Grand Central. If you’re running across the main concourse…
To catch the 5:30 from Manhattan to New Haven, you—along with the other 21 million who pass through one of the world’s busiest train stations each year—might not pause to admire the majestic green ceiling with its sweeping Zodiac (painted on backwards for some reason). It was all splendidly restored in the 1990s; look closely near the Crab’s claw and you’ll spot a small patch left un-cleaned, thick with 100 years of cigarette, pipe, and train smoke.
Union Station. The California Zephyr to San Francisco, the Capitol Limited to Washington, D.C., the Southwest Chief to Los Angeles, The Texas Eagle to Houston — and of course The City of New Orleans. All of them chug out of Chicago Union Station, preserving the city’s century-plus identity as the carotid artery of America’s rail system. The Great Hall is spanned by a vast vaulted glass ceiling, 219 feet long and 115 feet above the floor.
World Trade Centre. It was predictable that Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s white-ribbed train terminal on the site of New York’s World Trade Center would be alternately praised as visionary and damned as a costly boondoggle. Argue all you want about its $3.74 billion price tag and its efficacy as a terminal—there’s no arguing its glorious statement as an affirmation of life and motion in the middle of one of America’s most solemn sites.
Union Station. In the steamy heat of the Washington, DC summer, there’s no better place to cool your heels than the 11-story-high marble expanse of Union Station. And while you sit there munching on your Sbarro’s pizza, take a look behind the shields held by those carved naked warriors lining the mezzanine. Those guys are all anatomically correct, and were actually shield-less until DC’s morals police ordered them to cover up. Come on… lets go for a train ride?