New York, NY (December 1, 2022) – MTA Metro-North Railroad and City Experiences today announced global tours and experiences provider, Walks, as the new operator of the Official Grand Central Terminal Tour. The terminal tours return for the first time since taking a hiatus during the pandemic. The VIP tours provide guests with official tour of the historic landmark, offering a unique perspective of one of the most recognizable train terminals in the world. 

The tour will be delivered by Walks’ experienced guides, who will provide exclusively guided tours of landmarks around the world from the Vatican and Colosseum in Rome to The Louvre in Paris to Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and now Grand Central Terminal in New York City. 

Tickets are available seven days a week with tours starting at 3:00 p.m. Admission is $35.00 for adults and $30.00 for children. 

“Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City’s iconic locations with a rich history that will once again be told to visitors and fellow New Yorkers alike,”

 

said Metro-North President and LIRR Interim President Catherine Rinaldi. “Metro-North is excited to bring tours back after a two-year pause and are confident that Walks’ storytellers will do the history of Grand Central, and all the terminal’s historical features proud.” 

“Walks has always aimed to offer guests the most personal and unforgettable world-class tour opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else,” said SVP Hornblower Group, President & Founder of Walks Stephen Oddo. “You cannot find a more iconic institution in New York and in the world than Grand Central Terminal, which is rooted in such a steeped history as part of the fabric of the City. We are honored to partner with Grand Central Terminal as the official tour provider as we continue to align with renowned landmarks in key global destinations that are synonymous with our company mission of creating amazing experiences for our guests.” 

WalksThe 90-minute tour takes visitors on an exclusive journey discovering the many known and unknown treasures of the Midtown Manhattan gem, giving them a sense of how the Grand Central Terminal revolutionized travel for visitors and commuters alike. Guests are paired with an expert guide who provides a rich history of the landmark, celebrating the influential people who have shaped the Terminal into a world-renowned travel hub. 

Guests will have the opportunity to see all the major sites that makeup Grand Central Terminal, including the Grand Central Market, Transit Museum, Grand Central Clock, Vanderbilt Hall, the Whispering Gallery, the Main Concourse, and the newly opened-Grand Central Madison.

The new terminal, adorned with public art and replete with storefronts and restaurants–most still empty–is the country’s largest new railway station in nearly seven decades and the most significant expansion over the last century of the Long Island Rail Road, the busiest commuter railroad in North America.

Hailed as a temple to the everyday commuter, Grand Central’s cathedral-like building was constructed in 1913 as part of the City Beautiful movement, celebrating an increasingly diverse and vibrant Manhattan. Today, the beaux-arts style building remains one of the country’s greatest architectural achievements, ranking no. 13 on the American Institute of Architecture’s list of America’s Favorite Architecture. 

Tour guides take an intimate look at the daily routine of one of the world’s largest and busiest travel hubs and tell the stories of historical characters like Cornelius Vanderbilt or Paul “Tick Tock” Kugler, who made Grand Central what it is today  Guests will get a peek into the new Grand Central Madison terminal.  Construction began on this terminal in the 1960’s but was abandoned due to financial restraints and will officially open January 25, 2023.

Riders will be greeted when entering the new terminal’s concourse from the historic Grand Central terminal with ,”River Light”, which is a nearly 800-square foot mosaic mural , inspired by the way sunlight glints on the surface of the East River, the threshold between Manhattan and Long Island.  There are four mosaic murals in total located in arched node walls thoughout the Mezzanine level: “The Water’s Way,” “The Presence,” “The Spring,” and “The Sound.”  These bring flora and fauna into the new terminal and conceptually relate with Grand Central and Long Island.  Smith developed the images both visually and narratively by photographing the local landscape and animal life to portray quiet moments found in the Long Island landscape.

Visitors will also be treated with a floor-to-ceiling mosaic which is “A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe (2022).” by internationally renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. An exploration of form, subject matter, and space, the compositions combine abstract and figurative elements that allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.   This “Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe” offers viewers a continuous, flowing expanse that renews these familiar motifs and symbols from “My Eternal Soul.” The permanent artwork , fabricated by Miotto Mosaics Art Studios, measures 120 feet wide by 7 feet high with approximately 875 square feet of glass mosaic , is a heartfelt gift to New York Ciy by the artist. An accompanying poem written by Kusama speaks directly to all that will experience her artwork from near and far.

