Grand Central Terminal - Station

Grand Central Terminal - Station, View upcoming departures, and Location:

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The passages in the Grand Central terminal are:
Metro-North Railroad upper level
Northwest and Northeast passages
45th Street cross-passage
47th Street cross-passage
Metro-North Railroad lower level

Grand Central Terminal (GCT) often incorrectly called Grand Central Station; ("Grand Central Station." "Grand Central Station" is actually the name of the nearby post office, as well as the name of a previous rail station on the site, and it is also used to refer to a New York City subway station at the same location.), or shortened to simply Grand Central is a terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States. Built by and named for the New York Central Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger trains, it is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms: 44, with 67 tracks along them. They are on two levels, both below ground, with 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower, though the total number of tracks along platforms and in rail yards exceeds 100. When the Long Island Rail Road's new station, below the existing levels, opens (see East Side Access), Grand Central will offer a total of 75 tracks and 48 platforms. The terminal covers an area of 48 acres (19 ha).
The Grand Central terminal serves commuters traveling on the Metro-North Railroad to Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties in New York State, and Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut.
Although the Grand Central terminal has been properly called "Grand Central Terminal" since 1913, many people continue to refer to it as.

The Grand Central Terminal tracks are numbered according to their geographic location in the Grand Central terminal building rather than the trains' destinations, because all of the trains terminate at Grand Central. There are 31 tracks in revenue service on the upper level. These are numbered from 11 to 42, from the most eastern track to the most western track. Tracks 22 and 31 were removed in the late 1990s to build concourses for Grand Central North, track 12 was removed to expand the platform between tracks 11 and 13, and track 14 is only used for loading a garbage train. The lower level has 26 tracks, numbered from 100 to 126, east to west, though only tracks 102-112, and 114-116 are currently used for passenger service. This makes it easy for Grand Central Terminal passengers to quickly locate where their train is departing from, and this eliminates much of the confusion in attempting to locate specific trains in an immense Grand Central terminal. Often, local and off-peak trains depart from the lower level while express, super-express, and peak trains depart from the main Grand Central Terminal concourse. Odd numbered tracks are usually on the east side (right side facing north) of the platform; even numbered tracks on the west.
Besides train platforms, Grand Central contains restaurants (the most famous of which is the Oyster Bar) and fast food outlets (surrounding the Dining Concourse on the level below the Main Concourse), delis, bakeries, newsstands, a gourmet and fresh food market, an annex of the New York Transit Museum, and more than forty retail stores. Grand Central generally contains only private outlets and small franchises. There are no chain outlets in the complex, except for a Starbucks coffee shop and a Rite Aid pharmacy/convenience store.
A "secret" sub-basement known as M42 lies under the Grand Central Terminal, are the AC to DC converters used to supply DC traction current to the Grand Central Terminal. The exact location of M42 is a closely guarded secret and does not appear on maps, though it has been shown on television, most notably, the History Channel program Cities of the Underworld and also a National Geographic special. The original Grand Central Terminal rotary converters were not removed in the late 20th century when solid state ones took over their job, and they remain as a historical record. During World War II, this was one of the most guarded facilities because its sabotage would have greatly impaired troop movement on the Eastern Seaboard. Despite it being a secret, Adolf Hitler was aware of this facility and sent two spies to sabotage Grand Central Terminal. The spies were arrested by the FBI before they could strike. It is said that any unauthorized person entering the facility during the war risked being shot on sight: the rotary converters used at the time could have easily been crippled by a bucket of sand.
From 1924 through 1944, the attic of the east wing contained a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) art school and gallery space called the Grand Central School of Art.

