8. M42 Basement in Grand Central Terminal

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There are many secrets of Grand Central Terminal, some you may have already discovered, especially from our tour of the magnificent New York City icon. What makes this brilliant structure unconventional is the M42 basement, a hidden room that does not appear on a single map or blueprint of Grand Central Terminal. In fact, its very existence was only acknowledged in the late 1980s and its exact location is still classified information. This part of the basement also played an important, clandestine role in World War II – it was so secret that you risked being shot on site if you went down there.

Set within exposed Manhattan schist that you can touch on the staircase down, M42 houses a converter that is responsible for providing all of the electricity that runs through Grand Central. Here, alternating current becomes direct current and provides power for the transportation of more than one million people each week up and down America’s East Coast.

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Meanwhile, just as elusive is the secret track 61, just beneath track 24 in Grand Central Terminal, where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, used it as a secret entry to Waldorf-Astoria in the 1930s. The track was so spacious that it could fit FDR’s armor-plated Pierce Arrow car, which would drive off the train, onto the platform, onto a large elevator, and straight into the interior of the Waldorf-Astoria.

The track has been out of service since, but the curious can get a glimpse of the legendary track if you try to look towards the right as you depart, spot it out the window of certain MetroNorth trains leaving the station.