Sunday, July 19, 2009

Grand Central Station

When I am in midtown, I always try to swing through Grand Central. It is hushed and cool in there despite of the crowds.

In the bad old days, the ceiling was dark from cigarette smoke. I could never reconcile myself to the post renovation ceiling color. The old (dirty) ceiling looked very dark blue, like the night sky with the constellations showing through faintly. I have often wondered if the ceilings were supposed to be sea green. Maybe the restorers stripped away more than tobacco stains.

The small circles on the arched grill act like pinhole cameras. Between 2pm and 3pm on a cloudless day, it is possible to see an image of the sun projected onto a piece of paper. I really want to try this when I have an hour to kill in the middle of a sunny afternoon.

The chandeliers have bare bulbs because the station was in one of the first areas to be electrified and the designers were showing off the new technology.

Outside there is no way to avoid the Metlife building. It is just a huge mass of international style architecture right in the middle of all the Beaux Arts buildings. I think I liked it better when it had the Pan Am logo on top.

It is a little silly to fuss about overdevelopment in midtown. Even the post office has a modern office tower on top of it.

The light on the scaffolding made me want to walk around with color negative film again. It was particularly pretty light. The humidity filtered it as if through ground glass.

I love the tunnels under the New York Central Building. The viaduct around Grand Central marks separation between uptown and downtown. Heading up is the best, swerving past the station and through the tunnel which spills the cars out onto Park Avenue. I wish there were room for pedestrians.

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