by Evan Bindelglass, CBSNewYork.com
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - As we continue our tour of spots in New York that are off limits to the general public, what better place to profile than the Grand Central Terminal, which just celebrated its centennial.
Grand Central Terminal is the world’s largest rail terminal. It covers 49 acres, going from 42nd Street all the way up to 97th Street, with Park Avenue essentially built on much of its roof.
It’s among the six most visited sites in New York City. Every day, 750,000 people go through Grand Central, but about 200,000 of them don’t ever board a train. Many people just go there for lunch or a tour – but not like this one.
Metro-North Railroad’s Dan Brucker served as tour guide.
People will immediately recognize the massive arched windows on the east and west sides of the main concourse. Running behind those huge windows are a series of catwalks at various levels, mostly for maintenance (and the odd lucky journalist).
The view from the fifth floor catwalk on the east side is impressive.
SKYLIGHTS FROM ABOVE
Among the beauties of Grand Central are the various bare-bulb chandeliers. Here are the chandeliers along the south side of the main concourse, hanging below skylights.
Here is what the skylights look like from above.
METRO-NORTH MASTER CONTROL ROOM
It is from this room that the entire railroad is kept on track. Brucker said the people in this room know where every single piece of equipment is. If a train has a maintenance issue is, they know exactly where to find its replacement.
Behind master control is a series of ladders and narrow passages that lead to a one-of-a-kind work of art and time-keeping.
Eight stories over 42nd Street is the iconic clock. It is the largest example of Tiffany glass at 13 feet in diameter.
Around the clock are the gods and goddesses that represent a railroad and how to run a railroad correctly. As Brucker said, there is Mercury for “swiftness of speed” and “for industry.” Hercules, known for his strength, is also there, as is Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.
It looks great from the outside, but stepping inside it was like something out of the movie “Hugo.”
The “VI” is actually a window that opens out on to Park Avenue South and, if you’re not too big, you can stick your head out!
Our visit was timed so we could see the hand swing past the open window.
This is a perspective you can only get from up there.