There’s a reason for this, and it stretches all the way back to the building’s construction and design at the turn of the last century.
The Vanderbilt family, which built this third version of Grand Central at 42nd Street, were “immensely proud of Grand Central’s status as one of the world’s first all-electric buildings,” states History.com.
Previously, train stations and the engines that went in and out of them were smoky and sooty, making them unpleasant—not to mention unsafe.
“In fact, their pride greatly influenced the station’s interior designs. When it first opened, every one of the stations chandeliers and lighting fixtures featured bare, exposed light bulbs—more than 4,000 of them.”
The chandeliers have changed over time; in 2008, the incandescent glow was replaced by fluorescent bulbs. But they continue to pay homage to the forward-thinking vision of the Vanderbilts and the era of quieter, cleaner, unadorned electricity.