5. The popular phrase “Meet me at the clock/under the clock” originated from Grand Central Terminal’s clock

Grand Central Clock
The clock at Grand Central Terminal.

Another myth surrounds Grand Central Terminal’s clock: the popular phrase “meet me at the clock/under the clock” originated from the clock. According to Mandy Edgecombe, the Grand Central tour guide for Untapped New York and a former National Park Ranger, the first “meet me at the clock” reference was made in regards to the clock at the former Hotel Astor in Times Square. The 1945 Judy Garland and Robert Walker movie, The Clock launched the phrase onto the national stage. After Soldier Joe, played by Walker, meets Garland’s Alice by chance at Penn Station, the two fall in love. During one of the film’s most iconic scenes, Joe asks Alice, “Where will I meet you” to which she responds, “Under the clock at the Astor at seven,” cementing the longstanding tradition of meeting for a date at the hotel’s clock. 

Over time, the original Pennsylvania Station’s clock also became associated with the phrase “meet me under the clock.” Later, the song “Meet Me at the Hyphen” popularized the phrase’s connection to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Besides these two locations, the Biltmore Hotel and the Roosevelt Hotel have also been mentioned in reference to the phrase. Ultimately, “meet me under the clock” has a long line of associations with New York City landmarks other than Grand Central. At its core, the phrase still remains directly tied to New York City’s romantic scene.