20 Feb Facts to learn about Grand Central when you visit NYC
When you visit NYC, there are some NYC attractions that you cannot miss to visit. Grand Central Terminal is one such NYC site. It is without a doubt one of the most respected and recognized train stations on earth. The site was built to great architectural perfection that remains relevant through the sands of time. Many Hollywood movies like ‘Superman’ have it featured in some scenes. On your travel to New York, be sure to include this site in your New York City Tours. But while many have made a point of visiting this attraction, very few know its history. As a matter of fact some New Yorkers are devoid of the history of their very own site. Below are some historical facts to shed some light on what you should expect to hear about Grand Central Terminal when you visit NYC.
Back in the day, eons ago, in 1879, when the station was completed, it was referred to as the Grand Central Depot. Since then, it has undergone several reconstructions to make it what it is today. These reconstructions were in the year 1900 and in 1913. The 1913 station reconstruction was however warranted by a train accident that had occurred and claimed the lives of 17 persons. It was only after 1913 that the terminal was renamed to Grand Central Terminal. This was as a result of the addition of the New Haven, Hudson and Port Jervis terminals
Lost but found
Over the years, items that have been lost and found have over the years included a basset hound, an urn full of cremated ashes (it’s a wonder how one loses something of such great sentimental value, a marriage license (they must have been a newlywed couple excited for their honeymoon ahead), a turtle, false teeth and a wooden leg. It’s shocking how people can lose such items, but believe it or not, they do lose them.
Oak leaf and Acorn clusters are used throughout its exterior and interior. Right on top of the information booth clock is a compass made from brass and in the shape of an acorn. The clock in the station is estimated to be worth anywhere between $10 and $20 million. These pieces are to pay homage to Cornelius Vanderbilt who played a major financial role in the construction of the original Grand Central station – Grand Central Depot.
The basement referred to as M-42 (given that it is the main substation right under the 42nd street, is a whopping 13 stories deep. It was constructed in 1913 to make room for a power station that generated electricity to the surrounding buildings. The antique equipment of this basement are still intact and in the basement.
Most of the movies that were shot on this track, have been recorded on track 34. The reason it, it comes without columns. The very first time it featured on a film was in 1953. When the first film color movie, ‘the Band Wagon was’ being shot. In this scene, Fred Astaire got off the train and danced his way onto the platform. Before this, it was on screen in the early 1930’s on the movie ‘Puttin’ on Ritz’ Harry Richman was shot stumbling on the tracks.
To help distinguish the employees on the station and the kind of help they were predisposed to provide, the station has them wear hats of different colors. Messengers wore green while luggage carriers wore red. The practice has since been abandoned though Amtrak still has its luggage carriers wearing red caps.
Celebrity in Transit
Between the early 1920s and late 1960’s 20th Century limited used the subway to go from New York to Chicago and back. It was at the Grand Central Terminal that the staff would set up a red carpet on the 35th platform for the well of passengers like Bing Crosby, Better Davis and Bob Hope.
CBS television, back in 1939 opened its very first studio in Vanderbilt Hall. Walter Cronkite was the very first to hold the TV news on the platform in 1962.
When you visit NYC truth be told, you will want to take it all in at once. But you can’t. So start slow, have a list of NYC attractions you need and must visit as you learn more about them. Being pressed for time should however not be an excuse not to visit NYC.