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Manhattan - Grand Central Terminal

A Brief History: Grand Central Terminal is located at 42nd St. and Park Avenue in Manhattan New York. It originally opened in 1871 as the Grand Central Depot by Cornellius Vanderbilt. A tragic train collision, which killed 17 people and injured 38 occurred January 8, 1902. At this time, steam locomotives were becoming obsolete and the public was demanding electric train service. A new terminal was opened on February 2, 1913, and many new skyscrapers were built over the old tracks. It thrived as the busiest rail terminal in the country and at times, housed art galleries, a newsreel theater, and a museum. By the late 1960’s rail travel had declined and the real estate market in the area was booming. The building was nearly demolished, but was saved by a landmark law passed on August 2, 1967.

In 1994, it was purchased by the MTA and a huge restoration project brought back the original 1913 appearance of the terminal. It now includes many shops, restaurants, and ever-changing exhibits. A new tunneling project expected to be completed in 2016 will link the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central relieving some of the congestion into Penn Station.

Haunted History: On the dining concourse is the Whispering Gallery. The low arches of the entryway cause an acoustic phenomenon that makes a whisper sound like a shout on the other end of the archway. Also far beneath the terminal is a labyrinth of secret tunnels, steam pipes, and storage areas. Somewhere there is an old train platform with a secret staircase that led directly to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It is said that FDR used these stairs to avoid the press while getting from his train to his room. Occasional fires and steam leaks in the tunnels have some believing Grand Central is cursed, but it remains a mystery.

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