16. The Ceiling of Grand Central Terminal is Backwards

The painting of the constellations on the ceiling of the massive, cathedral-like Main Concourse is backward. No one knows for sure how the mix-up occurred, but the Vanderbilt family claimed that it was no accident; the zodiac was intended to be viewed from a divine perspective, rather than a human one, inside their temple to transportation.

Astronomer Dr. Harold Jacoby of Columbia offered a different explanation, saying that the original diagram had been laid out correctly and would match perfectly against a celestial atlas. As such, the diagram was meant to be held overhead. When the image was projected onto the ceiling for painting, painter Charles Basing of the Hewlett-Basing Studio (according to Jacoby) must have laid it on the floor and projected it upwards, reversing the image. Either way, you look at it, it’s still a beautiful mural.