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One Vanderbilt

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One Vanderbilt
Posted by wanswheel on Thursday, February 09, 2017 9:36 AM

New skyscraper going up. In the meantime, west wall of GCT in plain sight.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, February 10, 2017 5:08 PM

"Grand Central Station, crossroads of a miilion private lives!"

What a place, it really was "Vander-Built!"

Sorry.

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Posted by 54light15 on Monday, February 13, 2017 2:07 PM

I was in the deli there on the east side of the concourse buyng beer for the ride home. A good loooking blonde woman in there gave me the eye. She was pretty nice. She was also a sergeant with the NYPD. Without a doubt, New York's finest! 

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Monday, February 13, 2017 3:31 PM

So much for the sunlight streaming thru the windows of Grand Central...

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Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 1:45 PM

Nice photo, but that is showing the south and west sides of the concours. The stairs shown are at the west end, the eastern staircase wasn't built until the building was last renovated. Just to the right of the top of the stairs there used to be a pretty nice comfortable bar that is now an expensive Michael Jordan restaurant the last time I was there in 2014. The demolished building would be visible outside of the two windows on the right of the photo. 

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Posted by pajrr on Saturday, February 18, 2017 4:04 PM

It was nice to see the side of the building again. It had been a long time. As long as skyscrapers surround it and not replace it or get built on top of it (which was proposed until Jackie Kennedy stepped in) I don't care.

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Posted by wanswheel on Saturday, February 18, 2017 11:39 PM

The center east window gets the morning sun, through the gap between the Graybar Building and the Hotel Commodore.

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Posted by 54light15 on Monday, February 20, 2017 9:21 AM

Great photos! I love how people dressed back then. 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, February 20, 2017 11:06 AM

...and thin, no one obese, or very rarely. Look through the photo segment provided by Wanswheel on the Hagerstown and Frederick thread in Classic Trains showing images of downtown Hagerstown...onlookers, folks going about their business all dressed well and thin thin thin! Not like that today. ....and...they did not have diet sodas and burgers and fries were cooked using real fat. Food was way way better. 

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Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, February 26, 2017 7:40 PM

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Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 11:28 AM

One Vanderbilt will be the tallest building in the neighborhood, as once was the New York Central Building.

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Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 1:13 PM

The Grand Central office building is where the "board room" scene from The Godfather was filmed. 

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Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, March 19, 2017 10:06 PM

Going a little bit off topic here. Probably everyone has heard of Bill Ackman and his company Pershing Square.

https://www.pershingsquareholdings.com/welcome/?requested=https://www.pershingsquareholdings.com/

http://s-media.nyc.gov/agencies/lpc/lp/2556.pdf

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Posted by NKP guy on Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:35 PM

A "valiant" effort, apparently in vain, from the boys at Pershing Square.  Wink

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Posted by Sunnyland on Friday, April 21, 2017 11:06 AM

love the old classic photos, thx to all for sharing.  And people did dress up in those days too. My parents and I got in on the tail end of grand days of railroading. Glad we got to go through GCT when we took NYC from New York City to Niagara Falls. I will never forget that round ticket counter with the clock and people hurrying in every direction.  Don't remember much about Pennsy station, we came in on PRR, just a big building with lots of space, haven't been back since that time, so I'm sure that looks different.  

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Sunday, April 23, 2017 6:40 PM

Sunnyland
I will never forget that round ticket counter

That round structure was the information counter. The ticket windows were on the south side opposite the train gates. 

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Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, April 23, 2017 8:58 PM

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, April 24, 2017 9:47 AM

Is it not still there?  With the clock above?  With lots of gold trim.  Shame if its gone.   Used to be the classic meeting point.

If I remember, on the south wall, the New Haven ticket windows were on the east side of the main entrance from 42nd Street, and the Central's on the west side.  And don't try to buy a NYC ticket at the New Haven windnow or visa versa!   Either one would sell you a ticket to Montreal, either overnight or day.

Nearbu, in a building at 41st and Park, were offices of the ticket offices of the Atalantic Coast line that would sell you a PRR ticket (yes PRR ticket stock) for a trip to the Carolinas, Georgia, F;lorida, and Alabama.  And at 41st Street under the vehicular ramp to the ex-streetcar tunnel Park Avenue Vicular tunnel was the B&O ticvket office and bus station for the bus connection to Jerseyu City trainside. Happy memories of using all those facilities.

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Posted by 54light15 on Monday, April 24, 2017 2:38 PM

Leaves every day at 6, arrives at 9 the next day. A drink or two, dinner, a good nights sleep and then breakfast. How civilized! Why the hell can't I do that now? Yes, I know but still...

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, April 24, 2017 5:52 PM

5 Gold Stars to 54light15! Hear Hear!

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Posted by wanswheel on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 1:57 PM

daveklepper

If I remember, on the south wall, the New Haven ticket windows were on the east side of the main entrance from 42nd Street, and the Central's on the west side. 

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Posted by aegrotatio on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 3:44 PM

pajrr

It was nice to see the side of the building again. It had been a long time. As long as skyscrapers surround it and not replace it or get built on top of it (which was proposed until Jackie Kennedy stepped in) I don't care.

