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Grand Central Terminal

The heart of New York's transportation system, Grand Central Terminal showcases civic glamour -- on a scale unrivalled this side of the Atlantic -- and the heady romance of a bygone era dominated by train cars, impulsive travel, and surprise send-offs. The main concourse here is undeniably one of New York's most dramatic public spaces. The floor, an immaculate half-acre of Tennessee marble, can frequently seem as though it operates at double- or triple-time, but it is at its most majestic, like...

The heart of New York's transportation system, Grand Central Terminal showcases civic glamour -- on a scale unrivalled this side of the Atlantic -- and the heady romance of a bygone era dominated by train cars, impulsive travel, and surprise send-offs. The main concourse here is undeniably one of New York's most dramatic public spaces. The floor, an immaculate half-acre of Tennessee marble, can frequently seem as though it operates at double- or triple-time, but it is at its most majestic, like a magnificent church, when things begin to quiet down a bit and the frenetic rush-hour bustle slows to the merely busy pace of the off-peak hours. Like a placid pond above the busy Beaux-Arts concourse stretches an ethereal, jade-green vaulted concave ceiling, seventy-five feet high, inlaid with the shimmering constellations of the zodiac (arranged in reverse, thanks to an unwitting architect). Unlike the great railway stations of Europe, with their open-air, industrial clatter and clutter, Grand Central has the hallowed feel of a great library or museum. The station was built in 1913, as part of a massive construction project that buried New York's vital train tracks underground, united the competing New York Central and Hudson River Railroads, and produced, as an accidental byproduct, Park Avenue. (Before Grand Central, the now-elegant boulevard was a mess of train tracks and low-end real estate). The complex dominates above-ground Manhattan as much as below-ground Manhattan as the vanishing point of Park Avenues both North and South. Major renovations in recent years have thoroughly refurbished the interior (most notably, restoring the vaulted ceiling to its original green, and adding an always-planned grand staircase in the main concourse) and have transformed the station into a central marketplace in the heart of midtown. The lower concourse, located just below the main one, has probably the most upscale food-court you'll ever come across, featuring stands from many iconic New York restaurants as well as some chain standbys; the Grand Central market, located on street level, is a boutique-style, gourmet super market for subway epicureans.

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Grand Central Terminal
New York City, NY 10017
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