In the winter of 1913, Grand Central Station was officially opened and immediately became one of the most beautiful and recognizable Manhattan landmarks. Read more...
In the winter of 1913, Grand Central Station was officially opened and immediately became one of the most beautiful and recognizable Manhattan landmarks. In this celebration of the one hundred year old terminal, Sam Roberts of The New York Times looks back at Grand Central's conception, amazing history, and the far-reaching cultural effects of the station that continues to amaze tourists and shuttle busy commuters.
Along the way, Roberts will explore how the Manhattan transit hub truly foreshadowed the evolution of suburban expansion in the country, and fostered the nation's westward expansion and growth via the railroad.
Featuring quirky anecdotes and behind-the-scenes information, this book will allow readers to peek into the secret and unseen areas of Grand Central -- from the tunnels, to the command center, to the hidden passageways.
With stories about everything from the famous movies that have used Grand Central as a location to the celestial ceiling in the main lobby (including its stunning mistake) to the homeless denizens who reside in the building's catacombs, this is a fascinating and, exciting look at a true American institution.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-02-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Roberts delivers the story of one of the most famous transportation hubs in the world and how it shaped Midtown Manhattan into the bustling, thriving center of commerce and entertainment it is today. This is also a history of railroads in New York, from horse-pulled streetcars, to steam engines, to the electric trains brought to the city by Grand Central's chief engineer William Wilgus. Credited with being the first person to monetize "air rights", Wilgus conceived of Grand Central as a 12 story building with the terminal below and 2.3 million square feet above to be rented out to businesses. Roberts, the New York Times's Metro Matters columnist, covers the details of the construction of Grand Central as well as its massive renovation in the 1990's. He describes the massive changes in Midtown area after its initial construction, including the arrival of luxury hotels and office towers. "With Grand Central acting as an anchor," he writes, "Park Avenue was elevated into New York's most prestigious address." A wonderful volume for New York City history buffs or railroad aficionados, Roberts closes with discussions of some of the terminal's quirks and mysteries like the ubiquitous decorative acorns, the secret staircase, and various secret underground locations. (Feb.)