February 24, 2013

Grand Central Terminal

The Tokyo metro system itself may be amazing, but in terms of aesthetic beauty, with the exception of Tokyo Station, the stations themselves leave much to be desired. My heart sank a little when I saw Grand Central Terminal in the flesh for the first time -- how can we compete with this?

Following 10 years of construction (as you can imagine, extensive excavation was required), Grand Central Terminal opened on just after midnight on February 2, 1913. In a happy coincidence, my visit took place just a few days after its centennial.

The opposite end of the Main Concourse. It's every bit as vast and busy and beautiful as it appears in the movies.

I was amused to no end when I read that the constellations on the ceiling have been painted on backwards. I suppose no one will be mistaking it for the sky, then.

Over the years, GCT has faced the threat of great change as well as inevitable deterioration. A large-scale renovation project began in 1998, and this also led to a new set of restrictions that were mindful of preserving and flaunting the history of the station.

The official website summarizes the history of the station with refreshing frankness.

A stroll through the shopping arcade.

One of the exits.

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