New York is in a state of change. There’s a renewal, there are repairs, it’s reshaping before our eyes. A walk along 42nd Street shows the transformation.

Scaffolding in the Main Concourse at Grand Central Terminal. Photo: Gary Hershorn.

You’d best get in quick to take a look (and a photo) of the cavernous Main Concourse at Grand Central Terminal. Scaffolding started to go up yesterday morning for “restoration of the ceilings and walls”. The MTA press office is checking on timings — but we all know once that New York City scaffolding goes up, it doesn’t come down quickly!

Pershing Square’s usually packed dining space having a quiet morning. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Over the road at upscale diner, Pershing Square, the breakfast crowd was sparse for indoor seating. The usual commuter and tourist bustle is lacking at the moment.

Smokers in front of Nat Sherman’s tiny tobacconist and huge cigar. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The new Vanderbilt Tower was shrouded in mist and underneath, the tiny “Tobacconist to the World”, Nat Sherman, has closed up. There’s a simple note saying: “Thank you for your patronage all these years” — they opened in 1930.

Building out the Winter Market at Bryant Park. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

The Winter Market is happening in Bryant Park this year. It’s scheduled to start at the end of the month. The shops will be socially distanced, with around 60 vendors, about a third of their normal capacity.

The Ice Rink under construction at Bryant Park. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

There will be a decorated holiday tree and Bank of America Winter Village will still have an Ice Rink when it opens next Friday, October 30. Skating is still free, but advance reservations are essential this year. Get your skates on!

Tony’s Di Napol setting up for dining in Times Square. Photo: Holly-Anne Devlin.

Taste of Times Square starts this evening, and Tony’s Di Napoli will be taking over the plaza at 43rd Street and Broadway and offering family-style Italian cuisine under the lights and signs of the crossroads of the world. If you get there at the right time, there will be Venetian music too. Snag a table by giving them a call (212) 221-0100.

Revelers in Times Square. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

And if you wonder about New York coming back, you’ve just got to wander Times Square. It looks like the world the youth of the city are making the city their playground. The idea of “revelers” in Times Square at the end of 2020 takes on a whole different meaning!

Join the Conversation


  1. Hello Phil O’Brien
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful and ambitious web site. I think it’s great.
    I’ll be you have a lot of fun with it.

    I am interested in learning more about the renovation project currently underway at GCT, specifically about the monumental scaffold at the north elevation and the Pan Am Building stairs. Would you by any chance happen to know what company installed the scaffold. There are no signs on the site.

    I am working on a photo essay that will include the GCT scaffold and I would like to have documentation for each image.

    Thanks for any information you might have .

    Best wishes,


    1. Hi Richard. Suggest connecting with @garyhershorn on Instagram. He is more regularly there documenting. Gary is very responsive. Cheers. Phil

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