Grand Central Centennial main concourse Untapped New York

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Terminal, Untapped Cities brought you three installments of “The Secrets of Grand Central.” Here’s a recap of the top 10 facts you didn’t know about Grand Central.

10. No one knows if the “whispering gallery” was built to whisper on purpose

Nestled between the Main Concourse and Vanderbilt Hall is an acoustical architectural anomaly: a whispering gallery. Here, sound is thrown clear across the 2,000 sq-foot chamber, “telegraphing” across the surface of the vault and landing in faraway corners. The real secret of the Whispering Gallery is that no one knows whether it was constructed with the intention of producing the acoustic effect that has made it so famous.

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  1. Steve says:

    Here are other secrets of Grand Central to enjoy..

  2. High up on the ceiling is a small hole, which no one would ever notice or think to question. In fact, however, it is there because of a NASA promotional program in the late 1950s, when the government was trying to raise awareness and support for America’s space program, which brought a rocket to the concourse. However, the measurements of the rocket turned out to be wrong, and it was six inches too tall for the the ceiling. So this six-inch hole was punched in the ceiling to accommodate the rocket.

  3. Clare Jones says:

    Can you add a comment about the iron mice crawling up the ropes on the outside of the station. They’re hard to find but very interesting.

  4. Caroline says:

    How is it that Cornelius Vanderbilt made such a claim about the backwards constellations when the constellation piece was not completed until 1913 and Cornelius Vanderbilt died in 1877?

    • michelle young says:

      Hi Caroline, you’re right. It was someone in the Vanderbilt family and we’ve updated the article.

    • Heather says:

      You have to take into consideration that Grand Central Terminal was the brain child of William Vanderbilt and Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The elder [Cornelius] Vanderbilt was a pioneer in railroad transportation as a whole and founded the New York Central Railroad. The original Grand Central Station was opened in 1871 just 6 years prior to his death. Also in perspective it was not a Vanderbilt that noticed that the constellation ceiling was painted backwards, it was an angry commuter that entered the Terminal the night that it was opened Midnight February 2nd, 1913. It was also in the vision of Paul Hellieu the ceiling’s master painter to show it in a “heavenly state” or “God’s view from above.” You will find this and more interesting facts in Grand Central Terminal: 100 Years of a Landmark by Anthony Robins and The New York Transit Museum.

      • j villar says:

        I always heard that it was an inadvertent screw up because the supervisor of the paint job had the celluloid map of the night sky on the wrong side. The “God’s view” thing was a publicity stunt to avoid having to incur the expense of repairing the ceiling.

  5. Mauricio Rousselon says:

    Just came back from a week long vacation at NYC and we missed all of this! Next time, GCS will see us exploring it.

  6. slowmodem says:

    I don’t see where the pool is

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