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The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel has historically epitomized New York City glamour with much ease, but beneath the surface of this Art-Deco luxury hotel lies…an abandoned train track?! Though not exactly a train station of its own, the Waldorf-Astoria was built atop one of Grand Central Terminal’s many early platform lots through a lease of air rights. The most famous story about the Waldorf-Astoria platform features Franklin Delano Roosevelt. One use that we hope is true is that the platform also served as an underground party space for Andy Warhol in 1965, according to William D. Brennan also traces the construction of the freight elevator that runs from platform level to 49th Street to the construction of the Waldorf-Astoria itself, not prior. Somehow the plans changed, and the elevator never went directly to the hotel itself, just the street.


Today, the platform serves little purpose and is restricted to any passenger service and blocked from visitation. This fun fact is fairly well-known in urban exploration circles and was included in our Top 10 Secrets of Grand Central, but we thought it was worth its own shout out. The now barren subterranean space once served as a means to transport the hotel’s more famous guests discreetly, like General Pershing who first allegedly used the platform in 1938. In some accounts, he used this platform to transfer himself into an employed custom-made train cart. The platform was of course never used or intended to be used in regular passenger service, and it was not even built for the hotel; it just happens to be in the right place. However, you can catch a glimpse of the site and its noted security train cart when onboard the Metro-North, looking to the right, leaving Grand Central Station.


The vehicle would commute him straight to a hotel and was armored for the traveler’s protection. In another version, his armored train on Metro-North would disconnect and drive onto the platform and into the freight elevator.



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