12. Atop Grand Central Terminal is the World’s Largest Tiffany Clock…or is it?
The clock inside Grand Central is one of the city’s most famous meeting places (and it has its own myth!) But there is an even grander clock outside. The statue, “Transportation,” on the facade of Grand Central Terminal was designed by the French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan, who refused to come to the United States to oversee the construction of his project. His reason: “I fear some of your [American] architecture would distress me.”
It took the builders seven years to construct Coutan’s massive sculpture of the Greek Gods. It is 48 feet high and weighs 1500 tons. Meanwhile, the clock below it is 14 feet in diameter and took twelve years to restore. If it’s true that the clock was made by Tiffany, it would be the largest in the world, but there’s reason to doubt that claim. While Grand Central Terminal’s official website calls it a Tiffany clock, the Tiffany Company has not confirmed (or denied it) and Tiffany experts say nay. When the clock was restored, no Tiffany signatures were found. Many sources that describe the clock in detail, such as the Terminal’s National Register of Historic Places designation and newspaper articles from the time of its opening, do not specifically call the clock a Tiffany piece. Further, books by Tiffany from 1913 through 2004 make no mention of the clock among the studio’s other work.