Grand Central Terminal: Restored, Rejuvinated and still Spectacular!

Real Estate Agent with The Corcoran Group

 1871 Originally Grand Central Depot Reborn "Grand Central Station"

Constructed of glass and steel, it rivaled the Eiffel Tower and Crystal Palace as one of the most dramatic engineering achievement of the 19th century. When the steam locomotive era ended the existing station was demolished to create a new double level terminal for electric trains.

Re built "Grand Central Terminal"

In 1913 Grand Central Terminal opened and became an anchor for the real estate development in the midtown Manhattan neighborhood.

During the 1920's, hotels and apartment buildings began to rise on Park Avenue, skyscrapers simultaneously were erected along East 42nd Street. On Lexington Avenue, the Hotel Commodore opened  and the Graybar Building and Chrysler building each with a passageway connection to Grand Central's Main Concourse.

As the neighborhood prospered, so did Grand Central. Grand Central Terminal, at various times, housed an art gallery, an art school, a newsreel movie theater, a rail history museum, and numerous temporary exhibitions.  All the while, it remained the busiest train station in the country, with a bustling Suburban Concourse on the lower level and famous long-distance trains like the Fast Mail, the Water-Level Limited, the Wolverine, and the Twentieth Century Limited departing from its Main Concourse. 

In the 1960's The Pan Am building (now The Met Life building) was constructed above Grand Central Terminal and blocked it's view and entrance from Park Avenue. The railroad owners wanted to demolish the building for the expensive real estate values. The city created The Landmark Preservation law to protect landmark buildings. Penn Central the rail conglomerate and owner had plans to build a 55 story building and sued the city of NY for $8 million dollars fighting the new landmark law.

City and community leaders, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, rallied against changes to Grand Central Terminal.  In December 1976, the National Register of Historic Places named Grand Central Terminal as a National Historic Landmark. The Penn Central lawsuit went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which on June 26, 1978, upheld New York's landmark law.

In 1994, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) gained long-term control of Grand Central Terminal in the form of a 110-year lease from American Premier Underwriters, Inc., successor to the Penn Central Corporation.  Along with developer partnerships they implemented a comprehensive revitalization plan based on the Master Plan for Grand Central Terminal.  Construction began in 1996 with the cleaning of the Main Concourse Sky Ceiling. 

The revitalization project culminated with a gala Rededication Celebration of Grand Central Terminal that I was priveledged to attend in 1998. This event marked the beginning of a new chapter of this spectacular New York City landmark.

Grand Central TerminalToday Grand Central is completely restored back to it's 1913 splendor, Grand Central has become a Manhattan destination for it's 5 star restaurants including the Oyster Bar & Restaurant the Landmark seafood restaurant on the lower level.

The Campbell Apartment has been fully restored to its original splendor -- and reborn as a chic cocktail lounge, formerly the private office and salon of 1920's tycoon, John W. Campbell.

Cipriani Dolci, Charlie Palmer's Métrazur, and Michael Jordan's The Steak House N.Y.C. are among the restaurants, cocktail lounges and shops. Casual Dining international eateries are in the lower level Dining Concourse.

Gourmet foods from the Food Halls of Grand Central Market include Zaro's Bread Basket, Wild Edibles, Pescatore Seafood Company, Penzeys Spices, Oren's Daily Roast, Murray's Cheese, Li-Lac Chocolates, Koglin German Hams, Greenwich Produce, Dishes at Home, Corrado Bread & Pastry, Ceriello Fine Foods and Bella Cucina. There are also 50 unique specialty Shops throughout the concourses, all in addition to train transportation.

Vanderbilt Hall, the Terminal's 12,000 square foot former Main Waiting Room, is the site for ongoing free promotions and entertainment events. New York Transit Museum Gallery & Store is located in the shuttle passway.

Commuters and travelers running to catch a train or subway - no matter how late they are pause to take in the magnificent man-made-wonder of Grand Central Terminal.

Architecural Features:

  • Triumphal arches flanked by Corinthian columns at entranceway
  • World-renowned, 50-foot-high sculpture by Jules- Alexis Coutan of Mercury, Minerva and Hercules
  • New York icon timepieces: 13-foot, century-old Tiffany clock above entrance; famous four-faced gold clock on top of information booth inside
  • Double staircase in Botticino marble modeled after the Paris Opera House
  • 470-foot-long Main Concourse, longer than the nave of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
  • Vaulted Sky Ceiling of zodiac constellations painted by French artist Paul Helleu

One of the reasons so many New Yorkers fought to save Grand Central from the wrecking ball is because Pennsylvania Station, Manhattan's other station on the west side of Manhattan originally the monumental 1910 Beaux-Arts masterpiece of architects McKim, Mead and White, was leveled, and replaced with the fourth Madison Square Garden.

