Grand Central Station Turns 100

GCT-fc3

“Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.”
- “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963

Grand Central Terminal (GCT)—colloquially called Grand Central Station, or shortened to simply Grand Central—is a commuter rail terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York CityUnited States. Built by and named for the New York Central Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel, it is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms: 44, with 67 tracks along them. They are on two levels, both below ground, with 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower, though the total number of tracks along platforms and in rail yards exceeds 100. The terminal covers an area of 48 acres.

The terminal serves commuters traveling on the Metro-North Railroad to WestchesterPutnam, and Dutchess counties in New York State, and Fairfieldand New Haven counties in Connecticut. Until 1991 the terminal served Amtrak, which moved to nearby Pennsylvania Station upon completion of the Empire Connection.

Although the terminal has been properly called “Grand Central Terminal” since 1913, many people continue to refer to it as “Grand Central Station”, the name of the previous rail station on the same site, and of the U.S. Post Office station next door, which is not part of the terminal. It is also sometimes used to refer to the Grand Central – 42nd Street subway station, which serves the terminal.

According to the travel magazine Travel + Leisure in its October 2011 survey, Grand Central Terminal is “the world’s number six most visited tourist attraction”, bringing in approximately 21,600,000 visitors annually.

“One hundred years ago, on Feb. 2, 1913, the doors to Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public, after 10 years of construction and at a cost of more than $2 billion in today’s dollars. The terminal was a product of local politics, bold architecture, brutal flexing of corporate muscle and visionary engineering. No other building embodies New York’s ascent as vividly as Grand Central. Here, the tale of its birth, excerpted from “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America,” by Sam Roberts, the urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times, to be published later this month by Grand Central Publishing.”  Click Here to Read:  100 Years of Grandeur: The Birth of Grand Central Terminal by By .

The following is an excerpt from the following blog: Bird Feed NYC:

Grand Central Station History

  • 1871- The original Grand Central Depot opened.
  • 1898- Grand Central Depot underwent renovations and was renamed “Grand Central Station”.  Three stories, a new roof and a new facade were all added.
  • 1902- Only four years later, after a deadly accident, plans began to redesign all the tracks and rebuild a new station.
  • 1903-1913-  Construction of the new Grand Central Station. In 1910, the old station itself was demolished and the new station was completed in 1913.
  • 1954- A plan was proposed by William Zeckendorf to demolish and replace Grand Central with an 80-story building.  The plan was abondoned.
  • 1962- The Metlife Building, originally called the Pan Am Building, was completed and opened in 1963.
  • 1994-2000- After the MTA signed a long term lease on the building, Grand Central underwent renovations and restorations.
  • 2007-  Construction began for the East Side Access project which will connect the LIRR to Grand Central.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

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Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
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Albrechtsburg Meissen by Gerhards & Glücker

Photo © Werner Huthmacher

“Time Warp: A polished installation reflects past and present within the soaring, richly decorated Albrechtsburg castle of Meissen, Germany, using aluminum, glass, mirrors and sound.  Daylight filters through the arched-stone windows of the middle room on the castle’s second level, where exhibits include a long shiplike vitrine dubbed “New Living in Old Walls.”

Click here to read the rest of the story by By Michael Dumiak.


Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts by Frank Furness

Ever since I first heard about Frank Heyling Furness (1839–1912) during an Architectural history class I have been fascinated by his work.  I made several trips to Philadelphia to see his work and I am familiar with his Emlen Physick Estate in historic Cape May, New Jersey.  Although at first glance his work appears to be traditional Victorian, his body of work  trandscends any particular style.  I consider Furness the first Deconstructivist (or Pre- Post-Modernist) the way he melded different styles to create his work. Below I am featuring his most well known and preserved work, the  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts located in Philadelphia, which is one of the few projects that have been preserved.

No small part of Furness’s historical significance lies in the fact that the young Louis Sullivan picked this office – then known as Furness & Hewitt – to work in for a short period after he left Ware’s School in Boston. As Sullivan’s Autobiography of an Idea testifies, the vitality and originality of Furness meant more to him than what he was taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or later at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.”

Following decades of neglect, during which many of Furness’s most important buildings were demolished, there was a revival of interest in his work in the mid-20th century. The critic Lewis Mumford, tracing the creative forces that had influenced Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, wrote in The Brown Decades (1931): “Frank Furness was the designer of a bold, unabashed, ugly, and yet somehow healthily pregnant architecture.”

The architectural historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock, in his comprehensive survey Architecture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (revised 1963), saw beauty in that ugliness:

“Of the highest quality, is the intensely personal work of Frank Furness (1839-1912) in Philadelphia. His building for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Broad Street was erected in 1872-76 in preparation for the Centennial Exposition. The exterior has a largeness of scale and a vigor in the detailing that would be notable anywhere, and the galleries are top-lit with exceptional efficiency. Still more original and impressive were his banks, even though they lay quite off the main line of development of commercial architecture in this period. The most extraordinary of these, and Furness’s masterpiece, was the Provident Institution in Walnut [sic Chestnut] Street, built as late as 1879. This was most unfortunately demolished in the Philadelphia urban renewal campaign several years ago, but the gigantic and forceful scale of the granite membering alone should have justified its respectful preservation.

On the occasion of its centennial in 1969, the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects memorialized Furness as its great architect of the past:

For designing original and bold buildings free of the prevalent Victorian academicism and imitation, buildings of such vigor that the flood of classical traditionalism could not overwhelm them, or him, or his clients …

For shaping iron and concrete with a sensitive understanding of their particular characteristics that was unique for his time …

For his significance as innovator-architect along with his contemporaries John RootLouis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright …

For his masterworks, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Provident Trust Company, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station, and the University of Pennsylvania Library (now renamed the Furness Building) …

For his outstanding abilities as draftsman, teacher and inventor …

For being a founder of the Philadelphia Chapter and of the John Stewardson Memorial Scholarship in Architecture …

And above all, for creating architecture of imagination, decisive self-reliance, courage, and often great beauty, an architecture which to our eyes and spirits still expresses the unusual personal character, spirit and courage for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery on a Civil War battlefield.

Click here for more information on Frank Furness.


Penn Station – Photo of the Day

“Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when
we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve
tin-can Architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by
the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.”
- “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963

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