7. Guastavino Tunnel to the Lost Biltmore Hotel
Sometimes the most surprising finds are in the most unassuming places, like a parking garage. On a visit to Grand Central Terminal, Untapped Cities tour guide Justin Rivers noticed the famed arched herringbone pattern typical of Guastavino tile work, just like the famous ceiling of the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Research into this area revealed that it was once part of the Biltmore Hotel, a grand Whitney Warren and Charles Wetmore-designed structure that was built as part of “Terminal City,” a compound of hotels and other buildings connected to Grand Central Terminal that was proposed in the original plans by Charles A. Reed and Allen H. Stem, along with William Wilgus.
One of the hotel’s best amenities was the ease with which guests could come and go using the hotel’s connection to Grand Central Terminal. Guests of the Biltmore arriving at Grand Central Terminal would have their luggage collected from the train by porters and then they would travel via tunnel to an elevator in the hotel’s basement and be carried up into the hotel without ever having to step outside. The pathway leading into the tunnel from Grand Central Terminal is not marked — it is located on the western end of the Terminal, next to the Pylones store and the Transit Museum annex.