Have you ever seen Grand Central like this?

Empty of pedestrians, cars, taxis, and traffic, especially during daylight hours, that is. The image comes from a 1920s postcard of the terminal, not long after it opened in 1913.

Check out this grainy photo of the original Grand Central Depot, in the 1870s, with real live cows grazing in front of it—a glimpse of the city’s rural recent past.

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8 Responses to “Have you ever seen Grand Central like this?”

  1. Tom B Says:

    Are we looking south to north? Any of the other buildings still standing? Such a great web site.

  2. roadtoparnassus Says:

    Grand Central was probably never this idyllic. These postcards were often altered from the original photographs. The street here has obviously been painted over. In order to reduce clutter, cars, pedestrians, beach-lollers, etc. were often removed. Comparing several copies of the same card will frequently show these differences.
    –Road to Parnassus

  3. rocco dormarunno(akafivepointsguy) Says:

    Tom B: We are looking North from the south side of 42nd Street, where Vanderbilt ends. The building behind Grand Central–partially obliterated by the postmark–is still there: the Helmsley Building (originally the “New York Central Building”) I don’t think the red brick eyesores on the right hand side looked like anything that existed back then; if so, it is extreme artistic license. Can anyone find evidence that something like that did exist?

    • Joe R Says:

      The building on the right is the old Commodore Hotel. Some years back it was renovated, given a new glass skin, and is now the Grand Hyatt. It was never that bright a red, in my memory. It was more of a reddish brown brick color.

  4. nycedges Says:

    Rocco, no artistic license at all — check out mcny.org collection:
    Wurts Bros. “Grand Central Station” 9/4/1930
    (I think that’s the side of the old Commodore Hotel)

  5. Joe R Says:

    The Hyatt that is now there was built using the steel framing of the old Commodore.

  6. rocco dormarunno(akafivepointsguy) Says:

    Well, I’ll be darned, the exact photo! Somehow those buildings on the right hand side look better in black and white.

    Much appreciated, nycedges!

  7. The whispering gallery in Grand Central Terminal | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] the loveliness inside Grand Central Terminal—the starry-skied ceiling, the clocks, the chandeliers—are some wonderful architectural […]

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