Many busy areas in the city have big cement barriers or huge flower planters masquerading as barriers (in order to prevent terrorism!), which makes for better security but an ugly exterior walking experience, though they may be handy as things to lean on and place bags. AM New York reports that new "elegant" security bollards are going to be installed at Grand Central Terminal. Metro-North tells AMNY that "These bollards will have a bronze-like cap over a high-strength structural steel base. They will be architecturally in concert with the historical era of the building." Hmm, but, really, what about the building's original architects think? Gothamist is happy that they are trying to improve the cosmetic appearance, but if Grand Central starts selling advertising space on them... well, we'd find architecturally correct ways to say "UGH". The bollard project costs $10 million, coming from a Department of Homeland security grant (DHS does manage to fund some stuff here), and there will be more than 200 barriers put in.
Transportation Alternatives had recommendations for more attractive bollards downtown.
Photograph by t a i s on Flickr of the old barriers