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Terminal City

Terminal City by Linda Fairstein
Mass Market Paperback
Aug 04, 2015 | 512 Pages
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  • Ebook $9.99

    Jun 17, 2014 | 384 Pages

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Praise

Praise for Linda Fairstein

“A champion teller of detective tales.”—USA Today

“Linda Fairstein is the queen of intelligent suspense.”—Lee Child

“Alex Cooper is a fascinating heroine.”—O, The Oprah Magazine

“One of the best crime fiction writers in America today.”—Nelson DeMille

Author Essay

Did You Know? Grand Central Terminal Facts from Linda Fairstein’s Terminal City

  • 750,000 people pass through Grand Central Terminal each day. About half a million people are commuters and the rest are tourists who come to view the spectacular structure.  It is the world’s 6th most visited tourist attraction, and opened to the public one hundred years ago, in 1913. 

  • The main concourse is 36,000 square feet, larger than the nave of Notre Dame Cathedral. The terminal and its train yards cover over 48 acres.

  • A train arrives at Grand Central every forty-seven seconds.

  • The aqua-colored celestial ceiling consists of ten constellations, and twenty five hundred stars in an October night sky scene – but it was installed backwards. When the painters created the ceiling in 1913, they misinterpreted the design, so it’s actually a mirror image of what it should be.  The Vanderbilts, who owned Grand Central at that time, told the media that they planned it that way, so it would represent God’s view looking down at the terminal from the heavens.

  • There are secret basements, hidden staircases, and isolated platforms for dignitaries that don’t appear on any floor plans. There is a special track which was created to run directly below the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.  It is still kept up and running when the President of the United Sates visits town, in case he needs a means of emergency egress from the hotel.

  • The MTA rents the terminal. It’s actually privately owned by a 55 year old real estate developer who bought the building itself, as well as the tracks below which run seventy five miles up to Poughkeepsie, and the air rights above it, too—for 80 million dollars in 2006.

  • There at least six hundred people who live in the tunnels that burrow out of 42nd street below the concourse. Some of them have their own little “apartments” which are cubby holes pick axed into the cracked concrete of the walls. Known as the mole people, they have their own mayor and system of regulations. Many use sprinkler pipes to get water and electrical wire to screw in light bulbs.

  • The black metal boxes positioned around the concourse and the wires dangling from some of the arches sniff the air for traces of poisonous gas or any kind of chemical that would signal a biological attack. The sensors feed data to a computer system which runs constantly and is primed to alert security if there’s a positive result.

  • The levels beneath the terminal are the deepest in New York City. Think of a 10 story office building turned upside down. The Long Island Rail Road is building a new link at the terminal that will land even deeper, at sixteen stories below, and from which it will take passengers four minutes to ascend to the main concourse. When completed, 80,000 commuters from Long Island will be able to arrive in Manhattan without stopping at Penn Station.

  • When the design for Grand Central was sketched in 1900, the master planners wanted to change the entire complexion of midtown Manhattan from slums and slaughterhouses to making it the center of the city. Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt had the idea to sink the railroad tracks below the street. A New York Central Railroad engineer came up with the concept of air rights and sold them to the properties that sat on top of the tracks – what we all know as Park Avenue today.

  • It is possible for a passenger to get off the train and to any level of the terminal or street without encountering a single stair. The wide ramps were the genius of the original architects.

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