In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal, we will be exploring all aspects of the terminal, from its most famous attributes to its hidden treasures. Last week, we showed you what Grand Central could have been if other architects had built it. Now, we will explore the City that was created alongside Grand Central Terminal.
Reed & Stem’s original design for Grand Central Terminal
For the past century, New York City has been graced by Warren & Wetmore’s Beaux Arts masterpiece. However, most people are unaware that Grand Central Terminal does not stand on its own. The original plans by Reed & Stem, along with William John Wilgus, called for an entire city to accompany their train station.
As an urban planner, we’re brainwashed that Los Angeles is “bad” and San Francisco is “good” because of anti-urban sprawl and mass-transit mantras that have taken over ever since planning backpedaled against the car-centric Modernist heritage it had once promulgated. In planning school we learn how the planning profession is still reeling and trying to make sense of its mistakes, so much so that you wonder if they’ll ever get over it.
As a born and bred New Yorker, my conceptions were even more skewed because for our “kind,” there’s New York City and then there’s the rest of the world. A Manhattan Mini Storage ad sums it up best: “Remember, if you leave the city, you’ll have to live in America,” it proclaims in yellow Helvetica font plastered over an entire side of a building. But LA has become my second favorite city in America.