This is Yahoi Kusama.

I offer you a message of love, directly from my heart unto the universe.

May you all experience the true beauty of loving humanity.

Human life is beautiful.

My wish is to deliver this vision, with all that is in my life, to the people of New York.

After touring, guests can also take advantage of Grand Central’s shops and restaurants, and full calendar of events all under one magnificent roof. 

Walks is a global leader in tours and activities, operating sightseeing tours, food tours, and day trips in 8 countries and 20 cities around the world including Rome, Paris, Barcelona, London, New York City and San Francisco. 

Specializing in small group special access tours, Walks began as Walks of Italy in 2009, guiding over a million travelers to attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum and St. Mark’s in Venice. The company has since expanded globally with major U.S. offerings including the Statue of Liberty, and Alcatraz, leading hundreds of thousands of guests on tours of top attractions. 

In early 2021, Walks joined City Experiences’ growing portfolio of land-based experience companies, supporting the company’s overall business strategy towards growing its product offerings for its guests. 

City Experiences represents a diverse portfolio of experiences in major travel destinations worldwide and includes more than 25 brands, offering locals and tourists alike a broad range of global experiences. 

For more information visit cityexperiences.com/ or takewalks.com 

Please CLICK HERE for press photos of the Official Grand Central Terminal Tour. 

 

About City Experiences 

City Experiences represents Hornblower Group’s expansive portfolio of water- and land-based experience companies and includes two sub-brands: City Cruises and City Ferry. City Cruises companies operate dining, sightseeing and private events across 22 destinations in the U.S., Canada and the UK. City Cruises companies also operate cruises on behalf of the National Park Service and the Niagara Parks Commission and currently hold service contracts to provide ferry service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, Alcatraz Island and Niagara Falls. City Ferry companies offer specialized 

knowledge and expertise required to transport passengers, vehicles and other cargo safely across inland and coastal waterways, serving as operator of NYC Ferry and Puerto Rico ferry system, among others. City Experiences’ portfolio of companies also offers a range of water- and land-based experiences including shore excursions, partner-offered experiences, multi-port packages, with companies including Venture Ashore, Niagara Jet City Cruises, Walks and Devour Tours. For more information visit cityexperiences.com. 

 

About Walks 

Walks is a global leader in tours and activities, operating sightseeing tours, food tours, and day trips in 8 countries and more than 20 cities around the world including Rome, Paris, Barcelona, London, New York City and San Francisco. Specializing in small group special access tours, Walks works closely with many of Europe’s top attractions and major U.S. and Canadian attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz and Niagara Falls. Led by only the best local guides, Walks’ tours are thoughtfully designed to offer a deeper insight into the culture, food, and history of their destinations. For more information visit takewalks.com. 

 

About Hornblower Group 

Hornblower Group is a global leader in experiences and transportation. Hornblower Group’s corporate businesses are comprised of three premier experience divisions: American Queen Voyages®, its overnight cruising division; City Experiences, its land and water-based experiences as well as ferry and transportation services; and Journey Beyond, Australia’s leading experiential travel group. Spanning a 100-year history, Hornblower Group’s portfolio of international offerings includes water-based experiences (dining and sightseeing cruises), land-based experiences (walking tours, food tours and excursions), overnight experiences (cruises and railways) and ferry and transportation services. Hornblower Marine, a subsidiary of Hornblower Group, provides vessel outhaul and maintenance services at Bridgeport Boatworks in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Additionally, Anchor Operating System, LLC, a subsidiary of Hornblower Group, provides reservation, ticketing, and website integration services for clients in the transportation, tourism and entertainment industries. Today, Hornblower Group’s global portfolio covers 114 countries and territories, 125 U.S. cities and serves more than 22 million guests annually. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Hornblower Group’s additional corporate offices reside in Adelaide, Australia; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; London, United Kingdom; New Albany, Indiana; New York, New York; Dublin, Ireland; and across Ontario, Canada. For more information visit hornblowercorp.com or cityexperiences.com. 

 

Press Contacts For City Experiences 

Melissa Gunderson/City Experiences/ [email protected] 

Michael DeiCas/City Experiences/ [email protected] 

Tracie Silberberg/City Experiences/ [email protected]