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National Geographic - Inside Grand Central

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Get an inside look, as never before seen, at the hidden secrets, engineering marvels and colorful history of this iconic landmark. From the producers of Inside the U.S. Secret Service, journey into the heart of New York City ? Grand Central Terminal. Explore the magnificent secrets of this iconic landmark as we take you inside the heart, soul and amazing engineering of this superstructure. From railroad cars to rush hours, we unlock the colorful tales of its past, present and future.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: National Geographic Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CSTK4W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,809 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kyle Tolle on August 24, 2007
Grand Central Station, on its own, can probably be summed up into a couple of words: simply amazing. As the world's largest railroad terminal, some of its known facts are incredible. About 700,000 commuters a day (250 million per year) utilize 538 different trains spread out over 48 acres of real estate that enclose this massive structure. The main concourse encompasses 80,000 square feet of space with 60 foot windows and a roof reaching 125 feet.

Sometimes referred to as a `city within a city', Grand Central has its own fire and police departments, the nation's largest lost and found, huge power and operations facilities hidden in secret locations, and many of the conveniences that you would expect to find in a modern suburban mall.

When it comes to a comprehensive history, there is full coverage of that here by National Geographic. Beginning with railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt's masterful idea to build Grand Central Depot (as it was known then), segments cover the massive construction efforts, the transformation from steam engines to electrical trains, and the glamorous and famous 20th Century Limited line that was then comparable to the Orient Express.

In later chapters, the automobile and jet age are explored in how they threatened the livelihood of railway transportation due to their newfound popularity. Along with this is a look at the demise of Penn Station and how Grand Central Station almost suffered a similar fate until it was eventually saved from destruction by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rounding out this program, it details how a complete restoration was performed on the aging terminal and explores the modern security measures in place to safeguard the facility against terrorism and other threats.
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My mother was from the Bronx; I grew up on the south-shore of Long Island; returned to NYC many times over the past 5 decades; wound down my international career living within NY walking distance from Grand Central. Over the course of my lifetime I always appreciated the Terminal for its complexity and convenience, but not until I bought this as a gift for my son who is now a graduate student at NYU, did I appreciate it for it's secrets and beauty. If, like me, you love NYC and solutions for moving the masses efficiently and reliably, you really need to see this.
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A complete look at this national landmark, Inside Grand Central is a loving look at a piece of America's culture. The station was built in the era of railroads when automobiles were new and airplanes were just being invented. It was massive and expensive; it also made boatloads of money for the Vanderbilts. Through the years, the popularity of trains began to decline, and by the 1960s and 70s, Grand Central Station was more frequently used as a refuge for the homeless than a transportation depot. It was supposed to be torn down like its rival station Penn Station. Fortunately, an uprising kept this from happening.

A documentary for many interests, this National Geographic presentation examines many aspects of the station from the history, the restoration, it technological advancements, how it runs, its security against terrorism, and future plans. None of these topics are covered as thoroughly as they could be, but as a general interest documentary, this one is excellent. It really shows why it was so important that Grand Central was saved from demolition.
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National Geographic's DVD celebration of Grand Central Terminal reminds me why GCT is one of my favorite buildings in the whole wide world. Every time I lament the death of Pennsylvania Station I quickly give thanks that GCT still survives and looking better than ever...and the best is yet to come when the East Side Connection brings LIRR trains into the heart of the city.

The informative narrative gives a historical overview of the Grand Central and its relationship to New York City. It also exposes hidden secrets about the station never before revealed.

What the video doesn't reveal are the dark, dirty, and dangerous train platforms...a sharp and bitter contrast to the sparkling interior of main hall. Walking to and from Metro North trains on these grimy platforms often feels unsafe. This is a security risk that also deserves a major renovation.

One could literally eat off the floor under the train sheds of Paddington and St. Pancras in London. I wouldn't suggest trying that in Grand Central, Penn Station, 30th Street, or Washington Union Station.
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Even better: rent something else.

This documentary suffered from a lack of a script editor and a video editor. If you're over 30, you'll find the nonstop MTV style swooping camera movement nauseating. Suitable for a documentary on rollercoasters, not on a building.

The same phrases are repeated too many times and should have been cut. They should at least be consistent. You will lose count of how many times they tell you how many people a day pass through the station. And the number they tell you keeps changing. Cmon.

I found very little substance and at least 30 minutes of useless and repetitive fluff in this documentary. Very disappointing.
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