Grand Central Rush Hour

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Grand Central Rush Hour
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, April 2, 2020 2:41 AM

This is old hat for Japan , Greeks, Egyptians , Persians,  Chinese, they have seen this crap many times before. They have a competent society. They will hold, but for us it's new ... people can't handle lockdowns, too many liberties, not coming together in dire times . It dosen't matter one bit what the government does , whatever it is , the opposition,  are instantly against it.  That will tear society apart at this time,  which is exactly what your enemies want. 
 
Be brave, be strong , I mean what's so hard about watching TV and staying home.  Once in a lifetime opportunity. 
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 2, 2020 6:40 AM

deleted

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 2, 2020 8:16 AM

But Grand Central Terminal sounds nowadays as if the place is dying of some syndrome or other.  Suggest he just emend it to 'Grand Central' as everyone knows what is meant, just like 'the bridge' is the George Washington Bridge, and "Jersey" is a brown stripe...

This ranks up there, with Steinberg's cover, as one of the New Yorker's most iconic.

(Some wisenheimer/besserwisser is sure to ask where those sun rays are coming from.  I wouldn't blame him/her -- those are actually 'rays of hope' coming from 'the East', or something.  A few big daylight LED arrays and diffusers, and we could have "perpetual springtime all year long"...)

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 2, 2020 8:19 AM

Grand Central STATION

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, April 2, 2020 8:32 AM

I'm sure David's tongue is planted firmly in his cheek!

Most, if not all of the natives to the New York area have called GCT "Grand Central Station" at one time or another.  It's not a mortal sin. 

Beautiful cover on that "New Yorker" magazine.  Eerie, but beautiful.

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, April 2, 2020 8:39 AM

Sad to say, at least one taxi driver in Chicago did not know where Grand Central Station was. The first time I was in Chicago, I came in on the GM&O and left on the B&O. Not knowing any better, I told the driver that I wanted to go to the Grand Central Station; she drove right by it and took me to another station, but did get me to the right station in time. The ticket man in the station had trouble understanding my request for a ticket to Baltimore and a slumber room to Washington (I wanted to visit the B&O museum)

I was on my way from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Black Mountain, North Carolina, adding new miles along the way.

Johnny

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, April 2, 2020 9:43 AM

Ok amended to simply Grand Central. I'm up here on the Canadian Shield buried in snow, constantly snowing, for a week now, what do I really know,...thinking I called it simply Grand Central and at times adding the word station. Not sure and doubt I ever referred to 'Terminal'.  That would have made for a terrible header anyway, as Overmod pointed out. Mostly I called it "New York Central railroad Grand Central". 

Was there twice, once as a toddler and once as a young man. Both times arriving by train. 

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 2, 2020 10:56 AM

Recall that I was a GCT-WhiteNorth reverse commuter 1971 - 1996

First train trip remembered, arrival at GCT from Hartford, age 3.5, late summer 1935.

First train trip without parents, first Pullman ride, to summer camp, age 6.5 early summer 1938, GCT - Concord,  NH

Last USA RR (not subway) trip. June 1996, WhiteNorth - GCT

My only office in New York City after Klepper Marshall King moved from my Aunt's office to White Plains near White Plains North Station, the Electric Railroaders Association Headquaters in Grand Central Terminal.  I'll always be a member, and will continue to list it as one of the places where I may have leavened bread just before Passover.

But my last long-distance train trip before moving to Israel was West Palm Beach - Penn. Sta. after a relative's wedding, winter '95-96.

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Posted by timz on Thursday, April 2, 2020 5:10 PM

Sunlight never streams thru those windows like that nowadays, does it? Something blocks it now?

The other difference between the old days and nowadays: to see the sun's rays streaming thru the air, there has to be something in the air -- like cigarette smoke.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 2, 2020 11:40 PM

timz
Sunlight never streams thru those windows like that nowadays, does it? Something blocks it now?

The other difference between the old days and nowadays: to see the sun's rays streaming thru the air, there has to be something in the air -- like cigarette smoke.

