see + do
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 340 2345 (tours)
Concierge.com's insider take:
In the entrance pavilion to this truly grand terminal, there is a small plaque dedicated to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It doesn't celebrate her status as a former First Lady—it thanks her for almost single-handedly saving this extraordinary Beaux Arts building from destruction when a skyscraper was planned to replace it. In 1976, largely due to her efforts, Grand Central was declared a National Historic Landmark, though only in recent years has it been restored to a state worthy of that title. From its exterior, with imposing statues of Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury flanking a 13-foot clock, to the epic 375-foot-long main concourse with its celestial ceiling, complete with zodiac constellations, this is a building of unquestionable beauty. Now, with the addition of shops and restaurants, it has also become a place for even noncommuters to congregate. Take a seat at one of the restaurants in the mezzanine and watch the throngs zig-zag their way around each other at rush hour. Among the terminal's lesser-known treasures: The Campbell Apartment, a 1920s cocktail bar that was once a private office and salon (212-953-0409; www.hospitalityholdings.com); the basement Oyster Bar, a slice of Old New York and still a great place for a martini (212-490-6650; www.oysterbarny.com; closed Sundays); and the tiny dark patch on the northwest corner of the ceiling's sky mural, a grubby memento of what the station looked like before its recent overhaul.
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