Secrets of classic NYC: Grand Central Terminal

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Among the station's warren of underground tunnels is a secret platform, no longer in use, called Track 61. "It was built for one customer: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who wanted to hide the fact that polio confined him to a wheelchair," says Dan Brucker, manager of Grand Central's tours. "It has a 50-foot-long platform, at the end of which is an elevator [that is] five and a half feet wide, 24 feet long, and able to haul 8,000 pounds. Roosevelt's private train held a Pierce-Arrow limousine, and upon arriving in New York he was driven straight out of the carriage, along the platform and into the custom-made elevator." From there, the President would be driven into the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Not only are the platform and elevator still there, but so is FDR's armor-clad train car. The area is off-limits to the public, but if you're on the upper level, you can glimpse the abandoned train by looking left when inbound or right when heading away from the platform. 42nd St to 44th St between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves (212-340-2583, grandcentralterminal.com)

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