Locals and visitors alike have been marveling at the grandeur of Grand Central Terminal since it opened a century ago. The world’s largest train station welcomed 150,000 people through it doors the very first day it opened to the public, and today more than 21 million people pass through the terminal each year. Discover the unique features of Grand Central during your stay at the nearby Mansfield Hotel. Every corner of this iconic station is waiting to be explored.
The majestic astrological ceiling mural above the Main Concourse is quite a sight. There are two things that might surprise you. Look up and scan the ceiling to the west where you’ll find the crab–the zodiac symbol for Cancer. There, above Michael Jordan’s Steak House, you’ll see a small, dark and soot-covered patch of brick where the blue-green sky meets the bright white marble arches.
The Whispering Gallery
On the dining platform near the Oyster Bar & Restaurant is a section of Grand Central known as The Whispering Gallery. If you stand in one corner of the room and whisper something into the wall, a friend can hear you loud and clear across the 2,000-square-foot chamber. The tiling on the ceiling is the work of Rafael Guastavino, a trailblazer who revolutionized American architectural design and construction. Instead of bricks, he installed glazed terra cotta tiles to create arches that were almost five times the size of traditional arches. The enchanting aural phenomenon has something to do with the height, span and curve of the arches.
Shopping in Grand Style
Grand Central Terminal has a ton of options for shopping. Boasting 68 shops for every wish and need, including The Apple Store, Vince Camuto, Tumi, Swatch and Aveda and The Art of Shaving, just to name a few. There's something for everyone on your shopping list.
The Holiday Market - The terminal is also home to The Holiday Fair, which is fantastic. Vanderbilt Hall (enter on 42nd Street) is transformed into a shopping mecca with over 70 unique vendors selling their wares. The market includes hand-crafted jewelry, specialty holiday items, handmade sweaters for kids and lots more.
Grand Central Market (enter on Lexington Avenue or through terminal) is a food lover's paradise, decorated brilliantly for the holidays, and offering everything you need for your holiday cooking, baking and gifting. Everything from caviar to carrots can be found here, plus gourmet coffee, baked goods, fresh flowers, cheese, charcuterie, spices, chocolates, meats and fish. Financier Patisserie, Grande Harvest Wines and Oliviers and Co. are just inside the terminal when you exit the market.
My favorite part of the whole terminal is the dining concourse. To me, it evokes the glamour of old NYC and the early days of train travel. There are some bona fide restaurants with seating, menus and waiters here and the service is generally fast–perfect for dining with little kids. Our favorites are Junior's Restaurant and Two Boots Pizzeria. There are also food counters and stalls ringing the perimeter of the dining area where you can get nearly anything you want to eat. Kids will love watching the Magnolia Bakery decorators in action through the window at the edge of the counter, plus they have special train-themed cupcakes!