MTA officials unveiled a new direct entrance to the LIRR Concourse...

MTA officials unveiled a new direct entrance to the LIRR Concourse at Grand Central Madison from the main floor at Grand Central Terminal. Credit: Marcus Santos

A newly opened entrance and exit at Grand Central Madison gives Long Island Rail Road commuters their quickest access to Manhattan’s streets. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday unveiled the LIRR terminal’s new link to the Biltmore Room on Grand Central’s main level. 

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A newly opened entrance and exit at Grand Central Madison gives Long Island Rail Road commuters their quickest access to Manhattan’s streets. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday unveiled the LIRR terminal’s new link to the Biltmore Room on Grand Central’s main level. 

The connection includes two new escalators and an elevator near the southern tip of Grand Central Madison. The 6,000-square-foot Biltmore Room includes access to Metro-North’s tracks 39-42, and an exit to 43rd Street and Vanderbilt.

The revolving doors to the outside were a welcome sight for Port Washington commuter Efrat Blum, who, like many LIRR riders, has had a hard time finding her way out of Grand Central Madison since it opened about three months ago.

"I don't know Grand Central. I know Penn Station like the back of my hand. I've been getting lost. So, this is good — the direct access to the street," Blum, 54, said. 

MTA officials said they were getting relatively little use out of the Biltmore Room, which once connected to the old Biltmore Hotel. In recent years, the room housed a florist and a newsstand. 

“It really didn’t exist as a space the way that you see it here today,” Catherine Rinaldi, president of Metro-North and interim president of the LIRR, said at a news conference Monday. “We have reclaimed the use of this beautiful space for the use of Metro-North customers, but also Long Island Rail Road customers, people passing back and forth between the two systems, creating a connection that is just going to recognize the way our customers use the service.”

The work on the Biltmore Room included replacing marble floors and repainting the century-plus old room. Opening the connection was among the last checklist items for the completion of the MTA’s $11.1 billion East Side Access megaproject, which links the LIRR to Grand Central.

The terminal opened in January, about 25 years after the project began. MTA officials said more than 1 million LIRR riders have traveled through the new station so far.

The LIRR expects about 22% of Grand Central Madison passengers will exit through the Biltmore Room, the eighth of 10 planned exits to open at the new station. The MTA has plans for two more exits — at 48th Street and at 347 Madison Ave.

MTA officials also revealed Monday that they have arrived at a permanent solution to a ventilation issue that held up the planned December opening of Grand Central Madison. The station opened in January, after workers installed a temporary doorway separating the terminal from the dining court level above. MTA officials said Monday that they plan to install a permanent doorway at the location that will be made of glass and include sliding doors.

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