MetLife Building & Grand Central Terminal, New York City . This model consists of approximately 6,300 pieces. . This is my thirteenth skyscraper model based off one of Spencer Rezkalla's original designs, and is my nineteenth model overall. Grand Central Terminal, as it is today, was built in 1913 and is the sixth most visited tourist destination in the world according to Travel + Leisure magazine. Formerly known as the PanAm Building, the MetLife Building has stood to the north of the terminal since 1962. The building is the result of a near ten year debate over whether or not preserving Grand Central Terminal was necessary as the railroad business was facing difficult times. Originally, it was proposed that a new office building be built where the would-be demolished terminal stands. However, Erwin S. Wolfson's proposal to build an office building over the terminal's six story office space to the north, was approved in 1958.
This is my seventh New York skyscraper model. It took three days to design, around sixteen hours to build, and an underwhelming month to complete. Model completed July 11, 2012.
Brickshelf photos here
Grand Central Terminal is more popularly referred to as Grand Central Station, even though its "Terminal" designation has been the proper name since 1913. The terminal underwent more than fifty years of controversy over its need to be preserved. A famous quote by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis outlines the importance of the terminal's preservation:
"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but for short term gain they ignore it and tear down everything that matters. Maybe… this is the time to take a stand, to reverse the tide, so that we won't all end up in a uniform world of steel and glass boxes."
It wasn't until 1994, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority signed a 280-year lease on the building, that the debate was finally put to rest and the decision made that Grand Central Terminal would be permanently preserved. Thus a massive restoration process was implemented from 1994-2000.
The front of the terminal looks out over Park Avenue. The colonnade features notable details such as the iron clad arched windows. Atop the center arch stands a forty-foot sculpture of Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury surrounding a thirteen-foot diameter clock. Front and center at ground level is the statue of Cornelius Vanderbilt, originally located on the west side of Manhattan at the terminal of the Hudson River Railroad.
When it was built, the MetLife Building was the world's largest commercial office building. It features international style architecture and is a purely commercial building due to the absence of any ornamentation and its overall massing. Initially, the building was the subject of heavy criticism over its sheer size, its over-visibility from most angles, and its overall contrast to the buildings around it; most notably the Helmsley Building to the north. However, today it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city.
The entrance along 45th street.
HVAC details on the roof. The building had offered helicopter service to JFK International Airport until 1977, when a fatal accident killed five people.