Rising from the corner of 42snd Street and Park Avenue, the Beaux-Arts style Grand Central Terminal stands in contrast to Manhattan’s fiercely contemporary and sky-high landscape. However, this century-old, 45-acre terminal is no relic of the past. Millions of people move through the station each year as travelers or tourists. Through all the changes that have shaped New York, Grand Central has remained a proud and enduring stalwart in the city’s landscape. Few people know, however, that this sprawling building is full of secrets and forgotten stories. Check out these ten little-known facts about Grand Central Terminal that even the most seasoned New Yorkers and travelers don’t know.

10 The Vanishing Of Terminal City

When construction began on Grand Central Terminal, the chief engineer on the complex suggested selling the land above the railway tracks for development. This led to a building boom, with several other Beaux-Arts style buildings springing up around the Terminal in a development area known as Terminal City. However, later development in the 1950s through the 1970s saw many of those buildings replaced by modern skyscrapers. There are still many sealed tunnels underground.

9 World's Best Lost And Found Department?

Every lost item on Metro-North rail is brought to Grand Central Terminal. All 2,500 items that are lost daily are sorted and stored until the owner can be found. Travelers who misplace their items while traveling through the terminal have an excellent possibility of recovering them. The Lost and Found facility can return most items - about 80% - to their owners. The efficiency of Grand Central’s lost item system means travelers and commuters alike can breathe easier, knowing that if they lose anything important, there’s a good chance they can get it back.

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8 The First Lady Who Helped Save Grand Central Terminal

In the 1960s and 70s, the Terminal, once the grand dame of New York transportation, fell into neglect. Repairs were desperately needed but continually delayed. When proposals were made to tear it down and replace it with a skyscraper. Preservationists and developers were at odds over the fate of the Terminal, and the issue had to be settled in court. To support preservation efforts, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and renowned architect Philip Johnson established the Committee to Save Grand Central Station and began lobbying for the Terminal’s survival. In 1978, three years after the Committee was formed, the US Supreme Court ruled that Grand Central Terminal was indeed a landmark and deserved all the protections its status demanded.

7 Grand Central Is Still Growing

Just like New York City itself, Grand Central keeps changing. The Terminal is over one hundred years old, but it’s still undergoing major growth. Plans are underway to open the first new subway terminal in over ninety years to connect passengers from the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The massive project will also lay more than eight miles of new track to connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, easing travel for thousands of daily commuters. Laying track below a bustling midtown Manhattan required a major feat of engineering and is scheduled to open to the public in 2022.

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6 Grand Central Terminal's Tragic Roots

Today, Grand Central Terminal stands on the site of two predecessor transit hubs, Grand Central Depot, built in 1871, and Grand Central Station in 1899. Starting in 1854, noisy and sooty steam trains began to be phased out across New York. However, it was not until the turn of the century that the railroad decided to ban these trains passing through Grand Central Depot and replace them with cleaner electric trains. This meant that the Depot would need to be redesigned to accommodate electric trains. But this decision, which provided an impetus for the creation of today’s Grand Central Terminal, was born of tragedy. In 1902, two passenger trains collided in the Park Avenue tunnel, the dark and smoke-filled passage too dim for a conductor to see the signals warning there was a train ahead on the tracks. The rear-end collision seriously injured over a dozen passengers and took the lives of fifteen others. It was the tragic impetus to finally phase out steam engine trains and modernize rail travel in New York City. The following year, construction began on Grand Central Terminal.

5 The Secret VIP Track Closed To The Public

New York has secrets underground. Dozens of tracks meet in Grand Central Terminal, but there is one track that has largely remained hidden from public view. Track 61 is a tunnel that leads north from Grand Central to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It was originally conceived as a freight track, but when the Waldorf Astoria purchased the land above the track, it also acquired ownership of the track below. The hotel decided to use the length of the track as a private tunnel for VIP guests of the hotel, allowing them to arrive discreetly in their personal rail cars and enter the building through a freight elevator. Andy Warhol’s 1965 party on Track 61 attracted top socialites and stars. However, in time, the track fell into disuse and now sits idle. But there are still many abandoned tunnels across the New York Subway System.

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4 Secret Messages In The Dining Concourse

The dining concourse offers more than tasty meals – it is also a secret whispering gallery. This means that visitors can whisper into one corner of the room and be heard clearly across the room. Specifically, travelers can face one pillar of an arch in the concourse and be heard at the opposite pillar. It’s a rather unusual find in a train station, and it doesn’t serve any practical function. The whispering gallery is the result of the acoustics of a symmetrically perfect arch. Visitors should bring a friend and spend a few moments passing crystal clear whispered notes across the noisy, busy concourse. Few people know the whispering gallery exists, so curious visitors who spend a few moments whispering at an arch might attract some attention!

3 The Busiest Train Station In The US

There are several ways to measure the size of a train station: for example, how many trains arrive and how many passengers are served or the physical size of the space. New York’s Grand Central Terminal is the busiest rail station in the country. Every day, 750,000 people pass through the terminal, plus an additional 22 million annual tourist visitors who come to admire and explore the building. The centenarian station is still very much the beating heart of New York’s transportation system.

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2 A Silver Screen Sensation

Grand Central Terminal has a long and colorful relationship with Hollywood. As a symbol of New York itself, the terminal has appeared in dozens of movies over the years. However, the first glimpse of the building in a color film came in 1953, during the Fred Astaire film The Band Wagon. Suspense auteur Alfred Hitchcock filmed in Grand Central multiple times and was known to be a fan of the location. For thirty years, there was a movie theater across from what is now Track 17 today. The theater opened in the 1930s or late 1920s, but the exact date is unknown. Successive renovations removed most evidence that the theater had ever existed. But theater memorabilia and old news articles have allowed historians to piece together a long-forgotten chapter in Grand Central’s love affair with the silver screen.

1 The Forgotten Art School In A Train Terminal

Grand Central has a little-known fine arts history as well. Art galleries were opened in the massive building in 1923 but eventually moved to the Biltmore Hotel after thirty years. A year after the galleries opened, Grand Central Terminal became home to an art school headed by renowned painter John Singer Sargent and a handful of his contemporaries. The Grand Central School of Art enrolled 900 students at its height and operated for twenty years.