After taking the LIRR out of their new Grand Central location, for anyone living on the Eastside this new terminal is a game changer. Unless you live on the West side, commute from (or need to get to) New Jersey or really enjoy being around throngs of meth addicts and tourists the new GC location is the way to go.
This brand spanking new terminal is clean, spacious, has decent directions carved into the walls, easy to read arrival monitors, multiple elevators and escalators, staff cleaning the place, a police station, ticket area, only six tracks, and trains show up early. I can only hope the city keeps its clean and safe and never allows it to turn into the horror show Penn turned into…inside and out.
A few caveats, the main escalator takes about 1.5 minutes…its long, so if you don’t like heights don’t look down. Also, since its so big and there are so many ways to get to it from within Grand Central and outside, it can be a bit confusing…at first.
If you live above 48th street then the main entrance at 383 Madison is likely you best bet. If you’re in Murray Hill or Kips Bay then the super secret entrance on 44th btwn Vanderbilt and Mad is all you. Navigating from here is pretty simple. Once you get off the elevator take a quick left, walk down the main (long ) corridor, take the amusement park escalators down, check for your track and follow the signs to your train. Again, only six tracks.
I will eventually out of curiosity try getting to it via Lexington Ave and going down to the food court area to get to it, but my understanding is its at least a 10 min walk underground so likely only makes sense if going from the subway. While there are no food concessions or retail yet it looks like quite a few will be opening in the not too distant future.
The best part coming from the Eastside is that unlike Penn which once you get within range of it turns into…to be politically correct a total s&?&hole…GC from the east is via either Madison Ave north of 48th or south Pershing Square Place and Vanderbilt lined with trees and plants.
I do advise checking the train schedules since it looks like they are rotating between going direct or having to transfer at Jamaica from either LIRR station depending on day and time. While at first I heard this caused a lot of confusion it looks like they got things back on track so to speak.
For me its a shorter and far more pleasant walk to LIRR GC vs Penn. My only complaint thus far…I don’t understand why this wasn’t done decades before I moved to NYC.