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Grand Central Design Contest Invites Artists to Reimagine Public Spaces

By Mary Johnson | September 11, 2012 10:09am
Roughly 750,000 people pass through Grand Central Terminal every day.
Roughly 750,000 people pass through Grand Central Terminal every day.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

MIDTOWN — The public spaces in and around Grand Central Terminal are due for an upgrade — at least according to the Municipal Art Society.

MAS invited three renowned architecture firms to reimagine those spaces as part of a design challenge called "The Next 100," in honor of the transportation hub’s centennial next year. The participating architecture firms include Foster + Partners, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and WXY Architecture + Urban Design

Their designs, which will look at how to improve pedestrian, commuter and tourist experiences, will be presented at the third annual MAS Summit for New York City on Oct. 18, as well as in a public exhibition.

“Grand Central Terminal is one of the most iconic buildings and civic spaces in the world but the surrounding streets and public spaces fail to live up to the experience of the terminal,” MAS President Vin Cipolla said in a statement. 

“How can we renew and reinvigorate the civic legacy of places like Grand Central? How can we improve the experience of this neighborhood?” Cipolla continued. “New York City is very lucky to have these three incredibly renowned design firms exploring these critical questions.”

Inside Grand Central Terminal, public spaces include the basement food court and the various passages, as well as the main terminal area.

Outside Grand Central, Pershing Square Plaza occupies the space next to the Pershing Square Café.

And as part of the East Midtown zoning proposal from the Department of City Planning, which aims to bring bigger buildings to the area around Grand Central, the city has suggested that Vanderbilt Avenue be turned into public plaza.