Official Audio Tours of Grand Central Terminal Offered for First Time MTA Metro-North Railroad Offers Entertaining, Informative History of the Terminal
One of the most popular destinations in New York City - Grand Central Terminal - now has an official, self-guided audio tour available in English, Spanish and French. Japanese, German and Italian will be added early next year.
MTA Metro-North Railroad, which operates the Terminal, has teamed up with Orpheo USA, one of the world's most experienced producers of audio tours, to give tourists, travelers and locals alike a history of the terminal filled with interesting details and insights.
"The demand for this service is obvious to anyone who uses the terminal regularly," said Metro-North President Howard Permut. "Group tours of the Terminal are wildly popular and we often see huge groups of people huddled around a guide, struggling to hear."
"Metro-North has seized the opportunity to offer an entertaining, official and inexpensive tour, while creating a new stream of revenue for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority," said MTA Chairman Jay Walder. "We expect it to be a hit."
The Orpheo Group has equipped famous sites all over the world including several renowned New York sites such as the Empire State Building, the U.S.S. Intrepid and the Museum of the City of New York. Other famous venues are the Great Wall of China, the Prado Museum in Madrid, the Kremlin in Moscow, the Acropolis Museum in Athens, and Monaco Palace among others.
"Orpheo has installed many historical sites around the world, but this is the first train station that we have ever equipped with an audio tour - and what an exciting site it is!" said Orpheo Group President, Alain Eisenstein. "Grand Central Terminal is so full of history, secrets, and so much more. I have learned so many things about this site in the development of this project that I now understand where the heart of New York is. We worked closely with the team at Metro-North Railroad to create the content which will provide one of the most unique visitor experiences in our nearly 20 years of designing audio tours."
Orpheo's state-of-the-art audio device and headset comes with a map of the terminal for just $5 for adults with discounts for seniors and the disabled at $4 and students at $3. Children under 12 pay only $1.
The tour also has an introduction by New York City's own mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
In addition to the headset tour, visitors will also be able to download the tour to their personal MP3 players, iPhones and in the near future to smartphones using Android for $3.99 at www.myorpheo.com/official-grand-central-tour. The audio tour is available seven days a week, 365 days a year at specially-marked "GCT Tour" windows on the Main Concourse. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., but may be extended during the holidays.
The tour focuses not only on the architectural highlights of the Terminal but provides a real story about little known secrets, anecdotes, archival material and the History of the Terminal, with a capital H. Visitors will not see Grand Central with the same eyes after taking the tour
Listeners can take the "local" or "express" tour. And if visitors are interested in more in-depth information, there are options for additional material at the push of a button. The self-guided tour can last as little as 30 minutes to just over an hour.
Orpheo's services include: audio tour programming; the tour delivery technology - primarily custom designed, rechargeable, digital, MP3 audio players; staffing and on-site operations; long- range planning with site management of the above components.
In the last two decades, audio tours have been used by many of the world's great museums and visited sites to help their visitors understand and appreciate their exhibitions and collections.
In the coming months, the tour may be complemented by a visual component offering additional highlights of the Terminal's history, renovation, special events and clips from movies filmed there over the years.