15 years ago a determined Senator Moynihan said it's time to rebuild Penn Station. The Farley post office is being transformed into the new Penn Station (The Moynihan Station) The plans look more spectacular even than Grand Central. "From Penn Station to Moynihan Station"

For more information including the complete history of the advent of the railroad in NYC, the history of Grand Central Terminal and information on it's shops, food, restaurant menus, tours and events visit the Grand Central website


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Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Broker

You brought me back to my days of living in NY, it has been a long time, What a grand old building, interesting I just did a Localism post today about a grand old building in Bellingham, The Whatcom museum, not quite as grandiose as grand central, nor was my post as grandiose as yours.

Great Job

Jun 13, 2007 10:16 PM #1
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn


Thanks for stopping by and the nice compliment.  I'm going to read your post about The Whatcom museum

Jun 13, 2007 11:00 PM #2
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
hiya Mitchell, wow, this is amazing! what a beautiful post. TG they did not tear it down! And I guess Transit Oriented Development was proven successful as early as 1913! :-)
Jun 15, 2007 07:55 PM #3
Linda Davis
RE/MAX Home Team - Gales Ferry, CT
What a great post Mitchell!  Lots of work on your part I'm sure but so enjoyable for the rest of us. As far as the subject,  I am proud to have seen the before and after! 
Jun 15, 2007 08:09 PM #4
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn


I thought of you and The Ohio 3 C's Hub while I was writing it. Yes transit oriented development in 1913.


Thank you, It started out as a small post about Grand Central today the renovation and restaurants but the more I found out about the history I couldn't help adding to it.

Jun 15, 2007 10:42 PM #5
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
The most amazing thing is that Grand Central looks as glorious as it did when it was built. What a wonderful story; I can't wait to train to NYC and take advantage of it and see it in all it's refurbished glory. Thank's Mitchell!
Jun 15, 2007 11:14 PM #6
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn
Carole I will meet you by the clock under the zodiac ceiling and then we can go have lunch at The Oyster Bar
Jun 16, 2007 08:32 AM #7
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

great post, I really enjoyed it.

Patricia Aulson/Lic NH/ME/MA

Jun 16, 2007 11:34 AM #8
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert,Lecturer,Author,Artist
Wait, I'm Carole with an "E" too....and love New York, too.  That building is magnificent, it amazes me every time I go in.  The ceiling is spectacular.  I didn't know it was ever in jeporady of being torn down...but so glad to see it will always be there.  Great post, thank you!
Jun 16, 2007 11:45 AM #9
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information
Thanks for this. The Oyster Bar has always been a favorite.
Jun 16, 2007 05:55 PM #10

Good Grief Mitchell.  If you continue at this rate, I'll learn to like NYC.


Jun 16, 2007 06:08 PM #11
Brad Carroll
Dakno Marketing - Knightdale, NC
Real Estate Web Designer
Great post.  I just got back from visiting NYC last week with my wife. I have been there before but it was a first for her. I still am amazed every time I walk in to that place!
Jun 16, 2007 08:48 PM #12
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

The clock under the zodiac and the Oyster Bar! Can't wait :-)  And now I have to go in and google the info Tad mentioned above that sounds like a good read. There is no place like NYC.

Jun 16, 2007 11:04 PM #13
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Patricia, Thank you for stopping by and for the nice compliment

Carole with an "E" too You will have to meet us at the clock too. Jacki Kennedy really saved Grand Central. Landmark preservation was her big cause, she also saved a gorgeous church on Park AvenueSt. Bartholomews Church  St. Bart's

Tad, That show sounds really interesting. I enjoy those shows on discovery channel, history channel and PBS.

Gary, thanks for stopping by. One of my favorites too.

Anonymous It's hard to not like NYC anymore. ;-)

Brad, It is an amazing place, I admire it's beauty evey time I'm in that grand place.

Carole, And don't forget the train museum lol

Jun 17, 2007 12:14 AM #14
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
This is great! I saw a little on tv a month or so ago and they were saying it took a long time to get the ceiling clean!
Jun 17, 2007 02:32 AM #15
Laurie Manny
Long Beach CA Real Estate - Long Beach, CA


You have done it again, fabulous post.  

Jun 17, 2007 05:52 AM #16
Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive Realty - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC
Gorgeous!  Makes me think back to my days working on Wall Street and commuting through Grand Central every morning.  This little Southern gal felt like a part of New York going into that gorgeous piece of architecture.
Jun 17, 2007 07:09 PM #17
Jennifer Walker-Derby
Re/Max Westside - Marietta, GA
Real Estate Extraordinaire
thanks for sharing all that information, even as a history buff I knew nothing of the landmark.
Jun 17, 2007 07:15 PM #18
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Celeste, Thanks for stoping by. I think it took a few years to clean

Laurie, Thank you I appreciate the compliment

Leigh, Wow I didn't know you worked on Wall Street...kewl

Jennifer, my pleasure, thank you for reading it.

Jun 17, 2007 10:51 PM #19
Concetta Pepenella-Timmons
Remax Metro Staten Island, New York - Staten Island, NY
Associate Broker
Reminds me of all the reasons I Love New York!
Jun 18, 2007 01:01 PM #20
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