Walking through Grand Central Terminal, we see years of New York City’s culture, from ornate art to iconic bars and restaurants. Recently, however, Grand Central has become eerily empty, especially as New York’s subways close overnight for routine disinfection. With the closure of the city’s museums and cultural centers, Grand Central Terminal is an accessible repository of great art. With works by some of the world’s most famous artists and sculptures that have defined midtown Manhattan (along with a long-forgotten school of art), Grand Central Terminal is an art museum in itself.
Here is our guide to the art and art history of Grand Central Terminal (and if you’re looking for more secrets, take our virtual tour of Grand Central!)
1. An Olive Tree Chandelier
Created by American sculptor Donald Lipski, Sirshasana is a sculptural chandelier shaped like a golden-rooted olive tree. The sculpture is suspended above the 43rd Street entrance to the Grand Central Market and features over 5,000 crystal pendants. The sculpture draws from Hindu and Greek tradition and takes its title from a yoga headstand position called the inverted tree. Given the exotic and diverse options at the market, the sculpture illuminates the marketplace that so many people walk through daily.
“The space was designed so that morning sun bathes the tree and floods the market with light,” MTA Arts and Design wrote. “The form has writhing, enticing, and unexpected elements, with the base of the tree finished in gold and crystals dangling in place of olives.”