Sometimes simply called GCT - short for Grant Central Terminal - by New Yorkers, this station is the most iconic of any in the United States, and has even been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The station is very large, with 30 tracks on its upper level and 26 on its lower one. Of these, 34 tracks are used to run passenger services while the others are primarily utilized for parking trains that are not in service. The station has been used in numerous TV and film productions, and is instantly recognizable to people from all over the world. It sees well over 20 million visitors in an average year, both tourists and rail commuters heading to Midtown Manhattan from New York’s sprawling suburbs.
The station as you see it today was the vision of the businessman Cornelius Vanderbilt, who joined three separate termini together in the latter half of the 19th century. John B. Snook created the original design, which was later updated in the 1890s. Architect Bradford Gilbert redesigned much of the structure to enlarge it and the terminus was renamed Grand Central when it subsequently reopened. After falling into some decay in the 1960s and 70s, a large renovation project was launched. This culminated in a re-dedication ceremony that took place in 1998. At this time, numerous ramps were installed in place of stairs to make the station more accessible. A number of major public works of art were also installed during the renovation project.
There are hundreds of hotels in central New York, many of them located close to Grand Central Station in Midtown. At Virail, we recommend searching a reputable comparison site, like booking.com, to establish which ones have the best rates for your chosen dates. Prices can vary wildly, especially if there are shows opening on Broadway or concerts being staged at Madison Square Gardens. If you are looking for accommodation close by, then the Grand Hyatt is next door to the station.
Similarly, there are plenty of car rental outlets only a block or two from the station. Using carrentals.com to establish which deals are available is a good approach to take.
Wherever you are in New York City, there is likely to be a famous yellow taxi cab close to you. This is one of the most convenient ways of getting to Grand Central Station over land. However, you should bear in mind that the Midtown area of Manhattan Island – where Grand Central is located – gets extremely busy with traffic during the rush hour.
An alternative way to get to the station is via the city’s subway service. Handily, the 4, 5, and 6 trains stop at the station at the Pershing Square Building. This is just to the south of Grand Central’s main concourse. Line 7 rapid transit services also stop at Grand Central, as do those on New York’s shortest subway line, the S trains which run as a shuttle service back-and-forth from Time Square.
Three separate bus services all provide routes that stop at Grand Central Station, as well. Local NYCT bus services, as well as those run by MTA, a regional bus operator, will drop you off close to the station. Traveling to the station from New Jersey will mean taking a bus service run by Academy, either a SIM23 or a SIM24 service.
There are plenty of retail and dining services at the station. These include an upmarket cocktail bar located in the Shuttle Passage, and about twenty casual dining restaurants on the station’s lower level. The station also boasts a traditional shoe-shining service plus a pharmacy, a wine store, and a tech store, to name but a few. There is also a daily market situated near to track 19 featuring plenty of gourmet produce.
As well as this, travelers using Grand Central Terminal can book themselves onto an official tour of the building, to learn more about the intriguing historical architecture. Audio tours are available alongside guided ones, so you can take your pick.
In the middle of the central plaza at the station is a handy information booth which is manned throughout the day. This gives information about rail services, but not about the subway, which is operated by a separate company. Head to the subway station itself for advice.
There are public restrooms that are available at all times at Grand Central Station as well as a ‘Lost and Found’ office that is inside the Grand Central Terminal building itself. This is located on the lower level and is adjacent to track 100. As the staff that run the lost property office deal with thousands of items every single day, you may be asked to fill out an online form describing what it is you have mislaid.
Another important thing to know about Grand Central Station is that there are no publicly available luggage lockers or other storage facilities. Bounce Luggage is located just around the corner from the station, on East 44th Street, but you will need to reserve online before using this service.
As well as offering a myriad of Subway connections at the officially titled Grand Central – 42nd Street, which serves most of the city of New York, the Grand Central Terminal itself is the endpoint for three commuter lines. Therefore, it is possible to take the Harlem Line to Wassaic in upstate New York or the Hudson Line to Poughkeepsie where onward rail service to the rest of North America can be obtained via Amtrak.
Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Lake Shore Limited, and Maple Leaf services can all be connected to here. The other overland rail service which runs from Grand Central Station is the New Haven Line which goes as far as New Haven, Connecticut. After approximately 33 miles, this line reaches Stamford where you can catch the Amtrak Vermonter and Acelea Express services.
The team at Virail would like to wish you a pleasant journey to and from Grand Central Station, a tourist destination in its own right in New York City, thanks to its splendid architecture. Remember that if you are staying on Manhattan Island, then Virail can arrange all of your transportation to the five boroughs of New York City and the rest of the United States. We will make the whole experience of visiting Grand Central Station and traveling from it a hassle-free one that you will look back on fondly.