Wow, Grand Central Terminal (which is also Grand Central Station- it's a terminal for the Metro North commuter trains and a station for various subway lines, just celebrated its 100th "birthday". I have to confess that I don't stop in Grand Central that often (even though I live north of NYC, I'm close enough to walk to the last stop on the 4 Train, so I don't take Metro North very often, and I don't spend a lot of time in Midtown, so I typically don't get off the subway at 42nd St/Grand Central). That being said, Grand Central is a gorgeous edifice. It's home to one of NYC's most celebrated restaurants, and it has a lot of fascinating features to commend it to visitors. Also, the building has one of the greatest ceilings in the world.
Oddly enough, in the 1970's, Grand Central was in danger of being demolished, a fate which befell the storied Penn Station. One would have thought that the destruction of Penn Station and its replacement by the soulless Madison Square Garden and a grotty subterranean railroad hub(Vincent Scully lamented, "One entered the city like a God. Now one scuttles in like a rat.") would have forestalled any talk of demolishing such a beautiful building, but one cannot underestimate the venality of developers. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed, and the, uh, grand railroad terminal still stands, as glorious as it ever was.
If you haven't visited Grand Central Terminal, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Even though the majority of the people passing through are in a hurry, there's still a romantic (in the classic definition of the term) feel to the place. These people may be hurrying off to grinding days on the job, but they are dashing sophisticates while in this glorious, shining setting. Also, the central clock of the terminal is one of New York City's best places to arrange to meet someone- that's where I met my awesome cousin Val before we headed down to Brooklyn. Come to think of it, I spent quite a bit of time in GCT in December of last year- that's also where I bid adieu to Major Kong. Of course, you should check out the Major's fascinating DKos diaries, you'll learn about things you didn't even know you didn't know about. Now, I know that Ned is on hiatus, but I imagine he'll put up a post about Grand Central, it being a spectacular old building of the sort he adores (whether or not he adores GCT itself...).
Now, because Robyn Hitchcock's new material is so damn good, I will post a couple of songs appropriate to the subject of the post. Here's I Often Dream of Trains:
In describing the Metro North line, substitute "Tuckahoe" for "Basingstoke" and "Yonkers" for "Redding"... While you're at it, substitute felt for grass and asparagus for hedges.
The second song appropriate to the subject matter is My Favorite Buildings:
Think I gotta head down to Midtown to bid the old "pile" happy birthday.