Tag Archives: Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal: Secrets, Rumors, Accomplishments

It is amazing the hype that is starting to surround Grand Central Terminal in New York City. But most of it is very factual (with a little bit of fun and fiction added on). All of the stories are contained in our Kingly Heirs WebSite and our Ominous Weather WebSite but there are a lot more

What Is Mysterious Track 61?

Car on Track 61
Car on Track 61

 

 Mysterious Track 61 Grand Central Terminal Track 61, which FDR used to sneak in and out of Grand Central and hide his disability (he had severe polio) from the public. Was Track 61 used other times by Presidents? Matt Lauer of NBC put on his best play clothes May 8 2008 to examine “The Mystery of Track 61? on the Today show. Lauer went 30 feet below the Waldorf to investigate the secret train track that has intrigued urban explorers for decades. Lauer ended up with a nice 7-minute segment, with some commentary from colorful Metro-North spokesman Dan Brucker and Brooklynite historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. He spoke about not only the phantom track, but the mysterious bulletproof freight car still located under the Waldorf that played some sneaky role in presidential security. “His armor-plated Pierce Arrow car would drive off the train, onto this platform and into the elevator, and it would bring him and his car into the hotel garage,” Metro-North Railroad spokesman Dan Brucker said while offering a rare tour of the long-unused station. “He could take the presidential train back to Hyde Park without ever leaving the building.” This story gets taller and taller anytime someone tells it. The Grand Central Palace, the railroad’s heating and power facilities and Adam’s Express Co. occupied the area between 47th and 50th Streets and between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue . They were torn down in 1929. In 1931, the Waldorf-Astoria completed its 40-story hotel on the site. Except for a small basement, the Waldorf-Astoria is directly over the tracks and the two platforms for the powerhouse and Adams Express. The track 61 platform was of course never used or intended to be used in regular passenger service, and it was not even built for the hotel; it just happens to be there. A stairway and a freight elevator run from the platform to a street entrance on 49 St. The freight elevator is not original and was probably built after the power house was torn down. There is also another stairway exit, without an elevator, on the 50 St side of the hotel building. So it amounted to a private railway siding underneath the building. Guests with private rail cars could have them routed directly to the hotel and take a special elevator directly to their suites or to the lobby. The baggage car ( “bulletproof freight car”) was left by Penn Central for worktrain service and the MNCX reporting mark was painted on the car in 1984 in North White Plains shops (not by the Secret Service). Also on the level: In 1965, the platform was used for one of Andy Warhol’s underground parties. (I found this out from a museum in Mouans Sartoux, France) In 1946 the American Locomotive Company’s 6000-horsepower Diesel-electric locomotive that was headed to Santa Fe RR system to be used between Chicago and Los Angeles, was exhibited on the Waldorf’s private siding beneath the hotel.

The Ceiling is Backwards!

The painting of the constellations on ceiling of the massive, cathedral-like Main Concourse is backwards. No one knows for sure how the mix-up occurred, but the Vanderbilt family claimed that it was no accident; the zodiac was intended to be viewed from a divine perspective, rather than a human one, inside his temple to transportation.

Biggest Basement in New York City

The basement covers 49 acres, from 42nd to 97th street. The entire City Hall building could fit into its depth with a comfortable margin of room to spare. Today, the MTA is in the midst of an ambitious project to bring Long Island Rail Road trains into the terminal via the East Side Access Project, making Grand Central even larger and deeper. These will be the deepest train tunnels on earth, at 90 feet below the Metro North track and over 150 feet below the street. It will take 10 minutes to reach these tunnels by escalator, at their deepest point.

Top Secret Room M42

Secret Room in Grand Central
Secret Room in Grand Central

 

A hidden room known as M42 does not appear on a single map or blueprint of Grand Central Terminal. In fact, its very existence was only acknowledged in the late 1980s and its exact location is still classified information. M42 houses a converter that is responsible for providing all of the electricity that runs through Grand Central. Here, alternating current becomes direct current and provides power for the transportation of more than one million people each week up and down America’s East Coast.

if you were to sink a 10-story building through the main concourse of Grand Central, you would still not reach the very bottom of the terminal. The largest basement in New York lies at the bottom of the terminal, housing electrical transformers and breakers, which feed immense power to the trains above. During World War II, troops were stationed in the basement. If a person was to wander in there by accident the orders were that he or she would be interned there for the rest of the war. If that person happened to be holding something like a bucket of sand, the orders were to shoot that person on sight. If someone was to pour a bucket of sand into one of the rotary converters operating in the basement, the entire basement would explode, paralyzing railroad transportation across the East Coast. Adolf Hitler sent spies in two submarines to sabotage the basement during World War II, but they were caught before reaching it. Two were executed and two were imprisoned. 

