Grand Central Terminal: The Insider Guide

4:28 pm  |  30.08.2021

Who does not know the famous Grand Central Station in the heart of Manhattan? As one of the largest train stations in the world, it is a symbol of the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps. In this insider guide, we show you which secrets the Grand Central Station in New York hides and what you absolutely have to see there.

As the backdrop for many films and as the largest transport hub next to Penn Station and the Port Authority, Grand Central Station is a must-see for every visitor to New York. By the way, we explored every corner of New York’s most famous train station for you and discovered a few secrets next to one of the hippest food markets in the city.

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The Most Important Information about Grand Central Station

Normal weekday at Grand Central Station

The famous New York train station is much more than just a transportation hub. In addition to the many platforms, the chic roof also includes a shopping, dining, and cultural center with over 60 shops, 35 restaurants, and food spots, and a calendar of events that is always full.

Outside of Manhattan’s gigantic skyscrapers, don’t be fooled by the inconspicuous impression of the small train station building. After all, the huge rail network and the heart of Grand Central Station do not soar high into the sky, but far below the earth.

Incidentally, the largest train station in the world is also the most visited building in New York: before the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Rockefeller Center.

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10 interesting facts about Grand Central Station:

  • Almost 600,000 people use the train station every day – that’s as many as there are people in San Francisco!
  • The Grand Central Terminal has 44 platforms and 67 tracks on two levels.
  • A train arrives at Grand Central Station about every 58 seconds today.
  • With an area of 19 hectares, the station is three times the size of Ground Zero.
  • There are 110 light bulbs in each of the 10 golden chandeliers in the main hall.
  • In addition over 50,000 items land in the terminal’s lost property office every year.
  • Without the support of Jacqueline Kennedy, the terminal would likely have been demolished.
  • The Grand Central Terminal has been a listed building since 1976.
  • Up until 1998, the terminal was refurbished for eight years for an impressive 600 million dollars.
  • In 2013 New York celebrated a great anniversary: 100 years of Grand Central Station.

The Ceiling of the Main Hall

In the cathedral-like main hall of Grand Central Station, the beautiful ceiling painting will definitely catch your eye. 12 constellations painted with gold leaf and 2500 stars shine on the turquoise-blue ceiling! 59 of these are also illuminated with LEDs. This site is really special above the hustle and bustle of travelers.

On closer inspection, however, not only astronomers will find something strange. This is because the zodiac signs were painted in reverse order. Nobody knows exactly how the mix-up came about, however, Grand Central’s founder Cornelius Vanderbilt claimed it was by design. The zodiac should supposedly be viewed from above from a divine perspective – we have our doubts there, but still, find the ceiling absolutely worth seeing.

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The Gold Clock in the Main Hall

It is the crown jewel of Grand Central Station: the four-sided gold watch. It is unmistakably enthroned above the information stand in the center of the main hall and is considered the most expensive station clock in the world. Its face is made of opal, the value of the watch up to 20 million dollars.

In addition, the famous opal clock is the most popular meeting point in Grand Central and over 1000 questions are answered daily at the information desk below it.

Like all clocks in the terminal, the opal clock is driven by the atomic clock in the U.S. Naval Observatory in Bethesda and is accurate to one second every 20 billion years.

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Note: In order for passengers to get to their train on time, the clocks on the display board in Grand Central Station go one minute ahead.

The Tiffany Clock & the Park Avenue Viaduct

The opal clock is by no means the only watch in Grand Central that is worth seeing. The huge Tiffany Clock is almost as famous. At 14 feet in diameter (over 4 meters), it is made from the largest Tiffany glass in the world.

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The valuable clock is adorned with a statue of Greek gods, each representing a virtue of the railway:

Mercury: Speed.

Hercules: Strength.

Minerva: Intellect.

It took over 7 years to complete the 48-foot, 1,500-ton statue titled Transportation. You should definitely take a look at the Tiffany clock with the statue, preferably from the corner of 42nd Street and Park Avenue.

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From there you can also see the striking Pershing Square Viaduct in front of the Grand Central Terminal. It is usually illuminated with LEDs according to current events and holidays, so that you can see it glowing from a distance, especially in the evening on 42nd Street.

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