Stars Shine Again on Grand Central Terminal

Monday, November 08, 2010

New Yorker Hatmane Gacevic looking at the new lights at Grand Central Terminal New Yorker Hatmane Gacevic looking at the new lights at Grand Central Terminal (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

When visitors to Grand Central Terminal look up, the stars will be shining once again. That's because the backwards-painted zodiac on the green-hued ceiling has new LED lights that twinkle in accordance with each star's brightness in the night sky.

“Wow, wonderful,” said New Yorker Hatmane Gacevic. "They look like stars in the sky, and we can look up and make a wish."

Energy efficient LED lights replaced the fiber optic ones that were installed in 1997, but burned out a year ago. The original incandescent bulbs were equally groundbreaking when they were installed in 1913, but they were difficult to replace.

The new bulbs will save $8,000 a year in electricity bills and should last 50,000 hours.

MTA Chairmen Jay Walder was on hand and threw the switch as rush-hour commuters and tourists looked on.

The 59 stars shine are set in gold leaf constellations on a bluish-green field that spans the ceiling of the station's main concourse, 125 feet above the ground.


A dark exposure that highlights the newly installed lights.


The switch that MTA chairman Jay Walder (in the background) flipped to turn on the lights.



In the corner there is one brick that remains unpainted, which is said to have been left to remind visitors of GCT's grimy past.



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Comments [8]

Nick in NJ from lost in NJ

I like the idea - this is, after all, the City's transportation hub. It's a mecca for tourists as well as strap hangers. If this get's widely publicized, some people will visit just to see what's up. Then they will spend money with the local vendors and restaurants. But that's really not the point for me - it is beautiful and pretty cool too. Not everything has to have a dollar value assigned or ROI (although this one may actually have one). And if they put a "donate to the cool lights" bucket in the hall. I'd even stick a buck or two in there.

Jan. 03 2011 11:45 AM
Tam Smythe

Ars longa,vita brevis.

Dec. 10 2010 05:16 PM
RadioLab Fan

They said the new lights will save them 8k per year vs the old lights.

8k/year & 50k hour life of the LED's.
GCT is open 5:30am to 2:00am.
This is 22.5 hours per day.
Times 365 = 8212.5 hours.
50k hours / 8212.5 = slightly more than 6 years.
6 years times $8k = $48k "saved."

I highly doubt this project only cost $48k

Nov. 22 2010 11:51 PM
Charb from NYC

They will save $8,000 on the extra money they're spending to turn on these decorative lights. I'm all for beauty, but I have to agree with Mitch, this is an extra expense that we as MTA riders should be questioning. They're spending extra money on the electricity, and they spent money on replacing them. This is certainly surprising, and infuriating, amongst all the service cuts and fare hikes. Did it not occur to the MTA to wait until they are more financially stable to do such a project?

Nov. 18 2010 10:49 AM

Mitch since you brought it up I will direct this to you but for anyone who happened not to notice as well, it states in the info that the new bulbs should SAVE 8,000 a year not make stuff go up in cost overall. So yes, maybe they did spend some money to replace them but it's gonna save them money in the long run which is part of the point.

Nov. 11 2010 04:49 PM
Mitch from NYC

Where is the MTA getting the money to pay for the extra electricity it takes to power these lights? That may seem silly, but if the MTA is so cash-strapped that it has to continually mug its passengers for money, it should be cutting costs, not incurring them.

Nov. 10 2010 04:49 AM
Benjamin from Queens Village, N.Y.

I always look out at the sky at night. I see all the stars and the moon. They inspire me to dream of something when I sleep. I went to the Planetarium the 1st time when I was 8. The 2nd time I went there was 5/3/08 with my brother.

Nov. 09 2010 06:07 PM
Kathleen Law Riddle

So glad learned all my stars waiting for my train. Happy from the Harlem Line

Nov. 09 2010 12:01 PM

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