My Quarter-Century Daily Destination, Grand Central Terminal, Celebrates 100 Years
Aside from my own home and the Time-Life Building across from Radio City Music Hall, Grand Central Terminal was the building I spent time the most time in, to and from my job. It was familiar, imposing, welcoming and spectacularly beautiful. * According to Grand Central's statistics and Travel +Leisure magazine, more than 21, 600,000 annual vistors come to the station making it the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world. Riding down the escalator from the 45th street side of the MetLife building entrance, I was provided with a visual introduction to the high-vaulted and renowned constellation ceiling. I'd find my track from an information board each night and begin that the railroad journey home.
"Selden paused in surprise. In the afternoon rush of the Grand Central Station his eyes had been refreshed by the sight of Miss Lily Bart. It was a Monday in early September, and he was returning to his work from a hurried dip into the country; but what was Miss Bart doing in town at that season?
If she had appeared to be catching a train, he might have inferred that he had come on her in the act of transition between one and another of the country-houses which disputed her presence after the close of the Newport season; but her desultory air perplexed him. She stood apart from the crowd, letting it drift by her to the platform or the street, and wearing an air of irresolution which might, as he surmised, be the mask of a very definite purpose. It struck him at once that she was waiting for some one, but he hardly knew why the idea arrested him. There was nothing new about Lily Bart, yet he could never see her without a faint movement of interest: it was characteristic of her that she always roused speculation, that her simplest acts seemed the result of far-reaching intentions."
— Edith Wharton's House of Mirth, via Project Gutenberg
A CENTURY OF TRANSPORTING NEW YORK
Grand Central Terminal stands as one of America's greatest transportation hubs and one of New York City's most iconic buildings. It is both a national institution and an international example of giving new life to an historic building that may otherwise have been destroyed. Over the course of a colorful and tumultuous 100-year history, Grand Central has gone from being simply the start and end points of long-distance rail travel, to being the iconic home of Metro-North Railroad and a destination for commuters, tourists and residents that boasts restaurants, cocktail lounges, a gourmet market, and numerous specialty shops. Its storied Vanderbilt Hall, once the receiving area for travelers, is one of the most-desired public events spaces in the city.
*My mother had spent most of her Parents' Magazine career on Vanderbilt Avenue, across the street from the terminal. However, her railway route was at Pennsylvania Station designed by architects McKim, Mead & White and sadly dismantled in 1963. "Until the first blow fell, no one was convinced that Penn Station really would be demolished, or that New York would permit this monumental act of vandalism against one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age of Roman elegance," lamented The New York Times.
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