Grand Central Station visit: Seminar
Upon entering the main area of Grand Central Station it feels like entering a traditional museum. Not only due to how grand and striking it appears but also because of the elegance and the structure that is so perfectly built and seemingly flawless: the big windows with the light coming in, the staircase coming down from both sides, the small and specific designs around the walls, and last but not least the ceiling, which in itself is a work of art in it’s design.
As you walk into central station you find people walking in all directions with all sorts of specific goals and thoughts. You can tell someone who is in a rush, someone who is simply walking through, someone who is trying to get somewhere, a tourist, a New Yorker etc. All these people show through their body language. This is one of the reasons grand central feels like chaos in such an organized and flawless structure. In the back you overhear some people speaking a foreign language, and immediately assume their tourists, then you hear native English speakers asking for directions and notice a different set of tourists, then there are those who barley need to look up because they know their way by heart and know exactly where their going.
As I sat down by the steps people continuously walked by me. I simply looked at the interior of the station; I stared at the details in the strong, dark green placed on the ceiling, and the gold thin strokes of the astrological signs, both almost complimentary colors which fit so perfectly together. Both colours stand out greatly in comparison to the delicate colours around it (the less striking colours). Everything was beautifully added together and I started drawing what I saw as I sat down – my version of keeping a diary. I noticed the structure of the windows, how they are rounder on the top and flat on the bottom, the continuous square pattern on the inside of the windows, the cathedral like structure of the station how the ceiling has a beautiful curve which the windows follow. I became very familiar with the structure when I began drawing it. The steps reminded me of a castle, as if someone royal were destined to walk down the steps. It has very traditional designs all around the station. The smallest details that could almost go unnoticed were somehow felt necessary to add on to this interior, and due to this, these small details added so much to the overall structure. The marble used had a beautiful reflective quality and added a clean and new feeling to the whole experience. Although stations generally don’t feel that way, the use of this material introduced this particular feeling.
When you are inside there’s a lot of movement, it creates an environment of stress and constant feeling of needing to get out of the way. I felt it best to sit in a corner where I could be of least disturbance to anyone as a result. This is because people here feel very dedicated to getting wherever they aim to go, and everyone else is simply an obstacle in their way to their destination. I didn’t want to be another obstacle. Generally in places like these I imagine people often feel as though they are in the way. People around you get annoyed and roll their eyes or ask excuse me in a condescending tone and occasionally smile and ask you to kindly move out of the way. I noticed a lot of people carrying more than one bag, which implies they were going somewhere to stay for a while. Not too unexpected coming to a station but a lot of people also seemed to be there simply as tourists looking around, or maybe they were tourists who had just arrived. All of these thoughts and stream of consciousness begins to go through my head as I sat there watching everybody as intently as I could without my mind wandering off into ‘what am I going to have for lunch?’ or ‘what class do I have tomorrow?’ At the same time I tried to focus and be in the moment and watch others as they are in that same moment without consciously paying attention to it, without paying attention to any of their surroundings and simply wanting to get to their destination.