Grand Central Terminal Main Concourse:
The Main Concourse is the center of Grand Central. The space is cavernous and usually filled with bustling crowds. The ticket booths are here, although many now stand unused or repurposed since the introduction of ticket vending machines. The large American flag was hung in Grand Central Terminal a few days after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The main information booth is in the center of the concourse. This is a perennial meeting place, and the four-faced clock on top of the information booth is perhaps the most recognizable icon of Grand Central. Each of the four clock faces is made from opal, and both Sotheby's and Christie's have estimated the value to be between $10 million and $20 million. Within the marble and brass pagoda lies a "secret" door that conceals a spiral staircase leading to the lower level information booth.
Outside the station, the clock in front of the Grand Central facade facing 42nd Street contains the world's largest example of Tiffany glass and is surrounded by sculptures carved by the John Donnelly Company of Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury and designed by French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan. At the time of its unveiling (1914) this trio considered to be the largest sculptural group in the world. It was 48 feet (14.6 m) high, the clock in the center having a circumference of 13 feet (4 m).
The upper level tracks are reached from the Main Concourse or from various hallways and passages branching off from it. On the east side of the Main Concourse is a cluster of food purveyor shops called Grand Central Market.

Grand Central Terminal Subway station:
The subway platforms at Grand Central are reached from the Main Concourse. Built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) rather than the New York Central Railroad, the subway areas of the station lack the majesty that is present throughout most of the rest of Grand Central, although they are in similar condition to its track levels. The shuttle platforms were originally an express stop on the original IRT subway, opened in 1904. Once the IRT Lexington Avenue Line was extended uptown in 1918, the original tracks were converted to shuttle use. One track remains connected to the downtown Lexington Avenue local track but the connection is not in revenue service. A fire in the 1960s destroyed much of the shuttle station, which has been rebuilt. The only signs of the fire damage are truncated steel beams visible above the platforms.

Grand Central Terminal Ceiling:
In autumn 1998, a 12-year restoration of Grand Central revealed the original luster of the Main Concourse's elaborately decorated astronomical ceiling. Per Grand Central: Gateway to a Million Lives, by John Belle and Maxine R. Leighton, W.W. Norton and Co., 2000, page 57, the ceiling was "conceived by Warren and his friend, the French portraitist Paul Helleu, and the mural was the creation of J. Monroe Hewlett and Charles Basing. Corps of astronomers and painting assistants worked with Hewlett and Basing." The original ceiling, conceived in 1912 by French artist Paul C├ęsar Helleu, was eventually replaced in the late 1930s to correct falling plaster. This new ceiling was obscured by decades of what people thought was coal and diesel smoke. Spectroscopic examination revealed that it was mostly tar and nicotine from tobacco smoke. A single dark patch remains above the Michael Jordan Steakhouse, left untouched by renovators to remind visitors of the grime that once covered the ceiling.
There are two peculiarities to this ceiling: the sky is backwards, and the stars are slightly displaced. One explanation is that the constellations are backwards because the ceiling is based on a medieval manuscript that visualized the sky as it would look from outside the celestial sphere. According to this explanation, since the celestial sphere is an abstraction (stars are not all at equal distances from Earth), this view does not correspond to the actual view from anywhere in the universe. The stars are displaced because the manuscript showed a (reflected) view of the sky in the Middle Ages, and since then the stars shifted due to precession of the equinoxes. Most people, however, simply think that Helleu reversed the image by accident. When the embarrassed Vanderbilt family learned the ceiling was painted backwards, they maintained that the ceiling reflected God's view of the sky.
There is a small dark circle in the midst of the stars right above the image of Pisces. In a 1957 attempt to counteract feelings of insecurity spawned by the Soviet launch of Sputnik, Grand Central's Main Concourse played host to an American Redstone missile. With no other way to erect the missile, the hole was cut so the rocket could be lifted into place. Historical Preservation dictated that this hole remain (as opposed to being repaired) as a testament to the many uses of the Grand Central Terminal over the years.

Grand Central Terminal Dining Concourse and lower level tracks:
The Dining Concourse is below the Main Concourse. It contains many fast food outlets and restaurants, including the world-famous Oyster Bar with its Guastavino tile vaults, surrounding central seating and lounge areas and provides access to the lower level tracks. The two levels are connected by numerous stairs, ramps, and escalators.

