Metro-North and Penguin Random House Bring Free, Online Literature to Commuters with 'Grand Central Reads'

Metro-North Railroad and Penguin Random House are celebrating New York authors, New York City, and Grand Central Terminal itself with commuters and visitors with “Grand Central Reads.” The partnership will utilize recently expanded and improved free Wi-Fi and wireless service activated by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.

Starting today, June 26, the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement of its decision in Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City that saved Grand Central from redevelopment, and continuing through August 31, customers can use their mobile devices to download free Penguin Random House book excerpts from inside Grand Central Terminal, Terminal platforms and the Park Avenue Tunnel. The Grand Central Reads program features a platform created by Penguin Random House that offers visitors free access to extensive excerpts from the publisher’s award-winning catalog of adult fiction and non-fiction titles spanning all genres including thrillers and romance, children’s and young adult, and a variety of political, self-help, and cookbooks. Public seating is available in the Terminal’s dining concourse, where readers can relax and browse titles while grabbing a bite to eat.  To access Grand Central Reads, customers can connect to the public Wi-Fi and visit grandcentralreads.com  

Grand Central Terminal activated improved wireless service in the Terminal’s platform areas and the Park Avenue Tunnel. It also added a free open public Wi-Fi network, called “GrandCentral-FreeWiFi,” covering the entirety of the Terminal, including public areas, retail spaces, and Grand Central North Passageways. The wireless service and Wi-Fi were built by a consortium of four wireless operators: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. In addition to boosting connectivity for passengers and visitors throughout the Terminal, the updated wireless system will also improve communications systems used for Metro-North operations and emergency response activities by the MTA Police Department and New York City Fire Department.

“We create partnerships and experiences like Grand Central Reads to help us consistently evolve and improve how Grand Central Terminal serves the 750,000 people who pass through and visit daily,” said Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi. “We’re excited to give people an opportunity to ignite their passion for reading, connect with each other, and experience the heart of New York City in new ways.”

“Penguin Random House is pleased to partner with the MTA to offer book selections tailored and timed to the length of individual commutes,” said Madeline McIntosh, CEO, Penguin Random House U.S. “Books are fantastic companions that add inspiration and entertainment to the commuting experience, and we’re delighted that Grand Central Reads puts our books together with visitors to this wonderful historic landmark.”

Grand Central Reads features a wide range of content from thrillers to non-fiction, classics to cookbooks. Readers can even make selections tailored to the length of their commute with a special ‘read time’ feature. The program highlights the works of New York authors and stories featuring the Big Apple and Grand Central Terminal, and eventful train rides. These include:

  • Reading Jackie by William Kuhn
  • The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis
  • Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories by Randy Garutti, Mark Rosati and Dorothy Kalins
  • DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 New York City
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Grand Central visitors who enjoy the excerpts also can choose to purchase the full-length e-books directly.   From more information about the Grand Central Reads program, please visit: grandcentralreads.com