A Grander Grand Central in N.Y.

One of the world's best-known transportation hubs, New York City's 85-year-old Grand Central Terminal, gets an official rededication Oct. 1 after two years of cleaning, modernizing and reconstructing public areas. The next step: moving about 60 shops and restaurants into the station.

The $197-million renovation strips away clutter left by decades of ad hoc additions and other changes since the sprawling, 76-acre rail station opened in 1913. The station's famous Sky Ceiling was cleaned and relighted. Soiled giant chandeliers, once believed to be dirty brass, turned out to be nickel- and gold-plated when they were shined up.

To be unveiled Oct. 1 is the grand East Staircase, which was in the original 1913 design of architect Whitney Warren but was dropped just before construction. And recently the pedestrian ramps (commonly called the Oyster Bar ramps) from the main concourse to the lower level were opened up overhead for the first time since 1927, giving a view of the ceiling, chandeliers and newly cleaned clerestory windows. The building also has gotten its first centralized air-cooling system and has become fully accessible to the disabled.

Among the new retail outlets to come are Godiva chocolates, Banana Republic clothing and a restaurant from the owners of Harry's New York Bar. The Oyster Bar, a New York institution, will remain.

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