Saturday, February 2, 2013
100 years ago: New York’s Grand Central Terminal was opened to the public at midnight on February 2, 1913, at a time when rail transport dominated America and automobiles were a novelty. Built by and named for Cornelius Vanderbilt’s New York Central Railroad, it replaced two earlier buildings. It is the world’s largest train station by number of platforms (44), on two levels, with 67 tracks alongside, covering 48 acres. At the center is the vast Main Concourse, 275 feet long and 125 feet high. Its main information booth is a renowned meeting place, highlighted by the most famous icon of Grand Central, a large, four-faced clock (pictured). Its faces are made from opal (a precious mineraloid), and it’s now valued at $10M to $20M. Acorns and oak leaves, symbols adopted by the Vanderbilts, are carved in stone throughout the terminal (“from an acorn a mighty oak shall grow”). If built today, Grand Central would cost $2 billion.