Tennis Anyone?

A little known space called the Annex houses a tennis court that is accessible to the public (as long as you can get a reservation). Originally installed by a Hungarian immigrant Geza A. Gazdag in the 1960s, it was taken over by Donald Trump, who brought the likes of John McEnroe and the Williams sisters onto its clay courts.

Bars, Restaurants and Apartments

The Campbell Apartment, in Grand Central, serves as a testament to the grandiosity of another era. If appropriately attired, you can enter the room and sip on cocktails from the fin de siècle in this virtual museum to the opulence of New York’s high society of the past. The apartment once belonged to John C. Campbell, a business tycoon; rumor has it that he used to sit behind his desk in his boxers, so that his trousers wouldn’t get wrinkled. The Campbell Apartment is also one of our favorite hidden bars in New York City.

What is all this hype about a Whispering Gallery?

Nestled between the Main Concourse and Vanderbilt Hall is an acoustical architectural anomaly: a whispering gallery. Here, sound is thrown clear across the 2,000 sq-foot chamber, “telegraphing” across the surface of the vault and landing in faraway corners. The real secret of the Whispering Gallery is that no one knows whether it was constructed with the intention of producing the acoustic effect that has made it so famous.

Jacob Bachtold , Grand Central Terminal Clockmaker, and Grand Central Information Booths

Grand Central Clock in 1946
Grand Central Clock in 1946

Long time Central employee and watchmaker Jacob Bachtold adjusts one of the more famous clocks in a 1946 photo
(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)

 With all of the clocks in Grand Central Terminal running with atomic precision, it’s quite odd that all the times displayed on the departure boards are wrong—one solid minute wrong. Each train conductor will wait exactly 1 minute past the designated departure time. Instead of yelling for customers to hurry up, the conductors instead tell everyone to slow down. The result? The least slips, trips, and falls of any railroad in the nation, quite a feat for the largest one of them all. One minute might seem minor, but it is major when added up. If the train has a single late boarding in the itinerary its chances of being on time are slim. Nevertheless Grand Central Terminal has a 98 percent on time record.

The main information booth is in the center of the concourse. This is a perennial meeting place, and the four-faced clock on top of the information booth is perhaps the most recognizable icon of Grand Central. Each of the four clock faces are made from opal, and both Sotheby’s and Christie’s have estimated the value to be between US$10 million and US$20 million. Within the marble and brass pagoda lies a “secret” door that conceals a spiral staircase leading to the lower level information booth.

You can check all the corners and nooks throughout the terminal and not find this staircase. It’s made of polished brass and it’s right in the middle of the main concourse. The brass cylinder in the information booth houses a spiral staircase that leads to the lower level information booth in the dining concourse. The staircase is well-obscured and little known, but is used all the time. It allows for ease of transfer of customer service representatives.  

 The clock atop the information booth has been valued at $10 million to $20 million. The four faces are made entirely of solid precious opal. This 1913 clock is mechanical and still runs on Swiss motors, but is also set constantly with the atomic clock in the naval observatory in Bethesda, Md. So next time you walk through Grand Central, set your watch, the clocks in the terminal are accurate within 1 second every 1.4 million years.

Terminal Renovation

When the building was renovated, a lot of effort was made to keep Grand Central Terminal exactly the way it was when it was built. Except for a second staircase, which was planned opposite the original one on the east side of the main concourse. But the Landmarks Commission said the staircase could only be approved if the original blueprints contained the staircase. The original blueprints were discovered, and they did contain such a staircase. The west staircase was built to match its cousin exactly: quarries in Italy were dug up to get the same type of marble and stonemasons were brought from Italy to ensure a perfect match. But it’s not quite identical: the new staircase is exactly one inch smaller than the old. 

