The Grand Central Terminal Clock: The Most Famous Clock in New York

Clocks are more than just machines that tell time. Over the years since the dawn of history and time, we have constantly sought new ways to track the movement of the seconds, minutes, and hours. Beyond that, we've sought to create intricate time pieces that rise above simple clocks and instead become works of art.

The Grand Central Terminal Clock is one such example. This is an icon among the largest train station platform in the world. Let's explore the history and majesty that this famous clock has built up over the years.

A Monument For Movies and Art

People who are native to New York City, or those who have seen their fair share of movies will be familiar with the phrase "meet me under the clock." With this particular time piece, a specific name is not needed. It is not just "a" clock, it is "the" clock.

Located inside of the Grand Central Terminal, this clock is perched atop the information booth in the main concourse area. The clock has been the backdrop in tons of different movie scenes throughout the years. Beyond this, it has been used as the place for plenty of other purposes including:

It's no secret that Grand Central Station is filled with secret staircases and private tracks. Interestingly enough, one of these staircases is located beneath the desk where the clock sits. Through a secret door, this staircase can be reached, and it leads to...

the information area a floor below. Sorry it couldn't be more exciting. The clock was created by Seth Thomas, a famous clock maker from Connecticut. This particular time piece is estimated to be worth between 10 and 20 million dollars.

It is made with four convex faces, meaning the shape is round and pointing outward. Each of the four faces are made from precious opal. To give off the iconic glow that the clock has, there are lights placed behind each of the faces. The structure holding everything in place is made from brass. Sitting atop a massive metal pillar, it stands tall above the crowds that fill the station.

The top of the clock has a small point that most may think is decorative in nature, but it is actually a compass that always points to true north with 100% accuracy. While the surrounding area is huge, the clock is also fairly large. The clock was finished and installed in 1913 to mark the opening of the Grand Central Terminal.

It was completed and installed on the same year as the 100th birthday of the Seth Thomas Company as well.

The Clock's Movie Appearances and Growing Influence

The first time the Grand Central Terminal Clock appeared in a film was in 1942 in a film called Grand Central Murder. It was featured in several scenes throughout the film. This first appearance sparked other film makers to include it in some of their own works. Here are some modern films which showed the clock:

A film called The Clock has been said to feature the clock, but it is actually not the same piece as the film was shot in a different state. It also made an appearance in a Bing Crosby music video.  As you can see, this stationary clock has made quite a name for itself.

These films lent a huge popularity to the clock, so much so that it became a popular meeting place for people in the city. It has become so popular that it eclipsed one of the other intricate clocks in the same area. Located just outside the station, the clock above 42nd street has statues of Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury. Despite being the largest piece of art made form Tiffany glass, it is dwarfed by the interior clock which has earned the name "the clock" from locals.

So how does a 100 year old clock look this good? The answer lies in donations from various companies and private donors. This money has been used to maintain the look of the clock and replace any parts that have been needed over the years. At over 100 years old, it's still looking incredible thanks to the financial support from these donors.

Wrapping it Up

Who knew that a single clock could have so much history behind it? This incredible timepiece is a monument not only to the locals in New York City, but also to countless people around the world who have seen it appear in movies over the years.