If you remember, as I do, Grand Central (and Rockefeller Center) as black buildings, you will know what the something in the air likely was, and where it came from...

All through the '60s, it was a rare day that you could see further south than about 72nd St. from the George Washington Bridge.  Exactly twice in all my childhood could you see far enough down to the Statue of Liberty.  I do acknowledge that this was the price for the prosperity of the anthracite roads ... but I'm not sad it's gone, either.

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, April 3, 2020 1:14 AM

Around noon, Standard Time, the sun does stream through the window, not blocked by the buildings each side of Park Avenue South, south of the Terminal.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 3, 2020 5:56 AM

daveklepper
Around noon, Standard Time, the sun does stream through the window, not blocked by the buildings each side of Park Avenue South, south of the Terminal.

I had this argument made to me in '77 when developing the 'emergency' skyscraper proposals in case the landmark law wasn't upheld by the Court.

This was an extension of the argument that a skyscraper over the concourse would 'block the view down Park Avenue'.  This was essentially blocked in the Twenties with the New York Central/creatively-adapted New York General/Helmsley building -- but much more definitively by the big gray octagon.  Breuer's 'second proposal' would have blocked the south concourse windows (as well as taking out the bowling alley!) and my alternative of course would not only preserve those windows (on both sides) but keep them all open as well.

Around noon Standard time the sun is almost vertical overhead, so the 'raking' angle would be relative to the time of the year.  You can calculate both the angle and the effective time this can happen; the problem I have is that in order to 'clear' the rays would be at a fairly dramatic angle east-to-west, so skewed relative to the 'historical image'.  It might be fun to get good data, 'gin up the angles of actual insolation at appropriate times of year, and model what you'd actually see.

Start with the 'nominal' GPS position of GCT (which is 40.7527N, 73.9772W) and adjust as necessary to get positions for the north windows.  Then considerations of the 'obliquity of the ecliptic' (what fun to be able to use this phrase in a post!) will give you the times of year sunrays will actually be able to strike the windows, and the times of day the east-to-west track will align the sun correctly.

Euc can probably have some fun going through the pages in https://equation-of-time.info/introduction to see how this stuff works and what assumptions facilitate it.

The problem I have is that when the angle permits sunrays, they won't be slanting straight out of the north as in the historical picture (or the cover that invokes it).  I'd suspect in fact they would be visibly oblique.

(Frankly I'd just have quietly flopped things so the insolation came in through the south windows, where there's a much larger range of insolation angle and the tall-building blockage might still be less severe for east-to-west 'window of opportunity'...).

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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, April 3, 2020 7:26 AM

Apparenlty I did not look at the picture carefully and assumed the sun's rays were coming through the south windows.  I've never seen them comling through the north windows.

But the pcture isn't right either way.  Don't see the train gates that are on the north wall nor the ticket windows and departure signs on the south wall.  The stairs and balcony could be either east or west.  Must be drawn from a concorse configuration of more than 85 yeara ago.

In any case, sun does at times ccome in through the south windows, and at certain times of the year at the angle drawn.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 3, 2020 8:18 AM

Apparently I'm not alone in thinking about how to re-create the 'ambiance':

http://adamfrank.com/installations_sunray-grand-central.html

Note his proposed use of fog machinery... hey! We could repurpose this to include nebulized sanitizing agents ... a-and some UV diodes in the matrix ... and perhaps get quick financing to build it out!

The 'best' original images can be located without extensive Mike-grade web searching here:

http://www.penelopeumbrico.net/index.php/project/grand-central-/

Comparing these with the New Yorker cover gives a pretty quick idea of what is, and isn't, being referenced.  (I gently suggest that the cover artist is not particularly familiar with the actual structures inside the GCT concourse and what they were meant to do...)

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 3, 2020 8:22 AM

daveklepper
In any case, sun does at times come in through the south windows, and at certain times of the year at the angle drawn.