All of the ornamental work in Grand Central Terminal falls within the same theme: oak leaves and acorns. The Vanderbilt family built and owned the terminal. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the patriarch of the family, quit school at 11, started his own ferry service at 16, and became one of the richest men in American history. The small acorns thus represent small beginnings. The Vanderbilt family, having come from nothing, needed to adapt a symbol and motto. The acorns and oak leaves became the symbol and the motto: Great Oaks from Tiny Acorns Grow.

A Couple of Idiosyncrasies

 Just above the fish on the Grand Central’s ceiling mural is a small circle. It would probably be anyone’s last guess, but this was used to hoist a rocket ship up to the ceiling. NASA was promoting its space program in the 1950s and decided to display a “RedStone” rocket ship in the terminal.

A second irregularity on the ceiling is on the side of the mural, where one of the meridians terminates next to the constellation Cancer. (near the Michael Jordan Restaurant). A small black rectangle can be seen. This single patch was left to show how dirty the terminal was prior to the renovation. After analyzing the sludge that covered the entire ceiling, restoration workers found that it was all cigarette tar. It took a year to wash the whole ceiling with soap and water.

Controlling All Those Trains

Switching all the tracks in the terminal started out in 1913 with several electro-mechanical “towers”. In the last few years, it has been transformed into a modern command center. The transformation happened quicker than expected because of a fire in Tower B.

Signal Tower A
Signal Tower A
Signal Tower B
Signal Tower B
MTA Metro North Control Center
MTA Metro North Control Center

Tower A and Tower B and new control room

An Underground City

Burying electric trains underground brought an additional advantage to the railroads: the ability to sell above-ground air rights over the tracks and platforms for real-estate development. With time, all the area around Grand Central saw prestigious apartment and office buildings being erected, which turned the area into the most desirable commercial office district of Manhattan. The terminal introduced a “circumferential elevated driveway” that allowed Park Avenue traffic to traverse around the building and over 42nd Street without encumbering nearby streets. The building was also designed to be able to eventually reconnect both segments of 43rd Street by going through the concourse if the City of New York demanded it.

In 1928, the New York Central built its headquarters in a 34-story building (now called the Helmsley Building) straddling Park Avenue on the north side of the Terminal.

From 1939 to 1964 CBS television occupied a large portion of the terminal building, particularly above the main waiting room. The space was used for four studios (41-44), network master control, film projection and recording, and facilities for local station WCBS-TV. In 1958, the first major videotape operations facility in the world opened in a former rehearsal room on the seventh floor of the main terminal building. The facility used fourteen Ampex VR-1000 videotape recorders. The CBS Evening News began its broadcasts there with Douglas Edwards. Many of the historic events during this period, such as John Glenn’s Mercury Atlas 6 space mission, were broadcast from this location. Edward R. Murrow’s “See It Now” originated from Grand Central, including his famous broadcasts on Senator Joseph McCarthy. The Murrow broadcasts were recreated in George Clooney’s movie “Good Night, and Good Luck”. The movie took a number of liberties, in that it was implied that the offices of CBS News and CBS corporate offices were located in the same building as the studios. (The news offices were located first in the GCT office building, north of the main terminal, and later in the nearby Graybar Building. Corporate offices at the time were at 485 Madison Avenue.) The long-running panel show “What’s My Line” was first broadcast from the GCT studios. The former studio space is now in use as tennis courts, which are operated by Donald Trump. In 1954 William Zeckendorf proposed replacing Grand Central with an 80-story, 4.8-million square foot tower, 500 feet taller than the Empire State Building. I. M. Pei created a pinched-cylinder design that took the form of a glass cylinder with a wasp waist. The plan was abandoned. In 1955 Erwin S. Wolfson made his first proposal for a tower north of the Terminal replacing the Terminal’s six-story office building. A revised Wolfson plan was approved in 1958 and the Pan Am Building (now the MetLife Building) was completed in 1963. 

In 1968 Penn Central unveiled plans for a tower designed by Marcel Breuer even bigger than the Pan Am Building to be built over Grand Central. The plans drew huge opposition including most prominently Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Great Stories From The New York Central Lines Magazine

From 1919-1931 New York Central Lines Magazine

1919 – 1925

1925-1931

In 1920, the “Dewitt Clinton” was displayed in Grand Central. Normally, it was stored at Karner, near West Albany. It was taken on a flat car down the West Side Freight Line to 30th Street and then trucked over to Grand Central. I assume it was brought into Grand Central Terminal via the taxi driveway under the Biltmore Hotel (like four elephants in 1921 who had to be brought from New York to Boston).

