Monday, January 2, 2017

Take a Tour of Grand Central Terminal

I had the pleasure of experiencing the Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour which is offered $6 for Adults, discounts for seniors and disabled for $9, students $4 and $7 discounted (seniors, military, students, kids) I have visited the terminal many, many times and enjoy it's beauty as well as shops and eateries. I thought it would be really cool to take this tour and be able to give you some information about it, being a very affordable treat while in the city.  

This is also a great winter activity since you are indoors and don't have to worry about the cold weather! 

This is where you start the tour and it is available 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A big thank you to Jason for allowing me to take this tour in order to share it with my blog readers! Jason really worked with me and my schedule changes to do this wonderful tour. 
How gorgeous is this ceiling? The tour starts with a welcome from the Mayor himself, Michael Bloomberg, which is a nice touch. This tour is an excellent way to obtain history of this magnificent building. You can have a long or short tour, depending on how much time you have available, which I thought was a great idea. Here is some info on the terminal from their website: 
Shipping magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt acquired the Hudson River Railroad in 1864.  Soon after, Vanderbilt added the New York Central Railroad to his holdings and consolidated his position by creating a rail-link between Spuyten Duyvil and Mott Haven, allowing Hudson River trains to arrive at a common East Side terminal.  In 1869, Vanderbilt purchased property between 42nd and 48th Streets, Lexington and Madison Avenue for construction of a new train depot and rail yard.  On this site would rise the first Grand Central.
Grand Central Terminal officially opened to great fanfare at 12:01 am on Sunday, February 2, 1913, and more than 150,000 people visited the new terminal on its opening day.  Although construction was not yet entirely complete, Grand Central Terminal had arrived and New York City would never be the same again.
With Grand Central acting as an anchor, development around the terminal took off.  Between 1913 and 1917, the Biltmore Hotel, the Yale Club, and two office buildings were constructed on railroad property across Vanderbilt Avenue.  During the 1920's, as hotels and apartment buildings began to rise on the "air rights" tracts of Park Avenue, skyscrapers simultaneously sprang up along East 42nd Street.  Warehouses gave way to the 56-story Chanin Building, the 54-story Lincoln Building and the 77-story Chrysler Building.  On Lexington Avenue, the Hotel Commodore opened in 1919, and the Eastern Offices Building -- better known as the Graybar Building -- was completed in 1927, each with a passageway connection to Grand Central’s Main Concourse.
The clock above may be worth more than $10 million, according to auction house estimates. That's because of the four opal faces on the clock. Everyone says " Meet Me at the Clock" and you know it means this gorgeous clock.  
Breathtaking view, no ?  
The famous Tiffany Clock, which is the largest Tiffany clock in the world at 13 feet in diameter is just gorgeous! When the Tiffany clock had to be restored, it took twelve years. That’s partially because the staircase that leads to the clock is so narrow that each piece had to be removed individually, write the restorers at Rohlf’s Stained and Leaded Glass. There was also extensive damaged since its installation in 1914, so the process involved both repair and replication, in the case of missing parts. Then everything had to be reinstalled piece by piece. Thank goodness for the restorers and their dedicated work. 
As the neighborhood prospered, so did Grand Central.  Grand Central Terminal, at various times, housed an art gallery, an art school, a newsreel movie theater, a rail history museum, and innumerable temporary exhibitions.  All the while, it remained the busiest train station in the country, with a bustling Suburban Concourse on the lower level and famous long-distance trains like the Fast Mail, the Water-Level Limited, the Wolverine, and the Twentieth Century Limited departing from its Main Concourse.  In 1947, over 65 million people -- the equivalent of 40% of the population of the United States -- traveled the rails via Grand Central Terminal.
Grand Central went downhill in the 1950's and almost got the wrecking ball! But luckily for us, it was restored to all it's Beaux-Arts( the style of architecture) glory, and in December, 1976, it was declared a National Historic Landmark with the help of Jackie Kennedy Onassis
After many millions of dollars in repairs, restoration and updated plans it re-opened to a huge gala event October 1, 1998. 
This is the Lower Level Dining Concourse....just so pretty and colorful !!

I would highly recommend this tour to anyone. It is very affordable and you can go at your own pace which is awesome. You can also download the tour to your iphone/smartphone and the tour comes in different languages as well. They also give you a little booklet with some coupons for dining in the Lower Level Concourse. Then when you are done with the tour: 
A special Magnolia Bakery Grand Central Terminal Cupcake would be in order !! 

Grand Central Terminal
42nd Street and 3rd Avenue
New York, New York 


Listeners can take the "local" or "express" tour. And if visitors are interested in more in-depth information, there are options for additional material at the push of a button. The self-guided tour can last as little as 30 minutes to just over an hour.
The tour is available in English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, and German.

Docent Led Tours Also Available

The tour lasts 75 minutes and departs each day at 12:30 pm. The cost is $25 for adults or $20 for seniors (65+), students with valid ID, children under 10 years old, military, and MAS Members with valid ID. Group rates for 10 or more people, and private tours are also available. Call 212-464-8255 for more information.Get tickets to the docent-led tour, or visit the ticket window marked "GCT Tours" located in the Main Concourse. (Space is limited)

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Disclosure: I was provided a ticket for this audio tour by Grand Central Terminal for this review. There has been no monetary compensation for this post. I only recommend products that I feel will be of interest to my readers, and that I am truly impressed by. All opinions are my own. Thank you!!


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