I went into New York City last night to have a drink with a friend and former colleague. We arranged to meet in “The Shakespeare”, and English pub-like place in the William hotel on 39th street between Park and Madison Ave. As I was walking back along Park Avenue I noticed the brightly lit facade of Grand Central Terminal in front of me.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Statue. He built the original Grand Central Depot on 42nd Street in Manhattan. Finished in 1871 it served as the terminus for his railroad. The depot was replaced by the present Grand Central Terminal in 1913. Wikipedia describes him as follows:

(May 27, 1794 – January 4, 1877), also known informally as “Commodore Vanderbilt”,[2] was an American business magnate and philanthropist who built his wealth in railroads and shipping. Born poor and with but a mediocre education, his luck, perseverance and intelligence led into leadership positions in the inland water trade, and the rapidly growing railroad industry. He is best known for building the New York Central Railroad.

As one of the richest Americans in history, he was the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and provided the initial gift to found Vanderbilt University. According to historian H. Roger Grant:

Contemporaries, too, often hated or feared Vanderbilt or at least considered him an unmannered brute. While Vanderbilt could be a rascal, combative and cunning, he was much more a builder than a wrecker….being honorable, shrewd, and hard-working.”

Leave a Reply