Ahh ... but does it do so during rush hour?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, April 3, 2020 9:47 AM

Mod-man, just like yourself both Lady Firestorm and I remember going into the city, say late 60's, early 70's, and looking out the back window of the family car during and after crossing the GWB and seeing the smog haze over Manhattan.  You couldn't miss it.

People who howl about American air pollution now  have no idea and no memory of what it used to be like.  None at all.  

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, April 3, 2020 10:24 AM

Consider Mexico City.  Lynn and I have seen the smog easily when our plane was on final approach.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by timz on Friday, April 3, 2020 10:26 AM

The sun is shining in thru the south windows, the ones that face 29 degrees west of true south.

As I recall, sunlight can't do that now-- it's at least partly blocked by something atop GCT.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 3, 2020 11:19 AM

Is this associated with the bowling alley and other stuff built in over the waiting room?

I was lucky enough to have been working with the folks at 466 Lex when they'd make copies of all the blueprints you wanted if you wrote to them on letterhead.  Unfortunately all the stuff I had was concourse and structural systems, where my project was concerned -- not the front end where Breuer's was, so I don't really know what's in there that might block direct insolation at that angle.  I suspect the information does exist on the Web, though... there was at least one architectural discussion of the changes that were supposed to be involved in the early stages of Breuer's buildout that might have actually been started before the landmarks hearing business got momentum.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, April 3, 2020 6:02 PM

Flintlock76
People who howl about American air pollution now  have no idea and no memory of what it used to be like.  None at all.  

And those that are eliminating existing regulations have no consideration for the air we have to breathe.

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, April 3, 2020 6:34 PM
Hotel Commodore and Graybar Building sunblock GCT in the morning, except for the center window at 43rd St.
 

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, April 3, 2020 7:31 PM

Folks, I think there's way too much thinkin' and over-analyzin' goin' on.

Remember the old saying, "One picture is worth a thousand words?"

Look at that cover again.  Never mind where the light's coming from or whether  the archtectural details are correct or not.  Did you recognize it as GCT?  Great!  What's the artist trying to say, especially in the current context?  

Right!  THAT'S what that cover's all about!  

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Posted by seppburgh2 on Friday, April 3, 2020 8:01 PM

Just open one of these time capsules, blow it up on the old 24 inch monitor and let your mind go.  Nothing like going back into time to ponder who's that tall guy next to the older woman, Is that his Aunt giving him an extra dollar to buy dinner in the dining car? Can you hear in the distance the echoing bustle of countless shoes on the marble floor, the call for the next departing train?  Relax and enjoy the moment.

Thanks for sharing!

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 4, 2020 6:42 AM

Miningman
Hotel Commodore and Graybar Building sunblock GCT in the morning, except for the center window at 43rd St.


But those are the east and west windows, not the 'iconic' ones in the historical reference... and as you note these were usually blocked by adjacent buildings much of the time.  Their 'insolation' angle would also change much more quickly with time of day, compared to the high north or south windows where the vertical angle is related to the angle of the ecliptic... 

On the other hand, to paraphrase Wayne, sunrays through windows that size are always impressive, and some of those pictures are iconic in their own right.

With respect to the apparent picking of nits/rivets however -- this is a railroad forum, and has people who are art-photography and architecture interested on it.  If a New Yorker artist were to paint a GG1 arriving on one of the GCT tracks, with trimount trucks underneath, we'd say something too, even though the underlying 'Golden Age' reference would work without comment for the danes in the general population.

I personally am going to wait for Mr. Klepper or someone like him to retouch the actual historical picture to have the same impact... with all the relevant details updated reasonably well at the same time.  Not that I would take anything away from the joy of recognition seeing the cover... and 'getting it'.  

 

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 4, 2020 7:01 AM

BaltACD
And those that are eliminating existing regulations have no consideration for the air we have to breathe.

Proving much of the point we were trying to make.

