There’s an express route to the new Grand Central Madison station set 15 stories below ground: three elevators that could become a hit with LIRR commuters.
The lifts — two of which are hard to find — take about 20 seconds to travel from the street to the concourse level of the new terminal. A walk from the street to the gleaming platforms beneath Grand Central Terminal takes more than seven minutes.
“Once you find it, it’s easy, like everything else in life,” said Richard Arkwright, who rode into the terminal from Manhasset and took the elevator from the station up to East 48th Street. “Now I got to find out what street I’m on.”
The new service and terminal cost the MTA more than $11 billion, but some of the elevators look low budget.
One of them sits beneath scaffolding, embedded in a stained, shabby wall on East 44th Street between Madison and Vanderbilt avenues. It’s easy to miss a sign above the door indicating that the elevator is a quick ride to the terminal.
Another small elevator on East 47th Street is tucked outside a construction site where crews are erecting the new JPMorgan Chase headquarters. The third one, located on East 48th Street, is easier to find, thanks to a shiny glass encasement and clear signage.
Each elevator travels 50 feet down from the sidewalks of Midtown. The trip on foot requires riders to walk into the main hall of Grand Central Terminal, down a set of escalators in the dining concourse and through a long hallway.
The elevators don’t get riders from the street all the way to the platforms. For that, commuters can use a different set of elevators that drop another 90 feet from the concourse to the mezzanine above the tracks.
That ride takes about 15 seconds – faster than one of several 182-foot-long escalators.
The three lifts are key to making Grand Central Madison comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Riders in wheelchairs or pushing strollers can still access the station if one breaks down.
But be forewarned: There are other elevators into the bowels of old Grand Central Terminal.
It took Jessica Cruz, 46, more than 20 minutes to get out of the station on Wednesday morning after she got into the wrong elevator on Grand Central Madison’s concourse below 45th Street. She wanted to go the street, but ended up in a little-used area of old Grand Central Terminal called the 45th Street Cross Passage. It’s a hallway built beneath Metro-North tracks, but above the new LIRR tracks.
“I’m kind of disgruntled right now because I just want to get out, and I can’t,” said Jessica Cruz, who commuted into Grand Central Madison from Malverne for the first time on Wednesday. “I figured my office is off Sixth and 46th, so this will be faster.”