You’d expect to see coffee stands and crowds of commuters inside Grand Central Terminal, but you might not expect to see a squash court. This week, the best squash players from around the world are battling it out in the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions (ToC). The tournament is held in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall inside a glass-enclosed squash court surrounded by stadium seating. The court is built specifically for this tournament and will come down when it’s over on Thursday.
Since 1999, squash players from around the globe have entered the glass cube inside Grand Central to vie for a championship win. Before former Professional Squash Association (PSA) Director John Nimick moved the event to Grand Central, it used to be played at the Winter Garden Atrium in Lower Manhattan. The indoor palm trees, however, got in the way.
Secrets of Grand Central
Nimick told Forbes in 2020 that a friend tipped him off to the space inside Vanderbilt Hall. “I went up and walked into it and I knew immediately this would be the best place to run a pro squash tournament,” he said of the space, which used to be a waiting room for people waiting for their trains. While Vanderbilt Hall was under construction from 1996, the tournament was held at a squash club in Brooklyn called Heights Casino. Unwilling to host the tournament in a space any less grand than Vanderbilt Hall, Nimick put the Tournament of Champions on hiatus for 1997 and 1998.
Whilte ticketed seats for the tournament are sold out, you can catch a glimpse of the games while passing through Grand Central, as one of the sides of the court is open for public viewing. It’s not everyday you see a giant squash court in the train station on your commute!
Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of Grand Central Terminal