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World's Coolest Ceilings

Grand Central Terminal, New York City

David Coleman / Alamy

Grand Central Terminal, New York City

Bleary-eyed commuters pass through Grand Central daily giving little thought to the twinkling stars overhead. Painted with gold leaf and cerulean blue oil paint, the ceiling mural in the Grand Concourse has 2,500 stars; the 60 largest that mark the constellations are lit up. Though don’t expect the constellations to match up exactly—many are backward (can you spot which ones?). Paul Helleu, the French artist, painted from a medieval manuscript that depicted the stars over the Mediterranean and from a different angle. The ceiling was cleaned and restored starting in 1996, with a patch left to show the grit and grime that once hid this celestial masterpiece.

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