This weekend, the weather was a little dreary, so we decided to stay indoors and we decided to pay a visit to one of the most famous landmarks in New York City, the aptly named Grand Central Terminal. We unfortunately forgot that weekends in NYC means MTA (subway) Hell. Somehow, conveniently they have planned construction and repair work on all of the existing lines, creating confusion and delays. It’s stressful and nerve wracking for any native New Yorker to navigate the largest urban train system in the world, let alone for somebody from out of town which is why my husband and I probably spend most of our time in Astoria. It is important to preserve our mental health. Normally it would take us 1 train and approximately 20 minutes to get to Grand Central Terminal from our local train station. Today, it took us over an hour and 4 different trains. I wasn’t being dramatic when I told you it was hell. However, I’ve become committed to developing and building this blog. My goal is to share with you all, parts of our daily life both good and bad. So with that said, we sucked it up and kept going and I believe it was worth it.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Grand Central Terminal, it is a splendidly designed historical landmark in the center of Manhattan. It is located in the heart of NYC, at 42nd between Park and Lexington Avenue. It was opened in 1913 and still retained the same grandiosity and charm in 2017. Local commuters going or coming from their job crossing path with far flung travelers from places like Westchester (NY), Fairfield (CT) or New Heaven (CT) to just name a few. It is not only a commuter terminal but a destination also. It has shopping, dinning and cultural events to just name a few. They have over 60 shops and 35 places to eat including the world famous Grand Central Oyster Bar. Servicing over 750 000 daily visitors. In 2013, Grand Central Terminal hosted 21.6 million visitors putting it amongst the 10 most visited tourist attraction in the world.
You might recognized some of the locations like the famous information booth located in the middle of the main concourse. If you are a fan of the Tv show Gossip Girl like me, you might recognize it from the opening scene of the pilot episode.
As I previously mentioned the main Concourse is probably the most famous and recognizable part of Grand Central Terminal. You can’t help but, notice a very large American flag on display that was hung after the terrible attack on 9/11. Beside the information booth, you can’t help but notice the famous glistening four faced brass clock on top. As you stand by the information booth, set your gaze to the ceiling, which is remarkable in itself. Created in 1912, it is supposed to be a representation of the heavens. An urban legend has it that shortly after it was revealed to the citizens of NY. One astute New Yorker noticed to the embarrassment of the designers that it was painted backwards.
In the lower level, you’ll find the aptly « Dining Concourse ». You’ll find food for all tastes, from Shake Shack to pizza, tacos, Asian food and for desert the incredible Magnolia Bakery.
One of my personal favorite location in Grand Central Terminal is the Grand Central Market. It is a European-style gourmet market with everything fishmonger to butcher to fresh produces, bakery, health food, prepared food and gourmet cheeses… something for everyone. It is usually overwhelming for my husband and I between all the different colors, tastes and smells… especially for my husband that has to stop and look at everything. All of the produces look fresh and everything that we have ever brought home has been delicious. They have a Murray’s cheese stop located in the market with over 400 types of cheeses and charcuterie. There are all sorts of bread, croissants… That are baked right on the spot. The focus is on local and artisanal products and I would definitely recommend this market if you are looking to impress your guests or if you simply want to cook or bring home a delicious meals. We stopped by the seafood stand and purchased a few goodies (salmon croquettes, crab cakes, lobster and crab empanadas as well as lobster risotto puffs… yummy). I was even able to find some cute Christmas gifts for my family, which took a great deal of of my mind because I always have trouble finding the right Holliday gift.
My husband and I have a love affair with Grand Central Terminal. The architecture, splendor and energy along with it’s history often combine to make it a magical place. It has it owns unique atmosphere, whenever I walk through there I have the feeling I’m in a movie.
I would highly recommend if you are planning on visiting the terminal to go during the day, simply because the lighting is much better for pictures. Be careful because you will have to compete for some of the good vantage points with the various wedding parties coming through taking their wedding pictures. Other than that, you should take the time to wonder around. There is so many fun things to see and discover during your visit.
Have any of you visiting Grand Central yet? If so, can you tell us what is your favorite part? any anecdotes?