My Story: What a great picture! Cathedral light streaming through the windows of what was once one of America’s greatest places. A unique and… What? It’s not unique?
The Facts: Lots of photographs of Grand Central Terminal (aka Grand Central Station) with light streaming through the glass were taken from 1920 to, well, yesterday. There seems to be great confusion over when they were taken. The above photo may be found on line attributed to 1929, 1930, 1934, and other dates. That specific image is from the N.Y. Transit Museum. Most places claim the photographer is unknown, but there is a tagged photo from Getty Images that seems to identify the photographer. Or else Hal Morey of the N.Y. Central R.R. just used this picture to advertise his photography.
When is this one? One place says 1926, but no other info:
Here’s another, similar, view tagged 1934, photog unknown:
But maybe the place selling that poster was lazy in its attribution. Because there are photos showing the opposite windows such as this one by John Collier, 1941, which is obviously the same picture from a flipped negative or plate:
Just so you get your bearings, that kiosk is in the center of the concourse. This is 1920,we are told:
But it’s a cropped version of this one from the New York City Municipal Archives, who date it 1935- 1941:
But, whoever and whenever, these pictures are much the same. The image is striking but how many times can it be repeated before it loses its artistic punch and becomes just more kitsch? I don’t know, but I still like looking at these photographs. All of them.