Please forgive me, but this post is going to be a plug for something I think any thrifty visitor to New York should do. Grand Central Terminal offers free tours every Wednesday at 12:30 in the main hall, near the clock. Go. Set two hours aside to take in the history and trivia that the guide named Martin, aka "Marty," a retired high school teacher, says he has to let out so that he can sleep at night. Because he was a teacher, the man can project. There was something beautiful about the way his strong New York accent would reverberate through the marble halls of Grand Central, over the constant din of the half million commuters who pass through the terminal daily.
I was enthralled the entire two hours. I think I may have embarrassed Marty after the tour by thanking him and telling him that, as a history lover, this tour was the best thing I'd done so far in the city. Not only is this a tour of Grand Central, but it's a history on the United States railroad system, the buildings surrounding the terminal, and of New York City at large.
There are two guides who do the Wednesday tours. Make sure you get Marty. He is the best. Here is a glimpse: