Penn Station v. Grand Central: Rating the Railways

| July 29, 2011 4:12 PM

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!

The Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal. Tourists walk aimlessly, New Yorkers pass on through. Flickr/Dentarg.

  • 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.

Riders hover to read train times in Penn Station. The transit hub has a 2.5/5 rating on Yelp. Flickr/Cresny.

  • 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?

  • Tom

    As a place to go, Grand Central wins hands down, but as a transit hub, Penn is the place with LIRR, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak in residence. GC is all about MetroNorth (Westchester, Connecticut, etc. $$$) If they could just follow through with the conversion of the Post Office across the street, Penn could could compete to win the amenity war..

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