The subterranean, century-old oyster bar in Grand Central Terminal will finally reopen next month after nearly a year and a half. The historic Grand Central Oyster Bar announced it will open its doors on September 7 at 100 percent capacity, as Gothamist first reported. After a temporary Covid-related closure last March, the Midtown East restaurant and bar resumed indoor dining that September, only to close again less than two weeks later.
Grand Central Terminal
While visiting the major, most popular attractions of New York City can be fun, it can also be stressful, overwhelming and full of selfie-taking tourists. However, the great thing about the Big Apple is that plenty of other attractions exist that are far less known or even hidden in plain sight. To go beyond the tourist-filled sites and tour the city like you’re seeing it for the very first time, check out 6sqft’s list ahead of the 20 best underground, secret spots in New York City.
Winter Village at Bryant Park; Photo by Angela Cranford
Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting, and the Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve, many of the city’s holiday markets will also be online-only this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. While nothing beats the magic of New York City during the holiday season and the traditions that come along with it, there are still ways to support local artists, businesses, and vendors this year. In addition to a few markets happening in-person this year, including the open-air shops at Bryant Park, a number have gone virtual, allowing you to shop safely from home, no matter where that is.
Less than two weeks after reopening for the first time in over six months, Grand Central Oyster Bar has temporarily closed again. The Midtown East restaurant resumed indoor service at its iconic dining room on September 30, the day indoor dining was permitted again in New York City. But with indoor dining capped at 25 percent capacity in the city, the Oyster Bar, which normally relies on commuters and tourists, could not do enough business to stay open.
Image © Emily Nonko for 6sqft
The iconic Grand Central Terminal is a building with more than a few secrets. Constructed in 1913 with the wealth of the Vanderbilt family, there was a lavish private office (now known as The Campbell Apartment), glass catwalks, a hidden spiral staircase, and even artists’ studios on an upper floor. One of the most infamous secrets of the terminal, however, was a secret track used specifically for a president to access one of the most famous hotels in the world. Known as Track 61, it leads to a special platform that was never used or intended to be used in regular passenger service—it just happened to be in the right place.
At the platform of the Times Square-Grand Central shuttle, a train track is hidden in plain sight. At both ends of the two-station line, tracks are numbered 1, 3 and 4, with no Track 2 to be found. As the New York Times explained, Track 2 once ran in its appropriate spot, between Tracks 1 and 3, but was taken out of operation nearly 100 years ago. After an attempt to expand the original 1904 line turned to major confusion for commuters, transit officials covered Track 2 with wooden flooring to make it easier for New Yorkers to walk to the new tracks.
Aerial rendering of Vanderbilt Plaza courtesy of SL Green
A car-free public space will open this summer between Grand Central Terminal and Midtown’s newest, tallest office building, One Vanderbilt. Renderings released this week, which were first spotted by the New York Post, show a new plaza on a strip of Vanderbilt Avenue between East 42nd Street to East 43rd Street, situated at the southern end of the iconic terminal. The open space, dubbed “Vanderbilt Plaza,” is part of SL Green’s commitment to invest $220 million in transit improvements in exchange for zoning changes agreed to by the city in 2014.
Photo courtesy of Grand Central Terminal
One of the most unique Valentine’s Day events in New York City is happening at one of the city’s busiest transit hubs. Grand Central Terminal announced it will provide one couple a romantic, private evening under the stars of its iconic main hall as part of a new contest announced Monday. The winning couple, who will get the space to themselves on February 14 between 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., will enjoy a three-course dinner provided by Michelin-starred restaurant Agern and a live piano performance from a Steinway Artist, all under the terminal’s constellation ceiling.
View from the catwalk, photo via Wikimedia Commons
Grand Central Terminal’s upcoming 107th anniversary isn’t the round number typical of big celebrations, but nevertheless, the NYC icon is marking the occasion with a “major treat” that will appeal to all architecture and history buffs. The catwalk above the Main Concourse—normally closed off to the public—will be opened up for one day only on Sunday, February 2. To take advantage of the rare bird’s eye perspective, you’ll have to register for one of three showings that will take place that day. If this piques your interest, you’ll want to hurry: only 45 spots are available and registration ends at 5 p.m. today.
Grand Central got a questionable makeover yesterday when one half of the retro Departures board was switched to digital displays. The controversial upgrade has been in the works since March and is part of Metro-North’s Way Ahead initiative which will replace the station’s gate boards, digital track indicators, departure monitors and platform displays with a new, modern system that promises brighter, easier-to-read, and more accurate displays that can help curb congestion in the busy terminal.