Grand Central Terminal is a historic landmark, instantly recognizable as a hub for transportation in and of New York City. But the average traveler knows next to nothing of its depths. Actually, it turns out the people running Grand Central don’t know much about its innards, either.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) discovered this week a storage room deep within Grand Central Terminal that had been transformed into what they call a “man cave.” The room had been outfitted with a television, exercise equipment, a fridge, a futon, and multiple beds, according to a report by NBC New York.
Three MTA employees — a wireman, a carpenter foreman, and an electrical foreman — are suspected of having created and used the room. They’ve been suspended without pay pending a full investigation.
“Many a New Yorker has fantasized about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan real estate – especially one this close to good transportation,” MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny said. “But few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal and make it their very own man-cave, sustained with MTA resources, and maintained at our riders’ expense.”
The situation is a perfect summation of how the MTA operates, really: with minimal planning and rash retroactive measures. You mean to tell us you’re upset that an unused room — a space you didn’t even realize existed — was being used as a break room?
They didn’t know it existed! — Perhaps the most outrageous part of this case is that the MTA had no idea this storage room even existed. Grand Central’s station management team told investigators as much.
The makeshift break room was apparently hidden behind a locked door inside a larger storage room under Track 114. Metro-North’s security manager didn’t even have a working key for the room. Only “actual locksmiths” would have had access, according to the investigator general.
Mapping project imminent — Metro-North is taking this case very seriously. And the organization realizes it really only has itself to blame here.
In response to the report, Metro-North has said it’s starting up an entire mapping project to discover all the rooms in Grand Central Terminal. Some day we may finally know what slumbering beasts lie in wait down there.
Everyone’s gotta kick back sometimes — Should these employees have co-opted a city-owned space for their personal belongings without permission? Maybe not. But the room was just sitting there gathering dust, after all. We’re left to wonder how many other mystery rooms exist down there. Seems like an ideal place to wait out the chaos happening in the outside world, really.