Hop off the train at Grand Central Station and you’ll find yourself in the heart of Midtown, and right under the celestial ceiling of Grand Central Terminal. Some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks lie in the surrounding area, as well as one of the freshest seafood spots and one of the most unique bars. If you’re looking to explore the east side of Midtown Manhattan, stop at Grand Central Station and look no further.
89 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017
Perhaps the most obvious place to visit off of Grand Central Station, Grand Central Terminal replaced Grand Central Depot in 1913. The main hub for cross-country railroad travel on NYC’s east side, the terminal functioned like no other train station in the world, with multiple levels of departures and arrivals. It was also magnificent in its construction, earning it the distinction of being one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Landmarked in 1978, the terminal has been home to dozens of attractions aside from trains: an art school, a tennis club, and multiple legendary restaurants. Today, you should stop in to admire its impressive beaux-arts architecture, like the famed turquoise and gold ceiling, visit the whispering gallery, and browse in the dozens of shops that line its outer wings.
89 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017
Located on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal, the Grand Central Oyster Bar has been serving some of the freshest seafood in the city for over 100 years. Debuting in 1913, the same year as Grand Central Terminal, the restaurant primarily served long-haul travelers who were disembarking in the city. Once resplendent, the restaurant began to decline as fewer and fewer people traveled by train. By 1974, it was bankrupt and had been empty for several years. That year, it was taken over by its current owners, and today is once again restored to its former glory. Grand Central Oyster Bar serves everything from fresh oysters to crab cake sandwiches to craft cocktails.
476 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10018
The biggest branch of the New York Public Library, the Stephen A. Schwarzman building is just around the corner from Grand Central Station on 5th Avenue. Continuing in the style of beaux-arts architecture, the cornerstone for this branch of the NYPL was laid in 1902. A full nine years later, the branch officially opened in 1911 with over a million books filling its shelves. Today it has one of the largest humanities and social sciences research collections in the world, a children’s center, several exhibition spaces with continually rotating exhibits, a gift shop, and a bakery. City residents with current library cards can check out books, but you can also expect to find plenty of tourists roaming the stacks. The library is also host to a myriad of community events, author readings, and storytimes, open to all.
15 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Once the office of legendary financier John W. Campbell, the Campbell Apartment is located up in the southwest corner of Grand Central Terminal and is now one of the most unique bars in the city. This stunning establishment features three separate and distinct rooms: the Campbell Bar, the Campbell Palm Court, and the Campbell Terrace, each eliciting different impressions and experiences. Many of the intricate details that established its allure, including the 25-foot, hand-painted ceilings, a grandiose stone fireplace, and a 100-year-old leaded window, remain a part of the updated structure. Offering classic cocktails, craft beers, local wines, and elevated bar fare, the Campbell Apartment can fill up quickly. So if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion or enjoy time with a large group of people, it’s worth making a reservation.
Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets, New York, NY 10018
Since its inception in 1686, Bryant Park has undergone several incarnations. Originally a four-acre man-made lake, it was replaced by the Crystal Palace Observation Hall (which burned down in 1858), not emerging into the beautiful green open space we presently know it as until a 1934 redesign. Landmarked in 1979, Bryant Park remains a popular gathering place for tourists and locals alike, and for good reason—there’s always something to do here. In the summertime, the park hosts outdoor movie nights, while in the winter, an ice skating rink and holiday market draw holiday revelers from near and far. Year-round, the park is home to free community events such as puppet shows and workout classes. There are also several small restaurants and bars, enclosed in the winter for comfort, and opened up as outdoor dining hotspots in the summer.
Getting to Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is easily accessible from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx by the 4, 5, and 6 lines. From Queens, the 7 train will land you directly below the terminal. A shuttle train also connects the Times Square Station to Grand Central Station, making it one transfer away from the N, Q, R, W, 1, 2, and 3 trains.