Track 61 under Grand Central Terminal. Photo by Wasabi Bob via Flickr
Grand Central Terminal is one of the most visited sites in New York City, but though hundreds of thousands of people rush through the station everyday, many places within the over 100-year-old building remain hidden and unnoticed by the masses. From long forgotten tunnels that once led to luxury hotels, to off-limits basements that don’t even appear on blueprints, we’ve chosen ten of our favorite hidden places inside the iconic Grand Central Terminal we have come across.
With the terminal celebrating its 106th birthday just last month and improvements being made to Grand Central all the time, it’s worth a visit beyond a commute walk through.
Join one of our upcoming Secrets of Grand Central Terminal tours, where you will learn about these places and visit a few of them that are accessible to the public. Read on below for ten hidden places inside Grand Central!
1. Track 61
Of the over sixty tracks that run through Grand Central Terminal, there is one that has remained inactive for decades. Track 61, a track that no longer sees passenger service, was once used by elite guests to discreetly enter the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The hotel was built on directly atop a Grand Central platform lot and opened in 1931. The track was built originally to carry freight and to act as a loading platform for the powerhouse above it, but it wound up being in the perfect location to transport VIP guests of the Waldorf. Patrons of the hotel could access it directly from their own private train cars. After departing, their trains guests would then take a special elevator directly to their suites or to the hotel lobby. One of the most famous riders who made use of the Waldorf Astoria platform was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, although it is a myth that his train car had been left abandoned there. The platform is also rumored to have served as an underground party space for Andy Warhol in 1965.
Today the track is mainly used to store trains that are not in service, but it is also serves as a standby escape route for the president when he comes to town. A train can wait on the track ready to go at any moment and whisk the president away to an undisclosed location should an emergency occur.