Grand Central is one of the busiest train stations and if you stop to look around, it’s also one of the most beautiful.
Traveling through it at least once a week, it’s easy to forget to look around and appreciate its beauty – especially when you’re busy battling thousands of other people for precious walking space. The building is massive, and has more tracks than any other station in the world (67).
The original Grand Central was built in 1871 by Cornelius Vanderbilt. That building was demolished and the new Grand Central was built over it in 1913 with incredible new features.
The building has its fair share of secrets and “hidden” spots that everybody knows about. Somewhere under the Terminal, there’s a sub-basement that Hitler once tried to sabotage during World War II. Luckily, his two spies were captured by the FBI. Elsewhere under the terminal is a platform with an elevator that leads directly up to the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, which FDR supposedly used to avoid being seen when he came to New York. Until recently, there were even tennis courts above Vanderbilt Hall.
The Campbell Apartment was rediscovered and refurbished during the station’s restoration in the 1990s, and is now open to the public as a cocktail lounge. In the 1920s it was the office of John W. Campbell, a millionaire financier.
Grand Central also has several other restaurants and an entire floor of shops and quick food options. The Oyster Bar has always been my favorite and has a great old school charm about it.
The beautiful ceiling is 125 feet high, and covered with an astrological mural painted in gold leaf. Now if I could only remember to look up every once in a while.