When I last left you I was perched on scaffolding, 150 feet above the hard floor of the main concourse in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The unique ceiling of constellations had become stained with cigarette smoke over the station’s lifetime, and as part of a new renovation in the 1990’s, we were there to clean it up.
Standing, literally, two feet from the ceiling, I watched as expert technicians turned back time and the ceiling’s turquoise canvas began to shine through. Planners intentionally left a patch of the ceiling in its unrestored state as a reminder of the neglect that once stymied the station. A curious history buff can see it the tile close to track 28 and Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse.
Did you know…Outside the station, the clock in front of the Grand Central facade facing 42nd Street contains the world’s largest example of Tiffany glass?
The renovation re-engineered all of the original lighting. While I was up in the ceiling I watched as the old incandescent bulbs that used to light up the constellations were replaced with fiber optic fixtures that require less maintenance. In fact, all over Grand Central lighting fixtures said goodbye to incandescent bulbs and hello to energy efficiency.
Did you know…A “secret” sub-basement known as M42 lies under the Terminal and that during World War II this facility was closely guarded, because its sabotage would have greatly impaired troop movement on the Eastern Seaboard?
An important part of our plan for Grand Central Terminal was to make the building a destination for tourists and New Yorkers alike. We sought to do this by populating the lower level dining concourse with local businesses like Two Boots Pizza, Zocalo, the Manhattan Chili Company, Magnolia Bakery, Spice Café, and Mendy’s Delicatessen – as opposed to national chains like TGIFriday’s that you could find anyplace.
In addition to that, they created a fresh food market, with roughly 16 different vendors purveying fresh fish, fresh meats, vegetables, candy, coffee, spices, everything a commuter would need. We found that folks were getting out in time to pick up things at the end of the workday, but when they got to Connecticut, especially with their liquor laws, a lot of things were closed down. And so we added Grande Harvest Wines to our list of stores.
When the station was originally designed, there were meant to be two sets of stairs, one of which goes out toward Vanderbilt Avenue with Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse on one side and Cipriani’s on the other. The second stairway, which is up where the Apple Store is now, had been taken out years ago, so part of the restoration was bringing that back.t when they got to Connecticut, especially with their liquor laws, a lot of things were closed down. And so we added Grande Harvest Wines to our list of stores.and Mendy’s Delicatessen – as opposed to national chains like TGI Friday’s that you could find anyplace.
What had been the main waiting room is now called Vanderbilt Hall. The original benches have all been removed, leaving 10,000 square feet of prime event space. Today Vanderbilt Hall hosts a variety of special gatherings, including family-themed holiday fair and networking events over cocktails.
Finally, what some consider to be the crown jewel of Grand Central – the famous Campbell Apartment – underwent a stunning transformation. The space, which had served as an in-town apartment for 1920’s tycoon Joseph Campbell, fell into disrepair until 1999 when its plaster of paris ceiling was restored to reflect the forgotten craftsmanship and opulence of the roaring 1920’s. Today, the re-invigorated space serves as an upscale watering hole for tourists and New Yorkers alike.
If you have a unique, underutilized asset in your portfolio and you want to give it a new lease on life, give me a call and we can schedule an initial consultation.