“Meet me under the clock!” Building Grand Central Terminal

Millions of people have marveled at the beauty of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. But how many know the remarkable story of how it was built?

First Day Cover

If you’re a fan of this New York icon, you might enjoy a first day cover affixed with a Grand Central Terminal Express Mail stamp and an official First Day of Issue postmark. Click the image for more information.

To get started, the New York Central Railroad had to bore deep into Manhattan bedrock to excavate two levels of tunnels, eventually removing some three million cubic yards of material. To pay for the construction, the railroad charged developers for “air rights”: the right to construct buildings over the former open rail yard, which had been paved over. Many of the city’s best-known buildings eventually rose over the site, including the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

Construction of the new Grand Central lasted ten years, from 1903 to 1913. During that time, amazingly, trains continued to come and go without interruption!