfect place for your photos.
Have you booked your activities in New York?
Are you going on a trip soon and you don’t know what to do in New York ? Don’t worry ! In the city that never sleeps you will always find an attraction that will suit the whole family: visit the biggest museums of New York such as the MET and the AMNH, visit the unmissable buildings in Manhattan, stroll in Central Park or even fly over city helicopter. In my opinion, you will never be bored and you should not encounter too many problems without a reservation, but I still advise you to book all your activities in advance to benefit from much more advantageous prices.
Grand Central Terminal, An Unusual Place!
Know that it is possible to play tennis at Grand Central Terminal! There are 2 tennis courts available where travelers can play a little tennis while waiting for their train. They are located on the 4th floor, in the Vanderbildt Tennis Club. The price per hour is estimated between $90 and $260 depending on the time of day. So it’s not given to everyone but it’s really unusual as an activity to do around Grand Central.
Also discover glass walkways on which you will be prohibited from walking. On the other hand, you can take a look at it from its entrance and above all take memorable photos!
Grand Central Station is open every day of the year, from 5:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. It is located halfway between the Top of The Rock building and the Empire State Building in New York City. Here is the address: 89 East 42nd Street, between Vanderbilt Avenue and Park Avenue . Just above the main lobby, towards the aforementioned Apple Store, are balconies. You will be able to make very beautiful photos from this place!
Today, the terminal accommodates trains from several lines that serve counties in New York State and Connecticut. It also has a very large metro station, where connections between lines 4, 5, 6 and 7 are established. You can easily get there during your stay by using a MetroCard New York, the principle of which I explain to you in a dedicated article. For even more information on Grand Central Terminal, do not hesitate to visit the official website.
That’s all for this article on this place comparable to no other which is, in my opinion, one of the essentials of the Big Apple. I would advise you to go there during the day to sit in one of the fast food restaurants in the concourse.