New York

The Mystery of NYC’s Hidden Track 61

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Photo Credit: CNN cnn.com

Photo Credit: CNN cnn.com

Beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (301 Park Avenue), there lies a secret train platform only the prestigious, famous, and high ranking are eligible to use.

Yes, Grand Central Terminal is where one would get off and get on all of the major railroads in and out of the City, but there lies one particular train track that is hidden from the public. In fact, the exact location is classified and one must go through numerous security loopholes in order to access it. This train track is Track 61.

Track 61 is a secret railway platform for the Metro-North Railroad, located beneath the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel. Just like the hotel, the track was used for only the elite, the cream of society’s crop.

Photo Credit: Urban Ghosts Media urbanghostsmedia.com

Photo Credit: Urban Ghosts Media urbanghostsmedia.com

Starting construction in 1929 and completing in 1938 by the New York Central company. And one would have the specially designed train arrive at the platform, and then be transported from the train to an elevator specifically designed to carry the weight of a ‘very heavy automobile’. ::scientific terminology:: The first known usage of this train platform was for famed WW1 General John Pershing in 1938. He visited the city after he suffered a heart attack and needed the track “to save the general from any undue exertion”.

Perhaps the most famous usage of the track was for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, as this train track was actually built for him. The design of the platform checks it out: FDR was the nation’s first President with a disability. Of course the public wasn’t to know any of this…

The train track was made for the President to travel to NYC without any fuss from the public and arrive at the Waldorf Astoria from Track 61 in pure style. The elevator carried his heavily armored automobile from a train car up to the hotel where the President would be welcomed. It is very likely that the mysterious blue train car residing on the track is actually FDR’s, given how heavy it is and how over engineered some of its parts are.

Adlai Stevenson is the 3rd dude on the left Photo Credit: Sohu sohu.com

Adlai Stevenson is the 3rd dude on the left Photo Credit: Sohu sohu.com

The train track was still used after his time and there are reports that other celebrities have used it (rumor has it that Andy Warhol threw a party in there in 1965), but these reports are scattered and hard to confirm. The last time it was documented to be in use was for Governor Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 Presidential campaign.

This train track is still in use now, albeit very sparingly. Nowadays, looking at the pictures here, it looks like some spooky underground crypt, but apparently the Metro-North is still mindful of its worth. It is surprising that it is still in use when we live in a time where really new technology has made transporting high profile individuals much easier (like THE BEAST). The President typically stays at the Waldorf Astoria for NYC visits, so the track is there for emergency use. But still, it’s really cool to know that the most popular source of transportation in NYC has one of the most secretive train platforms in the country.

Can I get a tour there, PLEASE!?

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Zack Daniel Schiavetta

Zack Daniel Schiavetta

Zack Daniel Schiavetta is a quiet kid, musician, writer, village idiot, and student. He is currently studying at Baruch College, contributing to the Opinions section of his college's newspaper, The Ticker. He's also a history buff. His music can be found at zackdaniel.bandcamp.com. He can be contacted via zackschiave9085@gmail.com