Grand Central Terminal is a commuter railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States. Built by and named for the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel, it covers 48 acres and has 44 platforms, more than any other railroad station in the world. Its platforms, all below ground, serve 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower, though the total number of tracks along platforms and in rail yards exceeds 100.
The four-faced brass clock on top of the information booth, perhaps the most recognizable icon of Grand Central, was designed by Henry Edward Bedford and cast in Waterbury, Connecticut. Each of the four clock faces is made from opalescent glass (now often called opal glass or milk glass, though urban legend has it that the faces are made of opal and that Sothebys’ and Christie’s have estimated their value to be between $10 million and $20 million. A 1954 New York Times article on the restoration of the clock notes that “Each of the glass faces was twenty-four inches in diameter….” Within the marble and brass pagoda lies a “secret” door that conceals a spiral staircase leading to the lower-level information booth. The Main Concourse is the center of Grand Central. At 275Â ft. long by 120Â ft. wide by 125Â ft. high, the cavernous Main Concourse is usually filled with bustling crowds, and is often used as a meeting place. The ticket booths are in the Main Concourse, although many now stand unused or have been repurposed since the introduction of ticket vending machines.
The Dining Concourse, below the Main Concourse and connected to it by numerous stairs, ramps, and escalators, provides access to the lower-level tracks. It has central seating and lounge areas, surrounded by restaurants. By the 1980s, the ceiling was obscured by decades of what was thought to be coal and diesel smoke. Spectroscopic examination revealed that it was mostly tar and nicotine from tobacco smoke. A 12-year restoration ef fort was completed in autumn 1996, restoring the ceiling to its original design. A single dark patch above the Michael Jordan Steakhouse was left untouched by renovators to remind visitors of the grime that once covered the ceiling.
We did stop often and speak with the many policemen, who were protecting the city during this busy time of the year.