History of the Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central was built in 1871, at the beginning of the railroad boom. It started out as a large station known as the Grand Central Depot. But with railroad traffic increasing exponentially over the next few decades, it soon became evident that there was nothing “grand” or even practical about it. However, the Vanderbilt family stepped in and helped turn an insufficient train depot into a majestic structure that has been greeting and wowing arrivals to New York since the early 1900s.
The facade and the Main Concourse are Grand Central’s most recognizable sights. The facade is inspired by Greek architecture and sculptures gods Mercury, Hercules, and Minerva guard the entrance and surround the Tiffany Clock. A good photo opportunity is the corner of 42nd St and Vanderbilt Avenue.
Stepping inside is always an other-worldly experience - the Main Concourse’s ceiling is reminiscent of a great cathedral, while the Zodiac signs and constellations are a tribute to art and science. One can spend hours looking up, taking photos (no tripods allowed) and just gawking at the beauty of it all. Since you might get in the way of real commuters, climb the stairs of the Main Concourse to get better views and Instagram-worthy shots or walk to the information kiosk to take a good look at Grand Central’s iconic clock.
The Whispering Gallery is an intriguing place - its structure creates an interesting effect: when you whisper into a corner, someone standing at the opposite corner will hear you loud and clear.