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Grand Central Station
You might ask yourself if this is a train station or a tourist attraction when you observe the grandiosity of Grand Central Station. This central terminal in Midtown Manhattan is one of the world's largest train stations and a top New York City attraction. Beautiful in design and efficient in nature, it is an impressive sight to see while you're getting through New York City.
The History of Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station dates back to 1863, and was originally designed for New York's Central Railroad and Harlem Railroad. By the turn of the 20th century, proposals for a new plan were made shortly after an accident caused by smoke from steam engines. A new and larger station was in plan to accommodate new trains since steam engines were no longer allowed in Manhattan.
The new terminal opened in 1913, to the likes of passengers and the architectural savvy. The Fresh design unveiled large intricate sculptures and detailed design. But as rail traffic in Midtown Manhattan increased, the need for a lower level station was necessary. In addition, luxury real estate and office buildings were built in the area, providing a central point to live, with easy access to the terminal.
The new project and further construction made Grand Central seem like its own city. It was designed in the same idea as Rockefeller Center, to create an atmosphere within the terminal for commuters to have an experience in addition to their travels. Hotels and other high rise buildings quickly soared in addition to businesses moving in to the prime real estate. There was even a "Secret Platform" under the station used for President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1920s that had a passageway to the Waldorf Astoria. Other notable guests in the terminal building included CBS, who had studios and facilities for the local New York station WCBS-TV.
Grand Central Station Almost Eliminated
At one point, millions of people had traveled through Grand Central by World War II. But, railroad use began to decline after government initiatives to build highways and improved airline traffic. At one point in 1954, Grand Central was thought to be scrapped for a larger tower like the Empire State Building. Instead, an additional building was created for Pan Am airlines in 1963, which is today's modern MetLife Building.
Threats of closure resurfaced as the New York Central Railroad faced bankruptcy. To solve their problems, they merged with Pennsylvania Railroad to create a larger company. By the late 1960s, Grand Central Station was declared a landmark of New York City. Yet, the newly formed Penn Railroad would enter bankruptcy in 1970, the biggest corporate bankruptcy at the time. The lease for the building would be taken over by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the New York City Subway in 1994 which led to massive redevelopments.
The Station’s Design and Layout
With over 40 platforms bringing travelers in and out of New York City, it is one of the largest in the world. The terminal serves Metro-North Railway to suburbs of New York and further to a few counties in Connecticut. On the underground level is the New York City subway station, Grand Central Station, which is also a larger transfer point for many East Side lines.
Things to do in Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is a fine place to spend the day souvenir shopping in New York or to enjoy a nice meal. The famous Oyster Bar in the Dining Concourse serves the best in seafood, along with gourmet bakeries, snack bars and even a fresh food market on the Main Concourse.
There are many retail stores to enjoy shopping, but no chain outlets, except for a Starbucks and the Apple Store. Shopping endeavors include a stationary store, divine Belgian chocolate and women’s accessories.