A Surprising Fact about Grand Central Station

This is Grand Central Terminal in the heart of Manhattan, more commonly known as Grand Central Station. Originally opened in 1871 as the centerpiece of the New York Central Railroad long-distance rail service, it now only serves commuters on the suburban Metro-North railroad and the 4, 5, 6, and 7 NYC subway lines.

The New York Central Railroad in 1918. Source: Wikipedia.

It is arguably America’s grandest public transport hall, a temple for the everyday commuter, visited by over 21 million tourists every year.

More commuters go through this station every day than the entire ridership of the Chicago train system. More people walk these halls on a typical weekday than live in the state of Alaska.

More commuters go through Grand Central daily than ride the entire Chicago train system
But — did you know that this NYC historical landmark is privately owned?

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency responsible for operating the New York city subway and the Metro-North commuter rail, leases the building from a real estate company for about $2.2 million a year.

Now, that might seem expensive, but Grand Central occupies 48 acres in Midtown Manhattan. This means the annual rent is only about $1 per square foot, which in turn is significantly cheaper than the average Manhattan office rent of $72 per square foot.

The lease isn’t supposed to expire until 2274, so no need to worry about missing your train just yet.