Web Extras: Secrets of Grand Central Terminal

Web Extras: Secrets of Grand Central Terminal

January 23, 2013 at 10:43 am


When Grand Central Terminal turns 100 in February, the Centennial will be celebrated in a number of ways throughout the city.  It’s also being commemorated in prose and images.

Among such commemorations: a trenchant new book, “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America,” written by The New York Times Urban Affairs Correspondent Sam Roberts, which unlocks many of the secrets of Grand Central Terminal while chronicling its rich history.

MetroFocus details some of Grand Central’s lesser known milestones in this historical timeline – click the graphic and zoom to take a tour of Grand Central over the past 100 years.

As Roberts notes, Grand Central Terminal has been a vital part of New York. On its 100th birthday, it will approach an annual visitor count equaling half the population of the United States.  The Beaux-arts landmark is the world’s 6th most visited tourist attraction; its grand staircases and marbled concourses draw over 40 million subway users, 20 million out-of-town visitors, and almost 100 million Metro-North riders every year.  Still, despite such impressive  foot traffic, Grand Central manages to retain a cloud of mystery.

Web Extra: Sam Roberts on the secrets of Grand Central

In the latest episode of MetroFocus, we interviewed Roberts about his book.   “That’s what was so fascinating when I did the book – there were secrets I didn’t even know about,” Roberts told MetroFocus host, Rafael Pi Roman.  Roberts reveals more secrets in this web exclusive:

Author and New York Times Urban Affairs Correspondent, Sam Roberts, speaks with Rafael Pi Roman about some of Grand Central’s lesser known secrets.

As Roberts attests, there’s more to Grand Central than can be crammed into the common New York guide book.  Many people may know that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis played a role in the terminal’s historic preservation victory in the Supreme Court; and that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority spent over $5 million in 1996 to clean decades of tar from the ceiling of the Main Concourse.  But there’s more.

#GCT100: Social Media Celebrates 100 Years of Grand Central

So how has Grand Central transformed America and the world today?  @MetroFocus asked followers to tweet their first memories of Grand Central – check out the responses and add your own with the hashtag #GCT100.


MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.


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