Grand Central Terminal's iconic main concourse, with its ceiling of glittering stars, will likely welcome another icon later this year: a single, glowing white apple. The Store is so big and open that Apple will become part of Grand Central.
Apple is paying Charlie Palmer's Metrazur restaurant $5 million to vacate its space on the terminal's east balcony more than eight years before its lease expires. The MTA will get significantly higher annual rent: $1.1 million from Apple vs. $263,997 from Metrazur. In addition to the space currently occupied by Metrazur, Apple will move into an adjacent, currently vacant balcony on the northeast side of the terminal.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials on Monday offered a glimpse at the Apple store proposed for the train station, near the terminal's east staircase. Ahead of the agency board's approval on Wednesday. Construction is expected to take about four months.
"It maintains Grand Central as the iconic structure and place that it is," Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut said at a meeting of the MTA board's railroad committee. That committee oversees Metro-North, which controls the terminal.
During his presentation, MTA Real Estate Director Jeffrey Rosen announced both the Apple store and a new Shake Shack for the terminal.
"I can't imagine why any kid in Westchester would want to do anything other than go into Grand Central and shop at Apple and eat at Shake Shack," Rosen said.
Board members wryly noted that Penn Station, Grand Central's less glamorous sister across town, will not be offering such sleek retail any time soon.
"Kids from Long Island and Jersey can take the 1 and 2 and then the shuttle" to buy iPads and Shackburgers, said Pat Foye, the board member from Nassau County.
The board member from Suffolk, Mitchell Pally, followed his lead:
"It makes the Penn Station customers no longer second-class citizens," he said. "It makes them third-class citizens."
Foye piled on:
"This creates not only a digital, but a cheeseburger divide, between the two."