Grand Central Turns 100

Friday, February 01, 2013

Grand Central Terminal kicks off its centennial celebration today. Share your stories and hear from WNYC reporter Jim O'Grady on-site and Kurt Schlichting, professor of sociology and anthropology at Fairfield University and the author of the book, Grand Central Terminal: Railroads, Engineering, and Architecture in New York City.


Jim O'Grady and Kurt Schlichting

Comments [15]

frizztext from Germany

I've set a link to you at

Feb. 02 2013 07:32 AM
Karen from Washington Heights

I love the renovation but miss some of the grit and the unique things:
The big Newsweek clock over the arch which led to the 42nd Street exit. My husband of 40 years and I used to meet "under the clock" when we were dating and I would come down on the New Haven local from New Rochelle and he would travel in from Queens. Now it is hard to find a unique spot to meet. You could really miss each other circling the info booth. Good thing we are not dating anymore.

The AR listening room. The literal room was on the [Vanderbilt?] balcony and one could bring favorite records and sit in a comfortable chair at exactly the right distance from the speakers to listen to and challenge various combinations of speakers and amps. And the guy who ran it had the best job!

The free standing wire cage bookstore [Brentano's?] in one of the halls which led to the Lexington Avenue exit.

And as a photographer, I miss the big Kodak photo. I always hoped to make it to the big time!

Feb. 01 2013 01:49 PM
Mary Ciuffitelli from Weehawken

I worked nearby in the 1980's. In those days, the stairways to the huge arched windows were open -- the doors were not just unlocked, but wide open. If I needed a moment of peace, or if I needed a fresh outlook, I would walk up the stairs and "into" the windows overlooking the main concourse. There are basically catwalks that cross those windows, with thick glass floors at every level. What a transcendent feeling, to stand up there, in the quiet, close to the heavens, translucent light beneath my feet, watching the busy world go by.

Feb. 01 2013 10:54 AM
Marcia from Manhattan

Each year when my brother, and cousins and I would go to summer camp, we would leave from Grand Central . The entire waiting room was was packed with kids and their parents and Placards held up on sticks showing where each camp should meet. The air was full of the smell of packed lunches , We then boarded sleeper cars on what must have been private car for each camp., And made the overnight trip to Maine. Everyone wanted the upper berths, and we of course stayed up all al night ,eating and singing and climbing up and down,and making great chaos.. Much to the chagrin of counselors and porters. the trains and camps went off In all directions.. Maine, New Hampshire, the Adirondacks, and all full of noisy mostly,happy, kids.

Feb. 01 2013 10:45 AM
Lynda from UWS from Manhattan

My father worked at Kenyon and Eckhardt on the 17th floor of the Pan Am building in the 70s... my brother and I would go into work with him when we were between the ages of 8-12 and what a THRILL it was to walk through the station, look at the Kodak sign, go up the escalators, and stop at Zum Zum. does anyone remember Zum Zum? WE LOVED IT!

youtube mp3

Feb. 01 2013 10:40 AM

Hey! How 'bout the hole in the ceiling where the rocket tip wouldn't fit:

In 1957, the Russians put Sputnik into orbit and the U.S. was keen on selling the public on the importance of staying ahead. In a curious bit of showmanship, a Redstone rocket was brought in for display at Grand Central Terminal that same year. But some genius didn’t think to measure whether it would fit in the concourse. Well, surprise, it could not, and it was rammed in, leaving a hole in the ceiling that’s still there.

Feb. 01 2013 10:27 AM
Kate from Washington Heights

Great segment, thanks. I love GCT, and was always sorry that my mom (who loved it also) never got to see the beautiful renovation. But I also miss the old, gritty GCT - the unpretentious fresh donut shop and the unpretensionly delicious pizza. But all-in-all, it's a wonderful sprucing up job. Thank you to Jackie K-O and everyone who has preserved it for people like me!

Feb. 01 2013 10:22 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

I remember the miracle of the huge Kodak advertisement sign being taken down, as part of the return to magnificence of the great hall. I couldn't, and can't believe that what was once despoiled was repaired at the sacrifice of a revenue stream.

Feb. 01 2013 10:20 AM
Jean from Midtown

I'd love to hear when the Grand Central was connected to Metlife building. I used to work at the Metlife building and loved being able to walk to work from the train without ever getting out.

Feb. 01 2013 10:19 AM

Let's not forget that as much as we enjoy the building itself, it's also a tribute to Cornelius Vanderbilt, a robber-baron of the worst kind. He consistently built terminals that were amazingly dangerous for passengers and employees alike, as well as participated in grand real estate frauds at public expense.

Feb. 01 2013 10:18 AM
Judy from NYC

I grew up with my dad commuting into GC everyday, and I started coming in on my own as a 14 yr old for Rock concerts. GC was always my entry point. I remember all the cops and homeless pp late at night, and then I left NY for many yrs. Meanwhile-GC got renovated and cleaned up and I love it. I am so thankful for what Jackie O did- when I see photos of the old Penn station and think we could have lost GC! I always remember the scene in that robin williams movie when everyone starts dancing! and the part of Mark Halprin's Winter's tale where one of the characters lives above the constellations of GC.And the whisper wall. and the Oyster Bar. So many memories- that and the Chrysler are my favorite buildings in NYC.

Feb. 01 2013 10:18 AM
CT from Harlem

The most shocking thing I've learned about GCT is that is has a private landlord!

Feb. 01 2013 10:17 AM
Carolita from NYC

The whispering corner next to the oyster bar, which is the place me and my partner call our own, too. Love watching those chefs make the chowders, we always sit at the bar by the take out window.

Feb. 01 2013 10:15 AM

Great blog post:

Feb. 01 2013 10:13 AM
Bamini Jay from Brooklyn

I love Grand Central. My husband and I would take our one year old daughter down to Grans Central on weekends in the winter to have a beautiful indoor space to hang out, people watch and get coffee. It's so much more than a terminal. It's like NYC's version of and indoor piazza!

Feb. 01 2013 10:12 AM

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