 

Yeah.  The existing GCT building was expressly designed to have a skyscraper built on top of it.  Because of Jackie Kennedy and the fallout after NYP came down the Pan Am building had to be built at huge expense since there were no provisions for a building there.  No existing beams, no piles, no site work, just nothing.

 

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Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 8:54 AM

Another thing I miss is the Solari board. The clack,clack,clack as train movements changed. I couldn't take my eyes off it. There's a new hipster bar here that has one. They didn't know what to call it until I told them. On a lot smaller scale but when a different beer was put on that same clack,clack clack was heard throughout the building. 

RME
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Posted by RME on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:44 AM

aegrotatio
The existing GCT building was expressly designed to have a skyscraper built on top of it. Because of Jackie Kennedy and the fallout after NYP came down the Pan Am building had to be built at huge expense since there were no provisions for a building there. No existing beams, no piles, no site work, just nothing.

A little knowledge is plainly a dangerous thing.  Grand Central City as revised by Gropius at al. considerably predates anything involving Penn Station, to say nothing of Jackie's involvement with the landmark law over Breuer's proposed building (which was to go over the waiting-room area, not the main concourse with the 'star' ceiling)

There was very little if any issue in providing either supports/pilotis or shear wall reinforcement for a building the size of the Pan Am building, even after the structure was revised to put the long axis across Park rather than in line with the New York Central/General/"Helmsley" building tower.  It is instructive to walk down to the platform ends and observe what is there, how it is organized, and think about how it was placed and tested while railroad operations were going on.

The building I was working on used the original structure in the concourse supports (which I think -- it has been many years and there was some confusion back then -- was where the 23-story office block was to have been put).  It would have involved some interesting construction techniques, but I am frankly glad it proved unnecessary to develop the idea 'for construction'.

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Posted by NKP guy on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:53 AM

aegrotatio
Yeah.  The existing GCT building was expressly designed to have a skyscraper built on top of it.  Because of Jackie Kennedy and the fallout after NYP came down the Pan Am building had to be built at huge expense since there were no provisions for a building there.  No existing beams, no piles, no site work, just nothing.  

 

   Surely you don't fault Mrs. Onassis for her efforts on behalf of GCT?

   The Original Sin of this episode was the desperate New York Central Railroad, which apparently was willing to sell its birthright for a bowl of pottage.  For a quick financial fix they sought a "developer" for the CGT site.

   My heart just breaks for the "huge expense" Pan Am faced when putting their abortion of a skyscraper atop CGT.  My God!  Is there no justice in this world?!  That a giant corporation would face such expenses when all they wanted to do was mess up (oh! that I could use another term!) a long-cherished view that was enjoyed by anyone traveling along Park Avenue is just a wretched shame, isn't it?  But after all, corporations are people, you know, and have rights and feelings, too.  Their right to destroy Park Avenue "trumps" everyone else's desire to live in a beautiful city.  If the "huge expense" was so much, couldn't they have bought real estate elsewhere and inflicted their building on another site?

   For the next 100 years or more Knickerbockers and their visitors will have to look at this mistake of a building, which benefits no one except its owner and which no one wanted except a company that was so well-run it now has been reduced to a dinky regional railroad.  And notice that the same corporate culture at Pan Am that thwarted the wishes of the public in the 1960's tried (and failed, thank goodness) to thwart the wishes of the public again when it fought like the devil to keep the Downeaster from becoming a reality.

   Every time I enter GCT, the last real cathedral of railroading, I am very grateful to Mrs. Onassis and the many other farsighted people whose efforts made sure that the public wouldn't lose this magnificent place and so it could continue to serve its intended function so well.

   The Met Life building is an affront to New York City and all who love it.  I'm only sorry the "great expense" wasn't prohibitive.

RME
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Posted by RME on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 11:12 AM

NKP guy
My heart just breaks for the "huge expense" Pan Am faced when putting their abortion of a skyscraper atop GCT. My God! Is there no justice in this world?!

With respect, the focus of this diatribe -- valid as the emotions are! -- is a bit misplaced.  Grand Central City was set up between 1958 and 1960, including the revision that put the building across the whole Park Avenue 'view' and not in line with the then-existing tower.  If I recall correctly Juan Trippe didn't arrange 'naming rights' until 1960, and the real 'blame' Pan Am deserves is only for putting their logo so prominently and, dare I say, sassily over one of the most famous rail-passenger properties in the world.  (And then flying helicopters off it for airline service, rubbing it in even worse!)

It might be remembered that one of the 'premises' of Breuer's architectural abortion was that it promised to preserve the concourse space (I don't think many preservationists thought highly of the architectural merit of the waiting-room space; anyone remember 'Grand Central Bowl?) at the cost of light slanting through the windows and an unobstructed view of the 42nd Street facade.  In fairness, though, this was in the Beame era when so much of New York was miserably falling apart and GCT in particular was an ugly black mess from the outside.  I can still remember being astounded to see that it was built pink.

I do have to say that it would have been interesting to see Pei's 'hyperboloid' built; that in itself is a landmark design.  Just not at the cost of the concourse.

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Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:11 PM

Today is Pei's birthday. 100.

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Posted by wanswheel on Thursday, April 27, 2017 11:17 AM
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Posted by NorthWest on Friday, May 12, 2017 11:15 AM

Managed to get there on a rainy day in late April...

A really cool sight!

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