The photo at left is a scene of what one would have seen when entering the main entrance to the Central Terminal building. The bronze bison once stood proudly, centered on it's pedestal, easily visible to bid departing travelers farewell and to greet arriving travelers a warm hello. "Meet me at the buffalo," was a familiar phrase expressed between folks meeting at the Central Terminal. I took this photo in 1987, during one of my many visits to the outside of the building, back then. Because of the little mishap that happened in the earlier part of that decade, my friends getting apprehended by the local authorities, my visits were strictly focused on the exterior of the terminal. On this day however, I was lucky enough to catch the old owner of the building moving some of his property out of the terminal. In doing so, the main entrance was left open and unattended and I got bold enough to stick my lens inside and grab a couple of quick shots. I was glad to see that the interior of the station was still in good, usable shape. Little did I know that things would soon change.
In 1991 I grew a set of nads and decided to venture inside and get what
I had been dying to do for years, get some great shots of the inside of
the terminal. I had visited the inside of the terminal, legally in 1988,
to attend a Dingus Day celebration held inside the building. The building
was still in good shape back then and I assumed that it still would resemble
what I saw then, three years later. What the hell, if a couple of thousand
alcohol-fueled, Polish-Americans, armed with squirt guns and pussy willow
switches couldn't damage the old gal, what could?
The photo at right is another shot taken in 1987. This is as far as
I dared to venture inside.
I was shocked to see that the building had fallen into such a state of disrepair in just three short years. The clock in the center of the main concourse was shattered, as were all the news stands. Sadly of all, the bison that still looked so regal in 1988, was now smashed to bits. I traversed the inside of the building, top to bottom, only to see that the whole terminal was in equally sad shape.
It seems that the new owner, who purchased the place and took possession after 1988, didn't seem to care what happened to the building. Oh, there had been many stories and rumors passed around about what he planned to do with the building. One was turning the Central Terminal into a one stop wedding center. The main concourse would be a grand reception hall and the rest of the building would house wedding gown, flower shops and tuxedo rental businesses. The only drawback was I don't think the owner wanted to foot the bill for anything.
While I was on the upper floors of the Central Terminals tower, I was startled by noises coming down on the main concourse. I was surprised to see some old guy, loading up the back of his Yugo, yes Yugo, with scrap from the terminal. Remembering what happened to my friends ten years before, I was able to quietly sneak my way out of the building and to the safety of the great outdoors. I was curious to see what this crusty, old guy was up to and I made my way around to the main entrance, where his Yugo, yes I swear to God it was a Yugo, was parked.
I introduced myself to the ruffled, old feller and told him I was a photographer interested in taking some photos of the inside of the building. He told me he was the owner of the building and if I wanted to take some photos, he would be more than happy to let me do so, if I came back on Sunday. If this guy was really the owner, then the Central Terminal was doomed. It was quite obvious that the guy was scrapping the building, stripping her bare of anything valuable that lay inside. It was also apparent that vandals had made their way inside and there was little attempt to keep them out. What the hell, I got in with little effort myself! I was glad that I got inside that day to get my photos, but I was equally sad to see the terrible fate that was in store for the Central Terminal.
The rest of the photos on this page were taken on that cold day in March
The photo at right was taken from one of the second story balconies
that are located on either side of the main concourse. The balcony I was standing
on is located directly above the ticket windows, where travelers used to
purchase their train tickets. As you can see, the roof is leaking and water
damage is apparent everywhere. The structures located at the right of the
photo are the news stands which sold cigars, cigarettes and newspapers,
At left is another view of the main concourse taken at ground level. Here,
one can see the extent of the water damage. Notice the ornate detail of
the metal rail above the balcony and of the concrete facade surrounding
the threshold of the entrance to the train concourse.
The photo at right is a closer look at one of the news stands. This
photo shows the toll vandals and neglect have taken on the inside of the
At left is a good shot of one of the ticket windows. As you can see,
the vandals spared nothing.