3 Suprising Things About Grand Central Station

The origional Grand Central Depot brought to fruition mainly by Cornelius Vanderbuildts strength of well--Photo NYPL Collection

The origional Grand Central Depot brought to fruition mainly by Cornelius Vanderbilt’s strength of will–Photo NYPL Collection

#1  Grand Central Station is a Government Post Office

……..not a train station, and it is almost next door to  THE Grand Central.

There is a subway station named Grand Central but it has little to set it apart from the other stations on its route.

THE Grand Central, the one in all the movies, the one that draws more visitors than any other NY attraction isn’t a station at all. It is Grand Central Terminal. terminal as in terminus, as in all trains stop here and you must disembark.

This American icon  was briefly called Grand Central Station from 1899-1913. The 28 years before that it was called Grand Central Depot. and for the last 103 years it it has had engraved above its doors “Grand Central Terminal”.

So why do we still call it a station?

My theory is that subway stops, train stops and even bus interchanges across the English speaking world are called stations, by default we assume it is called a station.  The central most grand station of them all. Which leads me to discovery number 2

New York City, Grand Central Station, New York 1800, Victorian New York, Victorian Post Card

An actual postcard from before the 1899 refurbishment when 3 more floors were added–postcard from the NYPL Collection

#2 Its name has nothing to do with its location.

It was named for Vanderbilt’s train company New York Central Railway.

The original train interchange built in 1871 was called Grand Central Depot.

Grand Central Depot was expanded between 1899 and 1900 and renamed Grand Central Station.

It was entirely rebuilt over a period of 10 years from 1903-1913 when it was renamed Grand Central Terminal. This is the Grand Central we know, love and marvel over today.

#3 The Shear Volume of Victorian TRAVELERS

IN 1899 the Station (that is when it was a station) served 1.5 million passengers per day. To put that in perspective today 700-750,000 people visit the concourse daily, many of them tourists come to marvel at the Edwardian splendor.

By some estimates at the end of the Victorian age 45% of the population of the United States had passed through Grand Central at some point in their life.

I don’t know about you but these details just make me more curious I want to uncover the stories behind it’s architecture, its grandeur and its technological achievements. So who knows we might be be seeing more of Grand Central Depot/Station/Terminal around here in the future.

Happy Travels through history!