Indeed, entering the Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal is a pleasure that rivals few others. For me, it took me by surprise: walking, as New Yorkers do, in a determined beeline through an undistinguished tunnel, I was suddenly struck by light. I stopped, as New Yorkers never do, to observe a vaulted, starry ceiling, the changing light, and multitudes of people whipping by.
Grand Central is one of New York’s most beloved icons, one of the few which tourists and natives share alike. Which is not to say, of course, that it isn’t in need of a face-lift.
The Terminal’s upcoming centennial, which corresponds with proposed re-zoning laws that would completely change the face of Midtown, makes now the perfect moment to consider how Grand Central’s grandeur can be preserved and its neighborhood reinvigorated. Last week, the Metropolitan Art Society (MAS) invited three firms to share their visions - and while SOM’s gravity-defying “halo” may have stolen the show, only one truly captured the spirit of Grand Central, and explored the full potential of what it could - and should - one day be.