These days, it's also common to see brides and grooms there, decked out in full wedding regalia: flowing white gowns, bouquets, bridesmaids and groomsmen, and, of course, photographers.
But why come to Grand Central as a wedding-photo destination? It's not like all these couples met on the 5:23 train to Connecticut.
"It's that juxtaposition of a moment of romance against the hustle and bustle," said New York City wedding planner Karen Bussen, adding that many of the couples taking wedding photos at Grand Central have no personal connection to it. "They're dropping their love story into this iconic place that lends romance and a larger sense of history."
When photographer John Marchisi was asked to shoot a couple's engagement photos at Grand Central, his goal was to "stop a moment in time for them." Using a slow shutter speed, he caught them in a still-life bubble with the hustle-bustle around them "melting into a beautiful blur." It was, he said, a metaphor for "that feeling when two people are in love, how you can get lost in each other."
Photographers need a permit to shoot at Grand Central if they're using anything other than a handheld camera (such as a tripod, lights or strobe), according to Meredith Conti of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the terminal. MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders says the wedding-photo trend isn't new, but folks who work in the wedding industry say the demand for photos at famous landmarks has been growing. "It's a way to immortalize the moment," said Marchisi. Bussen also cited the influence of Hollywood and fashion shoots: Everyone wants to look like a rock star.
But not all Grand Central brides are just going for the iconic backdrop. Jennifer Fleece did have a personal connection, starting with a second date with her now-husband Greg, who told her to meet him in front of the famous clock at 7 p.m.
"I hadn't really been to Grand Central a lot prior to meeting him that night," Fleece recalled. "I was so excited. It was so beautiful. I remember walking down the stairs and there he was, waiting."
They had drinks at a bar in the terminal called Campbell's Apartment, and kept meeting there as time went on. One night, he proposed in front of the clock, saying he hoped they'd take many journeys together in the future.
Of course, they had to come back for wedding photos. They've been married five years now, and Fleece goes through Grand Central on her way to work daily.
"I think of the proposal and our history there every single day," she said.Suggest a correction