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Stop to Smell the History: Grand Central

By April 01, 2013 , , , , , ,

Grand Central Terminal is one of those places in the city which always leaves me with a sense of wonder. More than just a train station, it’s a work of art. Its impressive Beaux-Arts fa├žade and grand interior with ornate chandeliers, sweeping marble staircases (modeled after the Paris Opera House), and arched passageways is an aesthetic feast for the eyes. Another arresting feature of this building is the pale blue vaulted ceiling painted by a French artist, made to resemble the sky with its zodiac constellations. And let’s not forget the gold Tiffany clock, the century-old iconic timepiece that sits atop the information booth in the main concourse. This New York landmark literally reeks of history…and that’s why I enjoy it so much.

Most days, no one really stops to “ooh and aah” over all this. Over 500,000 commuters pass through this structure every day, immune or perhaps accustomed to its beauty. But as Grand Central celebrates its centennial birthday this year, one can’t help but stop to consider how gracefully it has aged. Despite rocky points in history when it suffered from abandon and neglect or when it was in danger of being torn down, Grand Central has prospered and now boasts of the same splendor as that of 1913.

On a recent Friday evening, I visited Grand Central to check out an art installation, one of many ongoing events for the centennial celebration. The art installation called Heard-NY was abstract (take from it what you will) but visually appealing – horses adorned with beaded, embroidered headdresses. Below are a few pictures (okay fine, several pictures along with a couple "then and now"!) from an hour spent strolling around the building.

Grand Central Terminal concourse circa 1940

My capturing of the Grand Central Terminal concourse today

Ticket booths circa 1940
How the ticket booths look today - not too much as changed!

The iconic, 100-year old Tiffany clock

Ornate chandeliers
Nick Cave's art installation Heard-NY

Historical photos and details on Grand Central Terminal from the following sources: here, here.

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  1. haa..Grand Central always amazed me when I worked in NYC, loved to travel or pass by this place. It remains on my must-see places in NYC (or whenever I am being the tour guide for the family)

  2. You know I have been in NY for almost 2 years now and have not visited grand central..Shame on me!!!
    Nice post! Hope you are having a wonderful day!
    Style Delights Blog

  3. Great post..!
    Missed u in the blog world.

    New Post Up


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