“Meet me at the clock.” Many recognize Grand Central Terminal by its landmark opal-faced clock located above the terminal’s information booth. For over a century, it’s been a popular meeting spot for travellers joining friends or colleagues in the Big Apple. Did you know the clock also serves as a compass? The point at the top is not merely a design, it aligns to the true north.
This well-known transportation hub has many other interesting attractions but they aren’t as easily spotted as the terminal’s famous brass timepiece. Travellers often head out onto the Manhattan streets each day without experiencing all the unique treasures tucked away inside this Historic Landmark. If only they knew where to look.
Head into the Main Concourse and glance up to the ceiling to take in an amazing display of gold-leaf painted constellations and countless stars. Astrology buffs may question why the constellations are painted backward. No, this is not done in error. It’s meant to give the viewer a divine perspective rather than a human one.
After the ceiling underwent a restoration in the 1990s, a small patch of the original dark brick was left untouched to show visitors what the ceiling was like prior to the restoration. One may assume the bricks had darkened due to soot from the trains. It was determined the dark patch was actually nicotine and tar from years of travellers smoking cigarettes as they hurried through the terminal to their destinations.
The Grand Central Oyster Bar
Enjoy one of the largest and freshest seafood menus the city has to offer. Sip a glass of wine from the award-winning wine selection while you choose one of the 30 varieties of oysters and other tasty seafood specialities.
On your way to the Oyster Bar, you’ll walk under a shimmering arched ceiling of ceramic tile known as Whispering Gallery. As the name implies, the arch provides acoustics that allows you to whisper to a friend from the opposite corner. Visitors enjoy testing out this theory. I imagine most folks whisper, “Can we eat now?”
Vanderbilt Tennis Club
Yes, you read that correctly there is even a tennis club inside Grand Central Terminal. It’s known as the Annex. If you’re surprised that a tennis club exists inside the terminal then you’ll be doubly surprised to learn it was once a ski slope as well as an art gallery and a TV studio. The club is open the public and is accessible by taking the elevator on the Oyster Bar ramp to the 4th floor. The club offers a full-size tennis court, 2 automated practice courts, and even a fully equipped fitness room. Grab your racquet and share a unique tennis experience on a court once used by tennis superstars John McEnroe and the Williams sister.
If you head out Grand Central Terminal from 42nd Street and Park Avenue you can glance back to view the terminal’s 2nd most famous clock. The clock adorns statuettes of the three Greek Gods most appropriate for train travel: Mercury, God of Speed; Hercules, God of Strength; and Minerva, God of intellect. The clock is 4.2 meters in diameter making it the largest example of Tiffany glass in the world.
The Campbell Bar
The Campbell Bar provides one of the best spots in the city for a drink and nibble while taking in the spender of old world charm and elegance. Gaze at the historic architecture in a room decorated with brass finishes and mohair furnishings. You can also visit The Campbell Terrace, an outdoor veranda or the Campbell Palm, offering views of the main terminal set under palm trees in this indoor oasis.
Grand Central Market
Visitors can shop the European-style gourmet market located on the Lexington Ave side of the terminal. You’ll find a variety of the highest quality seafood, cheese, meat and freshly baked bread. All items are locally sources with only local vendors onsite.