Grand Central Terminal is a commuter and intercity railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, who had already made a fortune in shipping, saw great opportunities for rail service into and out of Manhattan. In 1867, he gained control of the New York Central Railroad. Two years later, after acquiring the Hudson River Railroad, he merged it with the New York Central. Then by 1870, with his purchase of the Harlem River Railroad, Vanderbilt had a complete monopoly of all passenger and freight rail traffic into and out Manhattan. In 1869, he had bought a huge parcel of land between what are now 42nd and 47th streets, on the south and north, and Madison Avenue to 4th Avenue on the west and east. On the site, Vanderbilt erected the Central Station Depot; an imposing steel and glass train shed. The Depot was fed by tracks from the North running along Park Avenue, (formerly 4th Avenue). Closer to the Depot, the tracks multiplied out into a vast yard of switching and shunting lines to accommodate the traffic coming and going from the Depot’s numerous platforms.
Situated within its center is the information booth and sitting atop it is undoubtedly the building’s most renowned feature, the four-faced clock; its faces, made of opal, are estimated to be worth between $15 and $20 million! The canopy is not your ordinary ceiling. Artist Paul Cesar Helleu of France was hired to sculpt a work of art resembling the heavens when travelers looked skyward. For added effect the stars featured in the scene were lit with small bulbs! Today, fiber optics is used. Another of the building’s impressive engineer feats is its employment of an extra, lower-level concourse to separate commuters from long-distance travelers. Here, located underground were 46 tracks in addition to a 70-acre rail yard. The foresight would prove invaluable (albeit the automobile was catching on about the time of GCT’s opening) as the station would reach its peak use during World War II witnessing over 63 million travelers pass through its halls each year during 1945 and 1946.
At the official opening of Grand Central Terminal, in 1913, the New York Times boasted that “without exception it is not only the greatest station in the United States, but the greatest station, of any type, in the world.” A recent PBS documentary noted that, after the construction of Grand Central, the traveler “no longer saw a great shed filled with billowing steam engines. Instead electric driven engines were hidden on many levels below. What the eye saw was a wonderful, well proportioned, beautifully detailed building, one that reflected human history and celebrated humanity.”
In the “Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment”, the noted British architecture critic Reyner Banham proclaimed the rise of electrical technology as “the greatest environmental revolution in human history since the domestication of fire.” Electric lighting completely transformed the design and use of private and public spaces. The electric elevator made possible soaring skyscrapers. The story of Grand Central Station is another striking illustration of the role of electricity in provoking new and imaginative approaches to architecture and urban design.
Exactly one week na ako dito sa NYC. First time ko rin pumunta sa Grand Central Station. Nakakamangha ang laki, ang daming tao, pasahero and iba turista galing sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo. May nakasabay kaming Filipino sa train, isa itong patunay na kahit saan may mga Filipino talaga.
Ibang-iba ito sa LRT o MRT sa Pilipinas, dito makikita mo kung gaano sila kaadvance. Mapapaisip ka na sana sa ating bansa ganito din ka progresibo para maranasan ng ating mga kababayan ang ginhawa ng transportasyon na hindi kailangan mag-antay, makipagsiksikan. Maling ikumpara ang nakikita ko dito sa Amerika pero hindi ko rin mapigilan ang aking sarili na mangarap.
I have a good man on my side. He never fails to amazed me. Spoils me everyday. I am so blessed to have him. This is the life I was dreaming of, I am fortunate enough to experience it.