Grand Central Terminal, also known as Grand Central Station or simply Grand Central, is the railroad terminal located at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. It was named for the New York Central Railroad. It is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms (sections of pathway) alongside rail tracks. There are 44 pathways and 67 tracks. The tracks are on two levels, both below the ground.
The original Grand Central Depot had been built in 1871. By the turn of the century it was reconstructed and renamed Grand Central Station. Then starting in 1903 up through 1913, the entire building was torn down and replaced with Grand Central Terminal.
It officially opened on February 2, 1013. Lucia and Albert Colosi were married and living on East 20th Street, about 22 blocks south of Grand Central Terminal. Little Angelo would have been three years old and his sister, Mary, would have been 18 months old.
To accommodate ever-growing rail traffic into the restricted Midtown area, a bi-level station below the ground was proposed. Putting the electric trains underground gave the advantage of selling the above-ground real-estate. Over time, apartment and office buildings were erected around Grand Central, which turned the area into the most desirable commercial office district in Manhattan. Many films and television programs have been filmed at Grand Central Terminal including the movie North by Northwest starring Cary Grant.
Farther to the south in Midtown Manhattan is Pennsylvania Station, also known as Penn Station. It’s the major intercity train station and a major commuter rail hub in New York City. The station is located in underground levels of Pennsylvania Plaza between 7th and 8th Avenues and between 31st Street and 33rd Street.
This station was even closer to Lucia and Albert and was likely the station used when they traveled to visit family in Pennsylvania. It was named for the Pennsylvania Railroad and was completed in 1910, which was likely the year Lucia and Albert married.
The building was one of the architectural jewels of New York City. Before the station was built, PRR’s rail network terminated on the western side of the Hudson River in New Jersey and Manhattan-bound passengers had to board ferries to cross the Hudson River for the final stretch of their journey. It was in 1901 that the PRR president announced the railroad’s plan to enter New York City by tunneling under the Hudson River.
The tunnel technology was so innovative that in 1907 an actual 23-foot diameter section was shipped to the Jamestown Exposition in Norfolk, Virginia, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Jamestown colony. That same tube, with an inscription telling that it had been displayed at the exposition, was installed under the water and is still in use today.
The tunnels were all completed by 1906. The total cost of the tunnel system and the station was $114 million. Pennsylvania Station covered an area of 8 acres and was one of the first rail terminals to separate arriving from departing passengers on two different concourses. The original structure was made of pink granite and marked by a colonnade of Doric columns. Its enormous main waiting room was the largest indoor space in New York City and one of the largest public spaces in the world.
The demolition of the original structure in 1963 created international outrage. There are still 14 of the 22 original eagle ornaments in existence, and one of the caryatid statues is at the sculpture garden at the Brooklyn Museum. Penn Station was built on the site of the old one and uses the same platforms. It is arranged into “Amtrak”, “NJ Transit” and “LIRR” concourses. The new station continues to be criticized as a low-ceilinged “catacomb” that lacks charm, especially when compared to the larger, ornate Grand Central Terminal.