After taking the plunge into the career change pool, I had to find what I would truly enjoy doing with my life then hit the ground running.  That led me to combine the interests of my treasured friends and mine, my love of fashion and blogging about the sights and sounds that pertain to NYC.  I’m no clothing designer; I can only draw stick figures, letter birds and alphabet houses.  But I do feel I have a calling for what looks good.  I also take a stand for and speak out for causes that affect those around me.  This led me to ‘Don’t Hate!’ and Oh That’s Cute Shop.  Blogging about all things media is just icing on the cake! Even though I could have started my own business while maintaining my former career, I had enough!  I can now devote all my time into my true passions.  Because my clothing and accessory business is based in St. Louis, Missouri, I spend a lot of time in the ‘Lou’.

ohthatscuteshop.com                               Say it Loud!  Wear it Proud!

Have no fear, when I’m in St. Louis look I look back on my Big Apple experiences!  In order to provide myself the New York fix, I do things that can visually transport me there.  Celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday allowed me to picture myself in the city that never sleeps.  Spending the weekend in our small St. Louis apartment would be no fun so I decided to book a room at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.  There are so many amenities on site we didn’t have to leave the premises.   I love seeing a movie at the Chase because they serve libations.  How wonderful!

One movie I knew my boyfriend and I would enjoy was Avengers.  We could have seen it when it first opened on Thursday night at 11:55 p.m. but the last time I did that was at the opening of the second Harry Potter movie and I fell asleep almost right from the beginning.  Instead we opted for a nice early Friday afternoon viewing. It was at a time when the theater charged the lowest price so we could indulge in concession food without feeling we were totally getting ripped off.  While we waited for the movie to begin, we were entertained by an organist.  How cool is that?  We were sipping libations, munching on popcorn while listening to old-old school music.

Yummy cupcakes for dessert!

Not only was I entertained by the dramedy but I was transported to The Big Apple.   The only downfall was the mass destruction of parts of city.  Do you remember what they did to Grand Central Station? Ugh!!!

Grand Central Terminal

While stone and glass were flying everywhere I quickly thought about my visit to the historic building.  I’m not sure what I expected when I walked through the doors of the beautifully maintained Grand Central Station.  At first I thought perhaps it was the time of day where there weren’t as many people as I had imagined, especially compared to the craziness I experience when I’m in Penn Station.

Before finding affordable digs in New York, I stayed in Jersey.  When it was time to leave New York and go home, I’d stare at the screen to see on which track my train was.  When it popped up,  it was off to the races!  (The train will be leaving ten minutes after it appears on the screen). I’ve never seen a swarm of people move so fast.

But after walking around Grand Central Station I realized that the crowd is spread out!  While at Penn Station, people are primarily there to travel to and from New York and hover around television screens in the waiting area to find out to which track they’ll be sprinting.  Grand Central Station seems to have a different flavor as people are not only traveling but shopping and dining as well.

Is my train coming?

While the credits to Avengers were rolling I thought back again to my time in GCS.  I wondered what it must have been like during the time when trains were the main source of long-distance travel. I pictured the clothing that was worn and the luggage that was carried.  I’m sure people were in their finest and had nice leather trunks filled with their belongings.

Nowadays, we travel wearing t-shirts, jeans or shirts and carry luggage made out of nylon.  Things surely were different back then.  There are times when I wish we could go back to a more stylish way of doing things.

I Travel in Casual Style

After my friends and I walked around, marveling at the architecture throughout, we went downstairs to the food court and had lunch.  I would have never imagined there would be a food court in Grand Central Station but I’m glad there was.  After all the sightseeing we did, it was nice to sit for a bit and munch on a meal that didn’t require leaving a tip. Considering we’re educators, money doesn’t readily growing on trees in our backyards.

Me Too!!!

The ‘learner’ in us came out and we wanted to know more about Grand Central Station.

  • Before the Grand Central Station of today there was the Grand Central Depot
  • Opened in 1871
  • Cost $6.4 million to build
  • John B. Snook, architect
  • Home to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, New York and Harlem Railroad, and the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad each equipped with a waiting room, baggage handling and ticket booth
  • Opened its doors at 12:01 a.m., Sunday February, 1913
  • World’s largest train station

After needed renovations, the name was changed to Grand Central Station.  Increased pollution (noise and air) there began a decline in the use of steam engines. The catastrophic train accident on January 8, 1902 brought about a change in the railroad system in New York.  Underway was the development of  a two level level terminal Grand Central Station to accommodate electric trains.  Between 1903 and 1913 construction of an updated Grand Central Station began.

  • $80 million budget, ~$2 billion today
  • Reed and Stem and Warren and Wetmore, architectural firms (seems played a part in selecting the firms)
  • Grade of the rail yard was lowered to an average depth of 30 feet below street level
  • Chief engineer, William Wilgus was behind its electrification, internal ramp system, and circumferential drives, incredible innovations at the time
  • Old Grand Central Station used during construction then razed in 1910
  • Temporary station used until 1912

Because there was no longer the need for an open rail yard, streets were paved over and developers began building around GCS; New York Central Railroad profited from selling air rights to such developers.  The creation of the new Grand Central Station brought about an incredible construction surge in New York City.

Between 1913 and 1917 Construction on Railroad Property Across Vanderbilt Avenue

Biltmore Hotel

Yale Club

Two office buildings

Developments Completed by 1831

Apartment Buildings

Hotels

Marguery

Park Lane

Montana

 

Barclay

Chatham

Ambassador

Roosevelt

Waldorf-Astoria

While railroad travel was readily used,  more than 65 million people made (40% of the population in the U.S. at that time) were on trains that traveled through Grand Central Terminal in 1947, such travel didn’t fare so well the next decade.  Traveling by car and plane became more prevalent which put a huge damper on the train industry.  Because of the drop in revenue, in 1954 Grand Central Terminal was set to be demolished in order to make way for office space.

Thanks to the Landmarks Preservation Commission the Grand Central Terminal remained a part of New York City.  The terminal became a National Historic Landmark in 1976,

Let there be light!

further solidifying its continued existence.  Renovations and restorations throughout the years brought the grand structure back to the beauty we know today.  Chandeliers in the Main Concourse were thought to have been bronze but after one cleaning they were discovered to be nickel and gold-plated.

Grand Central Station is not just a venue for travel.  If you’re in Midtown, it’s a great place to indulge in dining (fine or fast) and have drinks.  For my friends and I we enjoyed selecting lunch from one of the less costly establishments in the lower level.  After eating, we walked through many of the special shops throughout Grand Central Station.

I will leave you with three items as part of a scavenger hunt.

  1. Before you leave Grand Central Station you’ll want to find the cast-iron eagles.  They once were a part of the old Grand Central Station which now adorn the top of Grand Central Station today.
  2. There is said to be a Whispering Gallery.  If you find the right spot, ask a friend to stand in a particular corner and whisper something.  You should be able to clearly hear what was said when standing diagonally across the room.
  3. The ceiling in the Main Concourse was replaced due to gross disrepair in the late 1930’s.  It is said that the painting has a quirky story behind it, one that has developed different opinions.
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About ksimonewilson

I'm looking forward to sharing my New York experiences that have been highlighted on television and in movies.

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