NY – On February 1st 2013, Grand Central Terminal celebrated its 100th anniversary and while the yearlong festivities are over, there is still plenty to explore there the next time you’re passing through!
Thanks to an incredible renovation in the ’90s, it’s hard to imagine that the Beaux-Arts style landmark building was nearly demolished in the ’70s. Today GCT remains a stunning destination in itself, greeting 750,000 visitors a day with its gorgeous chandeliers, marble floors, dramatic windows, grand staircases, infamous ceiling painting of the zodiac and the world’s largest Tiffany clock.
Home to 68 stores, you can shop for everything from Apple computers to olive oil and find 35 dining options that cover just about any hankering you may have from the iconic Oyster Bar (since 1913) to Cipriani Dolci. There’s also Grand Central Market, home to many of New York’s classic artisinal purveyors, such as Eli Zabar’s Bread and Murray’s Cheese. And you can’t forget the elegant Campbell Apartment, which was once the private apartment and salon of a 1920s tycoon, John W. Campbell. Even if you’re not up for a pricey cocktail, it’s worth poking your head in to see the place in person. Kids especially enjoy the MTA Museum Gallery and Store that features over 100 years of transit lore and memorabilia, as well as the free annual Holiday Train Show that can’t be missed (until February 10 this year). If that’s all not enough, there’s also a (non-membership) Tennis Club up on the 4th floor (read more about it on Alana’s blog).
While you may know about many of the secret wonders of the terminal, like the whispering gallery (where if you press your face into a corner your whisper can be heard in a corner across the way) or that departure times listed on the board for MetroNorth trains are a minute earlier than actual departures or that there’s a secret train platform a few blocks away, beneath the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, that was used by President Roosevelt, there’s no better time than the present to take a tour. For $20 join a 75-minute tour ($15 for MetroNorth riders) led by a docent from the Municipal Art Society, rent an Audiotour or download an app of the tour on your smartphone. Whether you’ve got two minutes or two hours to kill, soak in the spectacular surroundings at your own pace – what a grand idea.