8. Secret Passageways to Grand Central
One of the most fascinating things we shared in our article on The Roosevelt Hotel was a secret passageway below the hotel that once connected to Grand Central Terminal. While the hotel side of this tunnel has long been closed off, we recently discovered the forgotten side which emerged into Grand Central. Walking through the passageway through the Vanderbilt Concourse building (also known as the Manhattan Savings Bank Building) between 44th and 45th Street, there is a boarded-up section of hallway that would have led to the Roosevelt passage.
The hotel, opened in 1924, was part of the second phase of Terminal City’s construction between 1920 and 1931 and included such buildings as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the Graybar Building, 277 Park Avenue (where JFK would have his campaign office) and more. This investment underground, and the extension of it as Terminal City expanded, makes sense. Reed & Stem, accompanied by engineer William W. Wilgus, imagined a much more extensive Terminal City — covering dozens of city blocks up Park Avenue. World War II put an end to that grand vision.