04.01.18: Traveler shadows

Travelers walk up the ramp leading to the main concourse of New York’s Grand Central Terminal. 


Technical information

Nov. 19, 2009,
1:36 p.m.

40°45’9” N,
73°58'38" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D

Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L  (16mm) 


1/50th second


One of my favorite cities to visit is New York City. I guess that’s obvious from the number of photos of New York that I’ve posted on my website through the years. I’ve visited the city many times and have spent hours wandering with my camera.

And one of my favorite places to visit in NYC is Grand Central, especially during morning or evening rush. It’s a great place to feel the energy of a big city.

On an average weekday more than 750,000 people pass through Grand Central, a number that grows to more than a million on holidays. That’s why people often describe a busy place as being “like Grand Central Station.” The station has 44 train platforms, more than any other train station in the world, and the constant arrivals and departures of trains keep people flowing through the terminal.

Standing in the middle of Grand Central’s main concourse around 8 a.m. or 5 p.m. on a weekday will put you in the middle of a few hundred thousand people rushing to or from work. And standing on one of the balconies on the east or west side of the main concourse provides an elevated view of the constant flow of people. It’s impressive.

I have dozens of photos of the main concourse. But there’s more to Grand Central than the main concourse. There are ramps, stairs, escalators, corridors, hallways, waiting areas, dining areas … all enclosed by the century-old architecture that makes the place so photogenic.

This photo is what I consider to be a happy accident. 

I had stopped in Grand Central between meetings on a business trip to grab a sandwich. There are about 25 restaurants in the dining concourse (one level below the main concourse), which is a great place to grab a quick bite.

After eating I decided to take the ramp up to the main concourse level, which would put me close to the 42nd Street exit that I needed. That’s when I noticed how the lighting above and behind walkers cast long shadows on the marble floors. I thought it would make an interesting photo so I pulled my camera from the bag and clicked off a few shots before heading out.

By the way, the correct name of this site is Grand Central Terminal, although people refer to it as Grand Central Station — the name of the facility on the site before Grand Central Terminal was completed in 1913, and the name of the U.S. Post Office station next door.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.