The problem in New York only peripherally involved LA-style photochemical smog -- which itself largely depended upon NO to NO2 conversion via excessively rich unburned hydrocarbons in the air.  Much of it was industrial, from plants that no longer exist and in fact whole industrial areas that no longer exist.  Much of it was a consequence of burning high-sulfur coal in thousands of crapped-out furnaces.  None of that would come back if you relaxed much of the 'excessive' EPA regulation -- certainly if you, say, relaxed Tier 4 final the roughly 0.3 percent it would have taken to allow EMD 710s to meet the ragged edges of the test cycle without SCR.  Instead we get rebuilds that put far more aggregate lb. of actual NO into the actual atmosphere... where thanks in no small part to 'enlightened self-interest' in fuel conservation there is far less HC content to react with.

Now, do I argue for more widespread abolition of air-quality regulations?  Certainly not... but make them common-sense where absolute magnitude of effect is taken into consideration.  When we get to where we have proper regulation of nanoparticle PM, which is by far the greatest health hazard from diesel exhaust, is untrained by current laughable PM traps or DPF equipment, and is not effectively recognized in current air-quality regulations (as larger PM/sooting is), then I'll make more of a claim for stricter forms of EPA adherence as anything other than a kind of knee-jerk retention of strategies necessary in the Sixties, but less so now.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, April 4, 2020 9:55 AM

Just to expand a bit on my "over-analyzing" comment, a bit of personal experience.

As some of you may, or may not know, battle paintings and prints of the same are very popular with Civil War buffs.  These are paintings produced by contemporary artists, not reprints of 19th Century originals, and it's quite an industry in it's own right.

Well, about 30 years ago when the industry was getting started I saw a print of General Lee and the troops at the Battle of Spotsylvania.  Looking at the painting (print actually) I could see the artist didn't miss a single detail.  Weapons, accouterments, personal equipments, uniforms, flags, you name it, all spot-on and perfect.  It was great history, no doubt about it.

But it wasn't "art."  For all the attention to detail it was like a painting of wax dummies.  There was no "life" in it.  See what I'm getting at?

I won't say who the artist was, but in the past three decades he's improved tremendously, no more "wax dummies."

Attention to detail is an important thing, but it's not the only thing, especially if the painting doesn't "live." 

And in my humble opinion, that GCT painting "lives." 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, April 4, 2020 10:38 AM

seppburgh2 -- Great comment. An unimaginable amount of stories to pass through Grand Central. Had 2 Aunts, one would do exactly that guaranteed, the other would be asking me for the dollar, guaranteed. Moments in Space-Time. 

Flintlock- Absolutely!

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, April 4, 2020 4:13 PM

Again, I repeat, duirng much of the year, close-to-nnon, the sun does still enter the Grand Concourse of GCT though the south windows, which have a straight view down Park Avenue South without any buildings in the way all the way to around 12th Street, where the Avenue, there 4th Avenue, starts to curve to join 3rd Avenue at 9th Streeet, Cooper Square, to form the Bowery.  The windows are above the roadways the nearly surround the building exactly at the second=floor floor level.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, April 4, 2020 5:40 PM

Thanks Miningman!

And I've got to go with David.  He probably knows more about GCT than the people who built it!

There's a great video floating around out there about GCT and the 20th Century Limited.  Shot for the "Omnibus" TV program in the early 50's the host is Alastair Cooke (Remember him?) with an appearance and commentary by David P. Morgan!

I've tried to find it on You Tube but no luck.  Maybe Mike can help us on this one?

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 5, 2020 3:14 AM

Great railroad photographers, James Winston Link, Charles Clegg (Beebe's buddy), and newly discovered Father Frank Browne, JG, and you can name a host of others that we also praise, even Jim Wrinn himself, at least at times, produce accurate  photos that live.  A painting can be both and so can a photograph.

At this point I'm unsure of just how the  New Yorker came to his internal cncourse "geography."  Cuerrently, because of surrounding tall buildings, only the south windows transmit sunlight.  And the balconies and centered grand stairways are east and west, the west always present, the east removed for while (Kodak sign era) and restored.  But painting is great, I'll grant that, but just not accurate.

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