Linda Fairstein is well-known for illuminating the dark histories in many of New York’s forgotten corners—and sometimes in the city’s most popular landmarks. In Terminal City, Fairstein turns her attention to one of New York’s most iconic structures—Grand Central Terminal.
From the world’s largest Tiffany clock decorating the 42nd Street entrance to its spectacular main concourse, Grand Central has been a symbol of beauty and innovation in New York City for more than one hundred years. But “the world’s loveliest station” is hiding more than just an underground train system. When the body of a young woman is found in the tower suite of the Waldorf Astoria—one of the most prestigious hotels in Manhattan—Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace find themselves hunting for an elusive killer whose only signature is carving a carefully drawn symbol into his victims’ bodies, a symbol that bears a striking resemblance to train tracks.
When a second body bearing the same bloody symbol is discovered in a deserted alleyway right next to the terminal building, all attention shifts to the iconic transportation hub, where the potential for a bigger attack weighs heavily on everyone’s minds. With the President of the United States set to arrive for a United Nations meeting at the week’s end, Alex and Mike must contend with Grand Central’s expansive underground tunnels and century-old dark secrets—as well as their own changing relationship—to find a killer who appears to be cutting a deadly path straight to the heart of the city.
“The Queen of Intelligent Suspense.”
— Lee Child
“A champion teller of detective tales.”
- USA Today
“Alex Cooper is a fascinating heroine…based on the equally fascinating life of her creator.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“One of the best crime fiction writers in America today.”
– Nelson DeMille
“Every page…is brimming with the kind of you-are-there reality that can only come from someone who has been there, seen it, done it.”
– Michael Connelly on Killer Heat
“Linda Fairstein writes tough, beautiful prose about a world she knows first hand.”
– Lisa Scottoline on Cold Hit
“Fairstein is superbly attuned to the sinister vibes of the famous, as well as forgotten, New York City locales.”
—Maureen Corrigan, NPR.org
“Long before sex crimes became everyday fictional fare on America’s favorite cop shows, Linda Fairstein was in court and on the streets working ripped-from-the-headlines cases.”
— USA Today
Praise for Night Watch:
“Fairstein’s extensive prosecutorial experience adds authenticity to this thrilling procedural, a tasty soufflé of escargots, Beaujolais, cocaine, and murder that will entice the author’s many fans.”
— Library Journal
“As always, Manhattan becomes a character in itself, with the spotlight shining here on the inner workings of the restaurant industry in all its complexity, splendor, and corruption. A real winner from a legal-thriller master.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Need a good thriller that describes the intricate details and history of one of New York City’s better known landmarks? Then Fairstein’s 16th adventure with Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper is just the ticket.” - Library Journal (starred review)
“It doesn’t get better than this.” - BookReporter
- 750,000 people pass through Grand Central Terminal each day. About half a million people are commuters and the rest are tourists who come to view the spectacular structure. It is the world’s 6th most visited tourist attraction, and opened to the public one hundred years ago, in 1913.
- The main concourse is 36,000 square feet, larger than the nave of Notre Dame Cathedral. The terminal and its train yards cover over 48 acres.
- A train arrives at Grand Central every forty-seven seconds.
- The aqua-colored celestial ceiling consists of ten constellations, and twenty five hundred stars in an October night sky scene – but it was installed backwards. When the painters created the ceiling in 1913, they misinterpreted the design, so it’s actually a mirror image of what it should be. The Vanderbilts, who owned Grand Central at that time, told the media that they planned it that way, so it would represent God’s view looking down at the terminal from the heavens.
- There are secret basements, hidden staircases, and isolated platforms for dignitaries that don’t appear on any floor plans. There is a special track which was created to run directly below the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It is still kept up and running when the President of the United Sates visits town, in case he needs a means of emergency egress from the hotel.
- The MTA rents the terminal. It’s actually privately owned by a 55 year old real estate developer who bought the building itself, as well as the tracks below which run seventy five miles up to Poughkeepsie, and the air rights above it, too—for 80 million dollars in 2006.
- There at least six hundred people who live in the tunnels that burrow out of 42nd street below the concourse. Some of them have their own little “apartments” which are cubby holes pick axed into the cracked concrete of the walls. Known as the mole people, they have their own mayor and system of regulations. Many use sprinkler pipes to get water and electrical wire to screw in light bulbs.
- The black metal boxes positioned around the concourse and the wires dangling from some of the arches sniff the air for traces of poisonous gas or any kind of chemical that would signal a biological attack. The sensors feed data to a computer system which runs constantly and is primed to alert security if there’s a positive result.
- The levels beneath the terminal are the deepest in New York City. Think of a 10 story office building turned upside down. The Long Island Rail Road is building a new link at the terminal that will land even deeper, at sixteen stories below, and from which it will take passengers four minutes to ascend to the main concourse. When completed, 80,000 commuters from Long Island will be able to arrive in Manhattan without stopping at Penn Station.
- When the design for Grand Central was sketched in 1900, the master planners wanted to change the entire complexion of midtown Manhattan from slums and slaughterhouses to making it the center of the city. Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt had the idea to sink the railroad tracks below the street. A New York Central Railroad engineer came up with the concept of air rights and sold them to the properties that sat on top of the tracks – what we all know as Park Avenue today.
- It is possible for a passenger to get off the train and to any level of the terminal or street without encountering a single stair. The wide ramps were the genius of the original architects.