There were many fascinating articles on the jobs which various employees carried out. For instance, the “trouble trio” of Grand Central were three ticket takers who worked outside their cages and helped solve problems on the floor. The employees who manned the information booth at Grand Central as well as the six phone operators and their chief were described.

Several articles described the Red Caps at Grand Central. Many were college graduates. By the 1920’s, there were 467 Red Caps-all African-Americans. The force had been all-White in 1900.

Technological improvements of the day were always well described. The Grand Central signal stations were such an interesting subject that a film was made about them and shown in theaters. “Q” telegraph office in New York was the wire communications center for 13,000 miles of railroad.

The electric baggage trucks in use at Grand Central were a big deal in their day. There were 51 in use by 1921. They weighed 3000 lbs. and could carry 4000 lbs. One of them had 17,000 miles on it.

One article described a “typical” day at Grand Central Terminal: (1) A special train from Vassar College arrives just before a holiday. All the girls were greeted at the station or else found their destinations except for one who was helped by Traveler’s Aid. (2) A political candidate is escorted through the terminal by the Stationmaster. (3) Several immigrants wait for their train, sitting quietly together eating dark bread. (4) A high school team is going off to play a championship game in Chicago and is sent away by a large crowd of students. (5) A group of convicts changing prisons is escorted uneventfully through the station in handcuffs. (6) Boy Scouts bound for a “jamboree” are met at the station by other scouts. (7) All the Red Caps in the station run to meet the “20th Century”.

Famous Railroaders

George A. Harwood died in 1926 at age 52. He was a Tufts graduate who began railroad service in 1900. In 1906 he was placed in charge of electric improvement and is credited with completing the construction of Grand Central that William Wilgus had started. 

 Dr. Plimmon H. Dudley, the railroad’s expert on rail metallurgy, would also accurately predict the weather. He was considered the “scientist of rails”. He died in 1924 at age 81. He had joined the New York Central in 1880 and had lived in the Hotel Commodore (next to Grand Central) since it was built.

Throughout this period, the Chairman of the Board of Directors was Chauncey Depew. He had 56 years of service on his eighty-eighth birthday in 1922 and still came into his office in the Grand Central Office Building. His advice to employees was to “have a hobby not a fad”.

  Chauncey Depew died in 1928. He was a Yale graduate of 1856. He was buried in Peekskill. In his honor, the huge concourse of Grand Central Terminal was draped in mourning. The only other time we have heard of that the Terminal was draped in mourning was for President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Know of other times, please let us know.

REFERENCE SECTION

The NY Times has produced a great video: The Secrets of Grand Central. In his new book “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America,” Sam Roberts of The Times goes behind the scenes at Grand Central Terminal.

Fox New York and Untapped Cities both have great stories and good pictures of Grand Central Secrets

Cindy Adams has a good Grand Central story on the PAGE 6 blog.

Those Great Pictures On Our Blog Header

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PICTURE ABOVE: At left is KC Jones, who authors the Global Highway. In the middle is Penney Vanderbilt, World’s Greatest Blogger. At the right is the Promenade des Anglais in Nice France.

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PICTURE ABOVE:At left is a great picture of the goalie for the Utica Comets, a new American Hockey League team we follow. In the middle, is a drawing of David and Goliath out of the Bible. We use this drawing to publicize Loren Data, a small EDI and Electronic Commerce company that fights the giants of the industry. At the right is Brewster, New York, besides being the birthplace of Penney Vanderbilt, it was an important station on the New York Central Railroad.

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PICTURE ABOVE:At left is the “Albany Night Boat”. We also talk a lot about the Livingston Avenue Bridge in the background. In the Center is a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Nice, France. At the right is a picture of the New York Central Harmon Shops.

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PICTURE ABOVE:At left is the Rutland Milk Train passing through the Troy Union Railroad‘s station in Troy, New York. Read the story to find out why it is “fabled”. In the center, is the Tramway, in Nice, France. At the right, is the railroad station in Ogdensburg, New York. Read more about the New York Central in the St. Lawrence region.

