When it comes to train stations, we prefer our Arrivals and Departures to be announced via split-flap displays featuring an art deco font. We also prefer that somewhere within a 10-foot radius of these boards there is at least one person wearing a trench coat reading a print newspaper, and that this entire scene is covered in a cinematic smoke. Ideally, loudspeaker announcements are made with a Mid-Atlantic accent. But no one asked us. And so Grand Central Terminal's Arrivals and Departures will now be delivered to you via a soulless digital screen for the "Black Mirror" era. We expected this kind of modernization from Penn Station, who brought in LED displays in 2017, but not a classic gem like Grand Central. Alas...

The transformation has been going on since March.

In 2017, it was announced that the Terminal would get a new big board—"as part of a $124 million Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital project to beef up communication throughout the Metro-North system, the 19-year-old boards that display the destination, times and statuses of out-bound trains will be replaced. The $8 million contract for the big board, plus the 93 boards outside of each gate, is with Oklahoma City-based Ford Audio-Video [which] specializes, among other things, in digital video boards."

We reached out to the powers that be at Grand Central, who told us that the big board update is part of Metro-North’s Way Ahead initiative, and that the big boards, gate boards, digital track indicators, departure monitors and platform displays are being replaced with a modern, more capable and robust infrastructure. The new screens will be brighter, and while they say the proposed graphics hearken back to the aesthetic of the historic screens... the above photo screams otherwise.

Installation should be finished in June.