Grand Central Terminal
Opened to the public on 2 February 1913, Grand Central is a world-famous Midtown Manhattan landmark and transportation hub. Its rich history is a tale of great prosperity and innovation, but also of survival and regeneration.
Today, the historic beaux-arts is a shopping and dining hub, as well as the home of the MTA Metro-North Railroad and a subway station serving subway lines 4, 5, 6, 7 and S. There are many names in the Grand Central Terminal, including Grand Central, Terminal and GCT. Just don’t name us “Grand Central Station,” which applies to the U.S. Post Office down the street or underneath the subway station.
One of the main attractions of Grand Central, the four-faced opal clock, is located above the information booth in the middle of the Main Concourse, which is also the meeting spot for both visitors and locals. When you asked a friend to “meet me at the time” you know you’re a New Yorker!
With 750,000 visitors daily, Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City’s most frequently visited destinations, second only to Times Square. To discover not only its fascinating history and easy transportation choices but also its many famous shops and restaurants, explore the various passages of this architectural wonder.
In the early 1900s, New Yorkers saw their town as the new cultural and commercial capital, which deserved a majestic landmark. Meanwhile the vibrant City Beautiful campaign encouraged excellence in architecture. Grand Central fulfilled all wishes, improving Manhattan’s midtown, changing regional transport, and creating the city we know today. Back in the early 1800s, trade and banking energized New York, attracting new businesses and people. Innovation fuelled prosperity, and innovation fuelled prosperity.
Railroads were a critical part of this complex cycle — both a response to and a catalyst for the growth of the region. Freight and passenger lines flourished, and Prince Street linked with the Harlem River in the first railway line in New York City in the 1830s, driving the city’s growth northward from Lower Manhattan.
Railroads gave human beings, profits, and pollution. Residents objected, and the city outlawed soot-belching steam engines below 42nd Street in 1854, keeping them far away from the crowded center of New York. At 42nd, trains coming from the north unhitched their engines and pulled rail cars downtown by horse for the last few miles. The Hudson, New Haven, and Harlem Railroads were willing to expand given those constraints. They decided to share a new transit center, to integrate their services (and save money). With the southern limit for steam engines at 42nd Street, this was the logical location of the station. In 1871, Grand Central Depot opened. The 3 participating railroads were portrayed by three towers. Thirty years later, a new Annex doubled the size of the Depot but double wasn’t enough – rail traffic had quadrupled already.