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PICTURE ABOVE:At the left is a Delaware & Hudson ore train leaving Tahawus, NY many years ago. At the center is golfer Graeme McDowell. See more about golf, including the US Open. At the right is an electric locomotive used by the New York Central. See why it is now in Glenmont.

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PICTURE ABOVE:This old trolley car at left is now at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. Before going to Montréal, it worked in Springfield, Mass. Number 2056 is a steel lightweight built by Wason in 1927 and acquired in 1959. In the center is a “leverman” working the switches in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. At the right is La Canne A Sucre, our favorite restaurant. Said by many to be the “Friendliest Restaurant in Nice France.

Bar Cars: End of an Era?

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Used to be a lot of bar cars on a lot of railroads. Most are gone. In the 1970’s “new” cars were built for what is now Metro North. Now these cars need to be replaced and a debate is going on to replace them or to get out of the bar car business.

The bar cars don’t run as frequently as they used to as some are already retired, but there is a WebSite for tracking current bar cars running and what trains they are on

Picture above is of the most famous bar car. Only the New Haven could come up with a car name such as “V:XI-GBC.” This translated to, “5:11 Gentlemen’s Bar Car”. The New Haven had little to do with choice of names. Despite the Pullman pool livery, it was railroad owned after 1956.

Here is a story of the bar cars that replaced older “conversions” when the New Haven and rest of current Metro North upgraded to the M1, M2, etc in the 1970’s.

We have lots of information on bar cars in general and the “V:XI-GBC.” in particular. See the Connecticut Railfan WebSite and the Commuters Website.

Information below is from the New Haven Technical & Historical Society:

  1. The V:XI GBC was NEVER a private club car
  2. The Cars history is as follows Built 1913 as Plan 2411A 12 sec  1 Dr, 1 Cpt, with Gothic arched windows as La Fourche. Rebuilt as Wall Street 4007A on 12/20/30 and assigned to the Reading for NY Phila service. It was an error in the records that the car was renamed Westward Ho It never happened. The cars were renumbered for the NHRR by the NHRR
  3. Wall Street was bought in 12/31/45 by the NHRR and leased back to Pullman for operation until 12/54. The car was painted NH #13 Pull Green and later TTG on 9/28/54.
  4. The Wamsutta is a totally different car with Ice A/C and 242a trucks which could not be V:XI GBC. That was an error by the authors of the guide. And the RR records have a glitch in them.
  5. I and other students of the Pullman NHRR operations came to the conclusion that the cars were not renamed but renumbered to group them for RR service as Pullman only tracked cars at that time by NAME only. The best evidence is the Plymouth up at RMNE.

Shown below are some comments on the possible demise of the Metro North Connecticut line bar cars:

Given that they’re worn out and it’s not worth the expense of converting the unpowered singlet option orders into bar cars, do the M8’s (or M7’s) have the capability of interfacing with a generic coach if it’s sandwiched between MU’s? I would think propulsion would not be an issue for one unpowered outlier sandwiched on a longer consist driven by, like, 3 powered pairs since they are capable of trainlining with singlets. But are the MU’s capable of providing compatible hotel power for a “foreign” car and otherwise keeping the consist in systems sync through a foreign car? Because if they can do that with unpowered MU singlets it would seem like an unnecessary design compromise to totally preclude coupling, system compatibility, and communication pass-thru with just one generic sandwiched in the set. You know, like a private car for special runs. Unless there’s something that special about the MU’s design requiring a fully custom singlet.

What a lot of people do not understand is bar cars are underutilized money loosing cars.
yes bar service is profitable, but the bar car is NOT, so both MTA and CDOT are seeing less and less need for bar cars.


Converting a coach to work with MU’s would require a complete electrical revamp, a different brake system, a hep source trough control wiring, pantograph/third rail gear etc etc and only for a car that carries only 25% of passenger capacity of regular car and is only used in Bar service one out of 4 trips.

Every seat counts. I cannot see a clear enough reason to give up seats to sell drinks on board the train when there are dozens of bartenders selling their products in GCT.

Replacement/s trains will become the ‘brown bag specials’ and the ‘carry out ltd’s’!!! Martinis and Manhattans in ‘sip’n’staw’ boxes!!

