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Architecture, Cities, Transportation, Urban Design, Urban Planning

The Grand Central Terminal turns 100

A 100 years… sighhhhhhh!
NY Times marked the opening of the Grand Central Terminal with an entire section of its Sunday issue titled ‘The Terminal City- The Greatest Civic Development ever undertaken’. It had observed that it exists not only as a gateway to the city but also as a model of the future city- not the city beautiful but the city efficient. Designed by Warren and Wetmore Architects, with ramps replacing stairs all through the building, the terminal was designed to enable the entire population of the US to go through in a single year without crowding or confusion. Also integrated into the terminal building were a restaurant, shops, men’s barber shop, women’s hair dresser, bathtub, dressing rooms and other facilities for long distance passengers, ‘kissing galleries’ for lovers to meet, a post office and other such amenities. Attention was also paid to lettering and signage so as to enable the passenger moving swiftly through the terminal.

On Feb. 2, 1913, The New York Times published an eight-page special section heralding the opening of the new Grand Central Terminal. Picture credit: NY Times

On Feb. 2, 1913, The New York Times published an eight-page special section heralding the opening of the new Grand Central Terminal. Picture credit: NY Times

With infrastructure sunk into the current social arrangements and latest technologies (rail lines had moved to electricity from coal), the Grand Central Terminal is truly a pioneer of the concept of embeddedness.

Enjoy this photo essay of the life and times of this phenomenal public space in the history of urban design-

Also read the chapter titled ‘Gateway’ from John R. Stilgoe’s book ‘Metropolitan Corridor‘… it’s a wonderful piece celebrating the GCT.


About Vidhya Mohankumar

Vidhya Mohankumar is an architect and urban designer with over a decade of work experience in India, Ireland and the United States and a passion for creating livable cities. She is the founder of Urban Design Collective (UDC), a non-profit organization that works as a collaborative platform to create better cities through participatory planning. Vidhya also advocates sustainable development through training and capacity building programmes for various stakeholder groups and also within academia through her association with a number of universities as guest faculty. In other parallel albeit real universes, she is a wishful artist, an avid wanderer, a constant gardener and a newly enthused cook.


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