GRAND CEN­TRAL TER­MI­NAL E 42nd St and Park Ave

Business Traveler (USA) - - COVER STORY -

Among Man­hat­tan’s trans­porta­tion hubs, none is more grand than Grand Cen­tral. Cel­e­brat­ing its 100th birth­day this year, the ter­mi­nal’s ex­quis­ite beaux arts ar­chi­tec­ture was a won­der when it opened in 1913 – and still is to­day. Saved from the wreck­ing­ball fate of its down­town sis­ter, the much lamented Penn­syl­va­nia Sta­tion, Grand Cen­tral un­der­went a two-year re­fur­bish­ment in 1998, with the World War II black­out paint re­moved from the win­dows and the blue and gold-leaf zodiac mu­ral on the ceil­ing, il­lu­mi­nated with thou­sands of lights, com­pletely re­stored. But this is no his­tor­i­cal ar­ti­fact; Grand Cen­tral is the world’s big­gest rail­road sta­tion (by num­ber of plat­forms) and is one of the na­tion’s busiest rail hubs, host­ing 750,000 pas­sen­gers a day. The ter­mi­nal’s as­sort­ment of restau­rants, pubs and shops – in­clud­ing the fa­mous Oys­ter Bar – en­ter­tain thou­sands more.

If you hap­pen to be in town on a Fri­day af­ter­noon, the Grand Cen­tral Part­ner­ship of­fers a free, no-reser­va­tions-re­quired, award-win­ning walk­ing tour of Grand Cen­tral and its en­vi­rons guided by real his­to­ri­ans. The tour meets at 12:30 PM in the sculp­ture court at 120 Park Av­enue. If Fri­day’s not on your itin­er­ary, a num­ber of tour op­tions are avail­able via the Grand Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal Web site, in­clud­ing an au­dio tour and a daily guided tour.Visit grand­cen­tral­ter­mi­nal.com

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