(All Photos by Joshua Mu for Viewing NYC)
The Grand Central Terminal is the nation’s busiest train station, used by over 750,000 people daily. Between secret presidential tracks and a $20 million artifact hidden in plain sight in the main concourse, the history and inner working of Grand Central are fascinating.
The behind the scenes tour is guided by Dan Brucker, Grand Central’s residential historian, whose extensive knowledge of Grand Central’s history has been featured on programs ranging from National Public Radio to NBC.
The Vanderbilt family built Grand Central and left their mark with acorns scattered around the landmark. The acorns represent the Vanderbilt symbol: “From the acorn grows the mighty oak.”
An unmarked archway known as the whispering gallery has fantastic acoustical properties in which people standing at opposite corners can converse in whispers as if standing next to each other.
The fifth floor catwalks give a dazzling view of the main concourse.
The secretive basements of Grand Central, M42, the deepest in New York City, and home to the world’s first electronic computer.
These rotary converters which fueled the USA’s WWII war efforts. Adolf Hitler even attempted to sabotage the converters.
A look at more modern M42 equipment.
The infamous Track 61, used by presidents since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to enter the grand Waldorf Astoria.
FDR’s secret armored train, with state of the art stabilizers to help hide his polio.
A sneak peek into the situation room where transportation crises from 9/11 to winter storms and blizzards are resolved.
The hole in the concourse ceiling resulting from the Space Race.
The dark patch in the Northwest corner of the ceiling created by decades of smoking from the days before the Terminal was restored.
The clock atop the information booth is worth an estimated $20 million between its four opal faces and extreme accuracy.
Can you spot the errors?
The departure times are actually one minute earlier than actual in order to lessen the frantic rush to catch the train.