Home MTA Economics (Still) Coming Soon: A restaurant in GCT’s Vanderbilt Hall

(Still) Coming Soon: A restaurant in GCT’s Vanderbilt Hall

by Benjamin Kabak

Vanderbilt Hall may soon host a restaurant. (Photo via flickr user Bitch Cakes)

As the 100th anniversary of Grand Central continues, the historical rail terminal is still set to see some new restaurants in some of its unique spaces. Nearly 18 months after we first learned that the MTA was looking to lease out additional spaces, Crain’s New York once again reports that the restaurant planned for part of Vanderbilt Hall will soon become a reality. The MTA will not reveal any details about interested parties, but sources told Crain’s that a deal is in progress.

As reports last year noted, the Vanderbilt Hall area contains approximately 12,000 square feet of space and is currently used for everything from squash games to ice rinks to holiday markets. The restaurant lease will likely take over one half of that space, and the other half will serve as a rotating event area. The annual holiday market, for instance, will continue but may be only half the size. Per reports last year, the restaurant will be open seven days a weekand will not be a chain. We’ll know more soon.

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pete November 7, 2013 - 3:19 pm

So the space will never be restored to a waiting room?

Benjamin Kabak November 7, 2013 - 3:20 pm

I cannot imagine it will be.

SEAN November 7, 2013 - 4:41 pm

What, no Cheesecake Factory? LOL

It’s good to see the MTA atempting to maxamize the use of it’s greatest asset, but it would be even better if they focused an equil amount of atention on Penn Station. And don’t get me started on the Port Athority with it’s real estate & transportation holdings. Now to be fair, the PA does have a deal in place with Westfield to manage the mall ajoining the new WTC & PATH station WICH accounts for something.

Chris C November 7, 2013 - 7:31 pm

I thought AMTRAK owned Penn.

SEAN November 7, 2013 - 9:02 pm

Dam! I had a brain fart, but my larger point still stands regardless. Maxamizing retail space is a good way to draw in dollars.

Bolwerk November 7, 2013 - 9:13 pm

Sometimes maximization doesn’t leave you with much to work with. GCT is a world class real estate gem in a prime neighborhood near the hottest addresses in the country. Penn is kind of a butthole in a meh, traffic-clogged neighborhood with crappy amenities.

Bolwerk November 7, 2013 - 3:43 pm

There are no long-distance trains there anymore, and it doesn’t seem likely there ever will be again.

Jerrold November 7, 2013 - 4:42 pm

First they took away the waiting room for the reason that Bolwerk is saying. Then, they put back a waiting area in the pretentiously named “Stationmaster’s Office”. Then, they sensibly changed the sign on the “Stationmaster’s Office” to read “Waiting Room”.

It’s as if somebody woke up and realized that NOT every passenger in GCT is a daily suburban commuter. It’s common sense that some people will be there to take a trip that they take occasionally, or one time only, and they might just arrive well before the departure time for their train.

Nathanael November 8, 2013 - 3:01 am

If they had any sense, they’d just put benches back in the MAIN waiting room, rather than having “DO NOT SIT” signs and aggressive security guards!

Spendmore Wastemore November 8, 2013 - 8:33 pm

Sadly, they were forced to take out those benches and set up that rule. Slow down and spend some time as if you have all day and try to find a public place to relax in Manhattan. If you enjoy being next to someone who is drunk, drugged, deranged (usually due to long drugaholic history) +/or who relieves themselves wherever, whenever, and who doesn’t wash (despite free showers + soap at the shelter) then you’ll be delighted.

I just had to leave the local library – the whole building stank, due to just one drugoholic (“homeless”) camped out there. Even the other shuffling characters were annoyed. A person can come in obviously filthy, disoriented, muttering to themselves and they can’t be removed. The NYCLU has made it impossible to “discriminate” based on someone being obviously a vagrant, so places like GCT must make it a bit hostile for regular folks who just want to stop moving for 15 minutes.

Don’t blame the messenger; understand the message.

Nathanael November 10, 2013 - 5:08 pm

The same anti-discrimination rules apply everywhere in the US. Explain to me why this is a “problem” in New York City and not in Syracuse NY, Oakland CA, Newark NJ, Washington DC, etc.

Because there’s something completely fishy and unbelievable about your claims.

Nathanael November 10, 2013 - 5:08 pm

For that matter, Amtrak and LIRR have waiting rooms in Penn Station.

Ned November 12, 2013 - 9:28 am

Yes, but for ticketed passengers only, right? At least that’s the case for Amtrak and NJT at Penn (inconsistently enforced sometimes). The “ticketed passengers” (which is the same policy in the little GCT waiting room) discourages vagrants from setting up shop in a seating area — notice that other than these ticketed waiting rooms there’s usually hardly ever benches or seats anywhere else. (In the GCT dining concourse downstairs, even those few wooden benches are frequently occupied by vagrants.)

Public seating within a public building encourages camping out, and it’s near-impossible to remove these campers once they’re there, as Spendmore is getting at.

Seating can a very political act sometimes.

Sasha November 14, 2013 - 3:34 am

Then it’s clearly time to modify these anti-discrimination laws as being too broad. Europe manages to have functional public spaces, and so should the US.

John T November 8, 2013 - 6:48 am

You don’t remember that GCT’s waiting room turned into the city’s grandest homeless shelter by the 1970s. It was a very uncomfortable place to wait for a train (plus the ironically name “Terminal Bar” was nearby).

In the 70s Amtrak set up a separate wait area on the west balcony for ticketed passengers only, and the small area was fine.

Commuter trains don’t need a large waiting area, this proposal is a better use of the space in changed times.

Nathanael November 10, 2013 - 5:08 pm

It isn’t the 1970s.

Nathanael November 10, 2013 - 5:10 pm

In fact, the 1970s is now 40 years ago.

Daniel November 8, 2013 - 8:54 am

I thought the restaurant was going to be off of Vanderbilt Hall, not IN it. The old Ladies Waiting room is through one of the sets of doors. It seems like a intrusion on the public to slice up Vanderbilt hall. Plus I suspect that open a restaurant may not have as much success as the so we hat separated Michael Jordan’s and Ciprianis.

Sasha November 14, 2013 - 3:35 am

A restaurant will reduce public space. Bad idea. I vote “No”, but obviously we the people have not vote.


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