Nothing so sinister, the bar carts in GCT openly sell same stuff for you to carry to your seat at a much higher profit but at same price.
A bar cart sells 10 times amount of Alcohol of a Bar car, but with very little down time and no expensive railcar to maintain.

Start serving breakfast & lunch on those things sell a contract to Dunkin Doughnuts etc I am sure someone will buy out the space outside evening rush hour. Their can definitely be a profit for the bar cars.

Impossble to do, US health code could never be satisfied.
No wash facility, no bathroom with proper facilities for food establishment etc etc etc

Inaccessible New York: Behind The Scenes At Grand Central Terminal « CBS New York

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Evan Bindelglass, CBSNewYork.com     Check this great article on Grand Central  out!

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.

Here are some of the sites in Grand Central they saw:

EASTERN CATWALK

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).

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.

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.

TIFFANY CLOCK

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.

It looks great from the outside, but stepping inside it was like something out of the movie “Hugo.”

M42 SUB-BASEMENT

190 feet below the lower level, which is itself three stories below street level, is a space that you won’t see on any map. It’s called the M42 sub-basement.

During World War II, from end to end of a space the size of the main concourse, were massive AC to DC rotary converters which provided power to the terminal.

This power station was vital to the war effort and were it taken out, it would have crippled 80 percent of troop and materiel movements in the northeast.

LOST AND FOUND

According to Metro-North Railroad, their lost and found is the most successful lost and found in the world. They have an 80 percent return rate.

Who Owns Grand Central Terminal in NY City?

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Some other great links:
From the WIKI

Argent Ventures is a privately held real estate company based in New York City that owns the land under Grand Central Terminal and the land around 156 miles of Metro-North Railroad railway tracks in the New York City metropolitan area.

Among other high profile buildings currently owned are:

The company was spun off in 1996 from by Andrew S. Penson from Amroc Investments which specializes in turning around distressed properties.[2]

Two of its earlier properties that have since been sold included:

Grand Central Deal

In the breakup of the Penn Central Railroad in 1976, the land under Grand Central and its associated tracks continued to be owned by Penn Central Corporation but leased to what became the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Penn Central as a holding company changed its name to American Premier Underwriters in March 1994. It in turn was absorbed by the American Financial Group.

On December 6, 2006, the United States Department of Transportation announced Midtown TDR Ventures LLC had purchased the rights from American Financial.[3]

As part of the transaction the lease with the MTA was renegotiated through February 28, 2274.

The New York Post on July 6, 2007, reported that Midtown TDR is controlled by Penson and Venture. The Post notes that the MTA which will pay $2.24 Million in rent in 2007 has an option to buy the station and tracks in 2017 although Argent could extend the date another 15 years to 2032.[4] The big attraction to Venture are the development air rights it controls above the tracks.

References

 In 2006, Midtown Trackage Ventures, which included two institutional investors that Andrew Penson would not identify, bought Grand Central and 75 miles of track to Poughkeepsie and 82 miles to Wassaic, in Dutchess County, from American Premier Underwriters; American Premier’s parent, American Financial Group (which had acquired the bankrupt Penn Central’s real estate)….The Metropolitan Transportation Authority…pays $2.24 million in annual rent on a lease that expires Feb. 28, 2274. The authority has an option to buy the terminal and the tracks in 2017, which it is expected to exercise, although the landlord can extend that date to 2032.
Buildings and Landmarks January 29, 2013, 3:16 pm
Grand Central’s Flesh-and-Blood Landlord
By SAM ROBERTSThere is some confusion over whether Andrew S. Penson had even been invited to the gala celebration of Grand Central Terminal’s centennial on Friday night. Regardless, Mr. Penson says characteristically, he will be the man who didn’t come to dinner.

Ordinarily, the balding 52-year-old Mr. Penson might barely be noticed at such a star-studded event, much less missed. But his absence from the terminal’s birthday dinner, at the Oyster Bar, will strike New Yorkers in the know as a particularly glaring omission.

