Audio File length: 2.14
English Language: English

Grand Central Terminal is the historic railway station of New York, and from an architectural point of view, one of the most beautiful in the world.

It represents the marble and granite dream of the tycoon Vanderbilt, who turned the Grand Central Depot, built in the second half of the 19th century, into a marvel of early-twentieth-century architecture that was initially called Grand Central Station.

Before you enter this magnificent building, stop for a moment to admire the main façade: its monumental appearance is just a taste of what awaits you inside! At the top, you can admire the marvelous “Glory of Commerce” sculptural group, dominated in the center by Mercury with his winged helmet, flanked by Hercules on one side and Minerva on the other. This striking sculpture, inaugurated in 1914, was once the largest in the world, a record that the Tiffany glass clock in the center still holds.

 

Now press pause and head to the Main Concourse.

 

It’s heavenly, isn’t it? I don’t just mean the magnificent marble of the main concourse, reminiscent of an enormous ballroom, but also the delightful ceiling, in shades of sky blue and gold, where you can literally gaze at the stars. However, if you’re an astronomy enthusiast, you’ll already have noticed a potential error of “galactic” proportions: the constellations are the wrong way round!

The artist who painted the ceiling, Paul César Helleu, justified the mistake by saying that the fresco represented the view of the sky from God’s perspective…

AN INTERESTING FACT: if you look closely, you can spot another two elements on the ceiling that are “out of place”. The first is a hole above the zodiac sign of Pisces, caused by the tip of an American missile that was displayed in the hall at the end of the 1950s. The second, in a corner, is a dark, dirty piece of the surface, left there to show the layers of tar and nicotine that were removed during the last restoration work, at the dawn of the New Millennium, which restored the celestial vault to its natural splendor!

 

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