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As LIRR and Metro-North Reach Record Post-Pandemic Average Weekday Ridership, MTA Announces Opening of Grand Central Madison Escalators and Elevator at 43rd Street into Historic Biltmore Room

Updated May 8, 2023 12:45 p.m.
Biltmore Room Reopens

Two New Escalators and One Elevator Provide First Direct Connection Between Long Island Rail Road Concourse and Metro-North Railroad’s Main Level at Grand Central Terminal 

View Video of New Direct Connection Between Metro-North and LIRR Concourses 

View Video of Today’s News Conference 

View Photos from Today’s News Conference 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today unveiled two escalators and one elevator connecting Grand Central Madison’s Long Island Rail Road Concourse with Metro-North Railroad’s main concourse at Grand Central Terminal. The escalators ascend into Metro-North’s main concourse near Tracks 39 through 42, near 43rd Street, in the historic section of the concourse known as the Biltmore Room.  

“The Biltmore connection links the old and the new – a legendary space that harkens back to Gotham’s celebrated past opening to a glorious and expansive new space,” said Metro-North Railroad President and LIRR Interim President Catherine Rinaldi. “LIRR customers can now enjoy the historic architecture of the Biltmore Room as part of their daily experience, and the space itself has been returned to its original purpose.” 

"Today’s opening provides Grand Central Madison users – more than 50,000 of them each day last week – with a new street-level entrance that easily connects to Metro-North trains and other parts of the historic Grand Central,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “This is part of our effort to build porous connections between midtown and this new vital terminal serving so many New Yorkers.” 

“Opening this new, fully accessible connection between our two commuter railroads will bring even more customers to Grand Central Terminal and Grand Central Madison,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer and Senior Advisor Quemuel Arroyo. “As we continue to become One MTA, ensuring all of our services have accessible entry and transfer points for all customers shows our commitment to accessibility as a core value of this agency.” 

The reopening of the Biltmore Room comes after both railroads record their best month since 2020. Preliminary ridership statistics indicate that in April, both the LIRR and Metro-North Railroad carried a combined 9.46 million customers and posted their highest average weekday ridership since the pandemic began. 

On an average weekday in April the LIRR carried 200,915 customers. In the two months since Grand Central Madison opened the new terminal has already passed major iconic facilities like Boston South Station and Chicago Union Station in the rankings of busiest commuter railroad facilities. 

Metro-North carried 180,174 customers on an average weekday in April. On April 18, Metro-North reached a pandemic-era ridership record with 194,549 customers. The record was broken a day later, on April 19, when Metro-North carried 195,086 customers. The consecutive ridership records culminated in the railroad reaching its three-day ridership high since the pandemic of 193,111. 

About the Biltmore Room 

The Biltmore Room is a 6,000-square-foot space located at the northwest corner of Grand Central Terminal’s main upper level. It gained its name because it sits directly below the former Biltmore Hotel, Grand Central’s sister structure, which opened at the same time and operated from 1913-1981. 

For many years, the Biltmore Room was a popular arrival area for long-distance travelers on the New York Central Railroad. Once nicknamed the “Incoming Train Room” and the “Kissing Room,” it served as a space where arriving travelers would greet and reunite with loved ones. In its heyday, a lot of those travelers were soldiers returning home from the battlefield.  

The building that housed the Biltmore Hotel underwent a gut renovation in the early 1980s that transformed it into a modern office building then known as the Bank of America Building at 335 Madison Avenue. Today, following a recent renovation, it is known as 22 Vanderbilt.