If you've ever spent some time marveling at the Main Concourse inside Grand Central Terminal, you may have noticed a small rectangular dark patch high on the ceiling. At first glance, it looks like it could be a vent, or panel of some sort, but it is really just an uncleaned patch of dirt that tells a bit of history about the building. Watch this short video from Gothamist to learn why.
On the constellation-filled ceiling of Grand Central's main concourse, there's a small dark patch at the edge where the mural and marble meet, in the northwest corner. That dark patch is an homage of sorts to this dirty ol' town—it was darkened through decades of exposure to a few pollutants, but mainly cigarette smoke. When the ceiling was finally cleaned in the mid-1990s, a decision was made to leave this small 9" x 18" rectangle untouched. The result is the city's most satisfying before & after.
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