Grand Central Terminal Vanderbilt Hall and Campbell Apartment:
Vanderbilt Hall, named for the Vanderbilt family who built and owned the station, is just off the Main Concourse. Formerly the main waiting room for the Grand Central terminal, it is now used and rented out for various events. The Campbell Apartment is an elegantly restored cocktail lounge, located just south of the 43rd Street/Vanderbilt Avenue entrance, that attracts a mix of commuters and tourists. It was at one time the office of 1920s tycoon John W. Campbell and replicates the galleried hall of a 13th-century Florentine palace.

Solari departure board:
The original display board was an electromechanical display that displayed times and track numbers of arriving and departing trains. It contained rows of flip panels that displayed train information. It became a New York institution, as its many displays would flap simultaneously to reflect changes in train schedules, an indicator of just how busy Grand Central was. A small example of this type of device hangs in the Museum of Modern Art as an example of outstanding industrial design.
The flap-board destination sign was replaced with high resolution mosaic LCDs modules manufactured by Solari Udine of Italy, the maker of the original flap boards for train stations and airports. Similar modules are now also used on the trains, both on the sides to display the destination, and on the interior to display the time, next station, calling points, and other passenger information.

Grand Central Terminal North:
Grand Central North, opened on August 18, 1999, provides access to Grand Central from 45th Street, 47th Street, and 48th Street. It is connected to the Main Concourse through two long hallways, the Northwest Passage (1,000 feet long) and Northeast Passage (1,200 feet long), which run parallel to the tracks on the upper level. Entrances are at the northeast corner of East 47th Street and Madison Avenue (Northwest Passage), northeast corner of East 48th Street and Park Avenue (Northeast Passage), and on the east and west sides of 230 Park Avenue (Helmsley Building) between 45th and 46th Streets. A fifth entrance will open in September 2011 on the south side of 47th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. The 47th Street passage provides access to the upper level tracks and the 45th Street passage provides access to the lower level tracks. Elevator access is available to the 47th Street (upper level) passage from street level on the north side of E. 47th Street, between Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues. There is no elevator access to the actual train platforms from Grand Central North; handicapped access is provided through the main Grand Central terminal.
Nearing the very end of the passages, there is an Arts for Transit mosaic installation by Ellen Driscoll, an artist from Brooklyn.
The entrances to Grand Central North were originally open from 6:30 AM to 9:30 PM Monday through Friday and 9 AM to 9:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday. As of summer 2006, Grand Central North was closed on weekends, with the MTA citing low usage and the need to save money by the shutdown. Prior to the closing, about 6,000 people used Grand Central North on a typical weekend, and about 30,000 on weekdays.
Ideas for a northern entrance to Grand Central were discussed since at least the 1970s. Construction on Grand Central North lasted from 1994 to 1999 and cost $75 million. Delays were attributed to the incomplete nature of the original blueprints of Grand Central and previously undiscovered groundwater beneath East 45th Street. As of 2007, the passages are not air-conditioned.

Movie Filming at Grand Central Station / Tremanial:
Whether filmmakers need an establishing shot of arriving in New York or transportation scenes, the restored landmark building is visually appealing and authentic. Grand Central Terminal has been used in numerous film and TV productions over the years. Kyle McCarthy handles production at Grand Central Terminal for MTA Metro-North Railroad. According to her "Grand Central is one of the quintessential New York places.
Some films that have been filmed at Grand Central Terminal include:
The Bone Collector
Carlito’s Way
Conspiracy Theory
The Cotton Club
Falling in Love
The Fisher King
The House on Carroll Street
I Am Legend
Men In Black
Men In Black II
Midnight Run
North By Northwest
One Fine Day
The Perfect Score
The Prince of Tides
Revolutionary Road
Superman: The Movies
The Taking of Pelham 123