Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 08:14 pm est

Top 5 mysterious attractions at Grand Central Terminal

Posted on February 7, 2013 | by Bryna Shuman

Grand CentralTerminal celebrated its 100th birthday this week, after opening precisely at midnight on Feb. 2, 1913.
Approximately 700,000 people pass through Grand Central Terminal each day, making it America’s busiest train station. But even with that amount of traffic, travelers might miss some small details about Grand Central. Here are five secrets the station holds that are hidden from the eyes of everyday passersby.

Courtesy of MTA/Metro North Railroad

The Whispering Arches — Dubbed the “whispering gallery,” this set of low arches is located in front of the famous Oyster Bar. When two people stand in opposite corners of the arched entryway and whisper into the wall, they can hear the other person as if they were standing right next to each other. The arches allow a person’s voice to carry across the curved, domed ceiling to the other side of the terminal.

Courtesy of MTA/Metro North Railroad

The Mirror Zodiac — The main concourse’s ceiling is a mural featuring 2,500 stars and depicting the Mediterranean sky as it appears in October. It is believed that Paul Helleu, the artist, painted the zodiac backwards to show how it would look from the perspective of the gods.

Courtesy of MTA/Metro North Railroad

Sky’s the Limit — Look carefully above the zodiac’s fish constellation, and you can spot a small hole, which was made to accommodate a rocket that NASA displayed in the terminal in the 1950s. Due to a measuring mistake, the rocket turned out to be six inches too tall for the concourse, and the hole was made to help it fit. Next to the constellation Cancer, a small, black rectangle remains from the days prior to renovation to show visitors how dirty the ceiling once was. In fact, when the black rectangle was analyzed, scientists found that it was mostly tar from cigarette smoke.

Courtesy of MTA/Metro North Railroad

Departure Times — Running late to catch your train? You may have a few more minutes than you think. Every time displayed on the departure boards is ahead by exactly one minute. According to Yahoo News, the reason behind this inaccuracy is to keep people from rushing to meet their train and consequently falling and injuring themselves.

Courtesy of MTA/Metro North Railroad

The West Staircase — The main concourse at Grand Central has two identical staircases, which share the same design, masonry and marble, directly across the room from each other. However, to be able to differentiate the original staircase from the one was built during renovations, architects designed the west staircase to be exactly one inch shorter than its eastern counterpart.

Bryna Shuman is a staff writer. Email her at features@nyunews.com.

Comments

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
Tatiana Baez

Assistant Managing Editor | A CAS junior, Tatiana is studying journalism, environmental science and politics. She’s a bomb editor, as well as the staff’s main source of entertainment because she sings along to every song after 12 a.m. She also writes about culture, science, technology and sex, and her work has been featured in VICE, Motherboard, Elite Daily, amNewYork and others. She enjoys eating Thai food, reading fiction and binge-watching Netflix.

And in case you were wondering how great she really is — “I just can’t get enough of Tatiana” is a direct quote from her EIC at WSN only moments ago.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next