I grew up on Long Island, so I’ve been taking the Long Island Railroad (the LIRR) as long as I can recall. Even after I moved to Manhattan, I often took the LIRR to visit my parents. Getting from my apartment on the Upper East Side to Penn Station, and vice-versa on return, was always the worst part of the trip.
For years, New Yorkers wished the LIRR would stop at Grand Central Terminal. And finally that wish has come true. Welcome Grand Central Madison.
Having an LIRR station on the east side of Manhattan is welcome news for people who live, work or visit the east side of Manhattan. Grand Central Madison adds a level of convenience to commuting in a city not necessarily known for convenience. It is no longer mandatory for those traveling on the LIRR to transit through Penn Station. In addition to the convenience factor, the area near Penn Station can be unpleasant and even unsafe at times.
Commuters who work near Grand Central save time and money by walking to work from Grand Central Madison. And travelers arriving from JFK Airport can take the LIRR to Grand Central from Jamaica thereby avoiding an expensive Uber or taxi ride or a tortuous ride on the E train.
This week, I finally had the opportunity to go to Grand Central Madison. On July 4th, I went to Long Beach, New York. I took the subway (#4 or #5) two stops from Lexington Avenue and 86th Street to Grand Central. I was a little surprised how far Grand Central Madison is from the subway station – I’d say about 10 minutes walking and escalator riding.
I was blown away. The concourse is brand new, clean (so far), user-friendly, and frankly, gorgeous.
Seeing a beautiful mosaic mural by renowned artist Yayoi Kusama entitled “A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe” (2022), sealed the deal for me. There was plenty of other artwork throughout the station as well.
The signs are clear, and there are plenty of elevators and escalators. It was easy to find which track our train would be on. Since the train we were taking originated at Grand Central rather than Penn Station, it was on the tracks early and it was relatively empty.
Do I dare say that the experience was pleasant? For more information, see MTA Guide to Grand Central Madison.