After all, Mr. Penson owns Grand Central.

http://cityroom. blogs.nytimes. com/2013/ 01/29/grand- centrals- flesh-and- blood-landlord/ ?ref=nyregion
Thanks to
Gary R. Kazin
DL&W Milepost R35.7
Rockaway, New Jersey

Mr. Penson is the President and Founder of Argent.  He has been involved in all phases of the firm’s development since its founding.  Prior to Argent, Mr. Penson led the real estate investment division of Amroc Investments Inc., a leading investment firm and the predecessor to Avenue Capital, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund.  Previously, Mr. Penson practiced law with Jones Day.  He is a member of New York Law School’s Board of Trustees.Mr. Penson earned a B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a J.D. from New York Law School.

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Grand Central Terminal is 100 Years Old

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The centennial celebration of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal will kick off Feb. 1.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and MTA Metro-North Railroad will open the terminal to the public for a full day of celebration activities, including a morning rededication ceremony and musical performances “that will keep visitors entertained into the evening,” said Metro-North officials said in a prepared statement.

The day’s events will include the opening of “Grand by Design,” a six-week exhibit that will chronicle the train terminal’s history.

To commemorate the terminal’s past, present and future, the Feb. 1 events and others planned for the next year will be guided by four themes: “Happy Birthday to Grand Central,” marking its historic debut; “Preserving a Landmark; Creating a Legacy,” which focuses on renovation of the terminal’s 42nd Street entrance and other improvements; “Grand Centennial Parade of Trains,” anchored by a rare public display of historic train cars; and “Grand Central: The Next 100 Years.”

The celebration’s opening ceremony will include many public officials and celebrities, including Caroline Kennedy, the centennial committee’s honorary co-chairwoman. Kennedy’s mother, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is widely credited with saving Grand Central Terminal from destruction in the 1970s, MTA and Metro-North officials said.

See what else is in Grand Central
The photo was posted on the NYC Transit Museum’s Facebook page. It has alot of other cool historical photos from all the other agencies too.A description of the above photo from the Facebook page:

New York Transit Museum Facebook page wrote:Although February 2nd, 2013 marks the centennial of the opening of the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal, the lower level, which was dedicated to suburban lines, opened a couple of months earlier. Both the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad each had 10 ticket offices on the suburban level. There was also a baggage room, telegraph office, parcel room, newsstand, and information booth.

Yes! Grand Central Terminal will be 100 years old!

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Welcome to New York City, Grand Central Terminal and the New York City Subway

We have an extensive collection of material on railroads and transit in New York City. Much of this material is not published elsewhere on the Internet. If you are interested in Grand Central Terminal, New York City subways, or transportation around New York City, read on and enjoy!

Grand Central Terminal is one of the most significant landmarks in New York City. It is historical, but it is vital to transportation in the city. Some of the stories we have are about the signal towers that control trains entering Grand Central, the buildings that surround Grand Central, the electric engines that go into Grand Central. We have old postcards of Grand Central and the Hotel Commodore.

The New York City Subway System is massive and impressive.

Some of our articles include a look at what has gone wrong with the subways since 1940. We have a report on a panel discussion on the merits of various types of subway maps hosted by New York City’s Transit Museum.

Plans for better transit in the metropolitan area. An analysis of a early 1960’s Ford Foundation study of commuting into Grand Central and what might be done to improve it. Some unique ideas and far ahead of its time. Developed early on in the history of aviation, JFK International, LaGuardia and Newark airports were intended to only be accessed by automobile.

Begun in 1846, the New York Central’s West Side Freight Line was the only freight railroad directly into Manhattan.

Read about the history and future of this line.

Present Day terminology is the “High Line”

Grand Central Terminal Track 61, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to sneak in and out of Grand Central and hide his disability (he had severe polio) from the public. Was it used other times by Presidents? Matt Lauer of NBC put on his best play clothes May 8 2008 to examine “The Mystery of Track 61? on the Today show. Lauer went 30 feet below the Waldorf to investigate the secret train track that has intrigued urban explorers for decades. Now they have included an armored baggage car too. This story gets taller and taller anytime someone tells it.

Grand Central was owned by the New York Central Railroad

Do you know who owns Grand Central now?
If you said Metro North Railroad, or its parent company, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, then you are wrong.
Nor is it Donald Trump, Disney or WalMart.
Click here to find the answer and find out a lot of interesting facts.

In 1848, the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company was granted rights “in perpetuity” to enter New York City and Grand Central.

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