Grand Inspiration

A few of my friends from New Jersey and Pennsylvania were lamenting sarcastically how New York City’s Pennsylvania Station, once among the world’s most majestic railroad stations, had become the Seventh Circle of Hell. The New York Times’ Julie Bosman named the razing of the original station and construction of the new one as one of the city’s greatest architectural disasters.  Even on a hygienic level, the station is desperate for a rehab.

Meanwhile, I love my weekday commute through Grand Central Terminal, 10 blocks away from Penn Station. In fact, Grand Central Station inspires me tremendously. It really gets me fired up and motivated to seize the day.


It is one of the grandest halls in the world, with an astronomical ceiling mural, a giant four-face brass clock in the center of the hall, and dazzling chandeliers. It also has dozens of world-class restaurants (and finally, a Shake Shack), the classiest bar in New York (The Campbell Apartment), and the most nostalgic bar with succulent oysters (the Saloon within the Oyster Bar). There’s a never-ending rotation of interesting events (most recently J.P. Morgan Chase’s squash tournament), live musicians (even in the morning), the largest-ever Apple Store, and the Grand Central Market food bazaar.



And just as much as the architecture, food and attractions, I’m inspired by the people. They tend to be passionate professional  from all walks of life, bustling in and out of New York. There also are tourists and nearby residents who pass through for special events and attractions, some simply to experience the architecture. The energy is contagious.

Grand Central Terminal is nostalgic for me, because my own dad spent much of his life commuting through it, as I do now. Every day’s commute reminds me of the days when I was a toddler and he’d bring me along on the Metro North train to go into work at his music studio in Midtown. And who doesn’t love trains, especially with 44 platforms and 67 tracks? My children do, and so do I.

My relationship with Grand Central Terminal underscores the benefits of pairing beautiful architecture and vibrancy into your daily routine. And I’m only one person; around 750,000 others pass through it each day. Compared to Penn Station’s state, it underscores the importance of preserving and fostering such institutions.

I am thankful for Grand Central Terminal and the inspiration it provides every day.

4 comments about "Grand Inspiration".
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  1. Daniel Fell from ND&P, January 28, 2014 at 9:45 a.m.

    This is a beautiful station. For me, although I don't live in New York, it's a reminder of my father who travelled through this station every day on his way into work in the late 50's and early 60's. I visit every chance I get just to walk around, shop in the market and enjoy the real vibe of NYC. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mark Van Osdol from Stahls, January 28, 2014 at 12:06 p.m.

    Nice piece Max, unfortunately another station of that era designed by the same architects hasn't fared so well over the years and has become a leading example of Ruin Porn:

  3. Robert Bel Bruno from AMC Networks, Inc., January 28, 2014 at 12:45 p.m.

    Max, totally agree with your sentiments, and as one who walks the mile from GC to PS everyday, don't forget the other 10 cross avenue blocks from Vanderbilt to 7th Ave!

  4. Nicholas Fiekowsky from (personal opinion), January 28, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.

    GC's condition makes a big difference. It was dirty, dim, in disrepair and somewhat dangerous when I started visiting NYC in early '70s. In the off-hours commuters hustled through and didn't look anyone in the eye.

    Rehab investment clearly paid off.

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