Penn Station v. Grand Central: Rating the Railways
Grand Central Terminal is about to add two new revenue-building establishments to its already full roster. But who should really get the popular Apple Store and the trendy Shake Shack: Grand Central or Pennsylvania Station?
Grand Central appears to be working hard to position itself as the best train station in the whole wide world (or at least in New York City). But honestly, it doesn’t really seem necessary. It’s only competition here is Penn Station, and we all know how that beast deserves to be tamed.
Here’s our comparison of the two transportation terminals. You be the judge!
- DESIGN: Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall — used for events and known for its high domed ceiling and picturesque staircases — is a tourist attraction for its architecture alone. Penn Station flaunts Madison Square Garden, used for concerts, basketball games and… bull riding. Also, Grand Central has three floors, each possessing a dainty name — the Balcony, the Main and the Dining Concourse — while the labyrinthine passageways of Penn Station have been referred to as a “confusing catacomb.”
- WEBSITE: The Midtown East-based Grand Central Terminal boasts a fancy website reminiscent of an upscale hotel’s, while its Midtown West counterpart has a clunky MTA and Amtrak site, and it’s not even in the top five results on Google.
- PLATFORMS: Grand Central has 44 platforms, making it the largest train station in the world. Penn Station has 11.
- RETAIL OPTIONS: There are over 30 fine-dining, body care and clothing stores like Cipriani Dolci, L’Occitane and Kenneth Cole at Grand Central. Penn Station patrons can shop in an underground K-Mart, enjoy Sbarro by the slice and glazed sensations by Krispy Kreme.
- CUSTOMER RATINGS: Grand Central was rated a 4.5/5 on Yelp. Many of the complaints listed center around its excessive fanciness, which attracts crowds of admirers on top of those already pulsing through this 48-acre station. Users complained that Penn Station, which has a 2.5/5 rating, is dirty, ugly, old, poorly designed, hot, crowded and smelly, among other things.
So you tell us, who really needs the boost from that Shake Shack and Apple Store?