After Times Square, the Grand Central Terminal is the most toured destination in New York City, thanks to its beautiful sights, amazing history, brilliant architecture, incredible dining, and shopping – all available under one stunning roof. Officially opened on February 2, 1913, the NYK's iconic Grand Terminal is located in Midtown Manhattan, and is famous for being a transportation hub. Receiving about 750,000 daily visitors, this picturesque landmark features a rich history with a wonderful story of great engineering. Struggles, survival, and rebirth. Today, the terminal hosts the MTA Metro-North Railroad and is a subway station serving several subway lines. This is what to experience in the NYK's iconic Grand Central Terminal.
Experience The Grand Central Terminal’s Whispering Gallery
What's the story behind this beautiful gallery? Apart from being a major transportation hub, the Grand Central Terminal is known for its stunning architecture and incredible history. The Grand Terminal started small, first as a Grand Central Deport in 1871. Then it went through some changes and grew into the iconic Transportation Hub it is today, now extending to over 900,000 sq ft, with one small whispering gallery.
The gallery is mounted in the dining area of the terminal, right outside the Oyster Bar & Restaurant. If one takes a partner to the gallery and positions themselves at the opposite corners of the entryway, facing the walls, they'll be able to hear one another when they speak, as if they're next to one another. Before visiting and witnessing by oneself, it might be hard to believe. But it does happen, and it's one thing every traveler should get a chance to experience when touring the NYK’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.
How does this happen? It takes us back to how the constructors built the gallery's entryway. The low arches and the domed ceilings' curves allow sound to transmit through the arches. Travelers can always hear one another, even in the terminal's busiest moments. Who wouldn't want to experience this? The Whispering Gallery should be on every tourist's bucket list!
Witness The Grand Central Terminal’s Zodiac Ceiling
The terminal’s main concourse has something that catches the eyes of every visitor, especially those touring this place for the first time; the Zodiac Ceiling. The ceiling has 12 constellations painted in gold leaf and 2500 stars, with 59 being LED-illuminated. What most people don't realize is that the ceiling was painted upside down, which has led to questions on how this mix-up happened. But Cornelius Vanderbilt, the founder, and benefactor of the terminal claimed that the painting of the ceiling was intentional, to allow visitors to experience the ceiling from a "God's Point of View," and not human. The Grand Central Terminal's Zodiac Ceiling is one of its secrets, worth witnessing.
Explore The Information Booth Clock
While clocks are meant to tell time, they are more than that. Over the years, people have come up with new ways of tracking time in seconds, minutes, and hours. Now some clocks operate beyond that, and instead of simple clocks, they’ve become incredible works of art. The Grand Central Terminal’s Information Booth Clock is an example of such a clock. Mounted in the main area of the concourse, atop the information booth - this clock has been captured in many movies over the years and has been featured in postcards and marriage proposals. The locals who have served time in New York City are familiar with the phrase, "meet me at the clock!” This means that it is not just an ordinary clock, but “the clock,” and is truly a crown jewel of not just the Grand Terminal, but the whole city. No wonder it is so expensive, valued at $20 million!
Visit The Grand Central Market
Receiving 10,000 visitors a day, the Grand Central Market has more than 13 vendors selling fresh produce, an array of spices, meats, fresh seafood, cheeses, and bread, just to mention a few. It is built in European style, and will surely leave travelers in awe! The market has a long incredible history of more than 30 years in the Grand Central Terminal. The market is “sandwich-centric,” and offers different types of sandwiches, with a style of service found nowhere else within the terminal. One can stay and watch the deli men make customized sandwiches. This market has the most reliable vendors in the terminal, and travelers should pay a visit, maybe grab a drink, and have a taste of its delicious meats!
Grab A Cocktail At The Campbell Bar
Many travelers passing through the Grand Central Terminal don’t realize how close they are to this incredible historic gem. The bar used to be John W. Campbell’s office, the then railroad magnate. Although a popular bar for commuters, the Campbell Bar is a destination in its own right. Recently restored to its original splendor, this magnificent bar displays most of the designs from the 13th century, inspired by Florentine styles.
Visit The Vanderbilt Tennis Club
Situated on the fourth floor of the Grand Central Terminal, the Vanderbilt Tennis Club welcomes everyone to take part in playing tennis. The club provides travelers with an array of programs and services, with educational and recreational benefits. The programs guarantee a unique experience to visitors, and one can shop from their online tennis store. The rental fees for court vary, depending on the time and day of reservation.
There is always something to explore in New York’s Grand Central Terminal at any time. Exploring it would make an unforgettable tour experience.