Grand Central Terminal: Secrets, Tours, Markets

3:59 pm  |  31.08.2021

One of our favorite places in Grand Central Station is next to the dining area in the basement by the famous Oyster Bar. It is the Whispering Gallery or Whispering Wall.

The low ceramic arches with Guastavino tiles create an acoustic phenomenon there. If you stand in a corner under the arches and whisper something, you can understand it in the opposite corner.

You can imagine how often a romantic “I love you” has been whispered there. In fact, the Whispering Wall is also a popular place for marriage proposals.

The Little Black Brick

If you take a closer look at the impressive ceiling of the zodiac sign in the main hall, you can see a small, black brick right next to the zodiac sign Cancer.

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This brick shows what the ceiling of the main hall looked like before it was cleaned during restoration in the 90s. So the beautiful ceiling painting was pitch black! Why? Of course, the soot on the trains at the time was suspected to be the culprit. 70% of the pollution was nicotine and tar from the cigarettes when smoking was still allowed in the building.

The Secret Platform 61

The famous and luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel has its own platform (number 61), which was used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai Ewing Stevenson, and Douglas MacArthur.

A private underground corridor led to this platform exclusively for guests; even cars can use it. An old wagon still stands there today.

The Vanderbilt Tennis Club

Who is still surprised that you can also play tennis in Grand Central? There is actually a tennis court in a lesser-known area of ​​the station called the Annex. You can reach him on the fourth floor via the elevator at the Oyster Bar.

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John McEnroe and the Williams sisters have played on the course overlooking Park Avenue. It used to be an art gallery, a television studio for CBS, and even a 65-foot indoor ski area.

The Importance of the Oak Leaves

Take a closer look at the chandeliers, the elevators, and also the top of the golden clock. If you look out for it, you will find oak leaves and other images of oak trees all over Grand Central. The symbol of the powerful Vanderbilt family who financed the construction of the station.

Tours in Grand Central Station

The main hall of Grand Central Station

With this insider guide, you should be able to explore Grand Central Station pretty well on your own. However, this article would be endless if we really unpacked all of the interesting facts about the historic train station.

That’s why we recommend you explore New York’s largest train station with a local guide, who can show you and explain even the most unknown corners in detail.

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If you are interested in the interesting history and the many sights of the terminal, you can really explore everything there is to discover in the huge train station on a 90-minute tour of New York’s Grand Central Station.

Eat and Drink 

The Grand Central Market right in the terminal is popular with locals, especially business people from the surrounding office buildings. It is always well attended, but freshness is always a top priority here. From delicious baked goods, paninis, soups, fish, meat, cheese, and cakes, there is really everything here.

Stroll around between suit wearers and rushed secretaries and watch the city’s nannies shopping in the not-so-cheap market in Grand Central Terminal.

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Grand Central Market can be found east of the main hall near Platform 19, across from Lines 4, 5, and 6 in Lexington Passage, halfway down Graybar Passage, or from Lexington Avenue at 43rd St.

The Campbell Bar

For a particularly stylish experience, you can have a cocktail in the Campbell Bar and dream of the splendor of bygone times in Grand Central.

The premises previously served as the office and reception area of ​​John W. Campbell, the Jazz Age financier on the board of the New York Central Railroad. You can still recognize the original splendor in the bar by the hand-painted ceiling, the large stone fireplace, the centuries-old lead glass window, and Campbell’s personal steel safe.

Restaurants in Grand Central Station

Head upstairs to Grand Central Station for a special dinner under the stars at Cipriani Dolci or Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. want to order a good steak.

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Head downstairs for a quick bite or for a burger at Shake Shack. Instead, gourmets will get their money’s worth in the historic Oyster Bar & Restaurant.


The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal

The fact that Grand Central Station is much more than a large train station is also demonstrated by the fact that special events take place here throughout the year. Before you take a look at the station, it is best to first find out about upcoming events that you can experience there.

For example, the Taste of Grand Central Market event will take place from October 1st to 29th. Various treats and dishes are offered for only $ 2 on certain days.

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There are even more delicacies for Thanksgiving on November 27th. Then there’s a Thanksgiving Market at the taxi stand at Grand Central Station.

In winter we can especially recommend the Grand Central Holiday Fair. This is one of the nicest and longest-running indoor Christmas markets in New York. The Holiday Fair Committee is looking for special suppliers throughout the year with a focus on American and handcrafted products made from local materials or a socially responsible business model.

This year from November 18th to December 24th you will find over 40 selected small shops under the roof of Grand Central Station, where you have more than good chances of finding unique Christmas gifts.

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