New York (NBC) (09/25/20)— A fridge with beer. A large flat screen TV. A futon. Officials found all of that and more in a secret “man cave” under New York City’s iconic Grand Central Terminal.
At least three employees apparently used the unauthorized lounge to “hang out, get drunk, and party,” the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s inspector general said in a report released Thursday.
“Many a New Yorker has fantasized about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan real estate — especially one this close to good transportation,” inspector general Carolyn Pokorny said in a statement. “But few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal and make it their very own man-cave, sustained with MTA resources, and maintained at our riders’ expense.”
The inspector general’s office learned of the man cave — a locked room inside a storage area beneath one of the dozens of tracks in the roughly century-old train station — last February after someone sent an anonymous email complaining that it was being used for drinking and partying.
Fire officials said the space wasn’t on any maps and presented “significant” safety hazards, the statement said. Terminal managers didn’t even know the area existed.
Inside, investigators found an air conditioner, workout equipment, hide-away beds, a microwave, a fridge, and a TV with a streaming device connected to it — along with specially-designed cabinets that appeared to be used to hide the gear.
There was also evidence that linked three employees from the terminal’s administration department to the “unauthorized breakroom” — a carpenter foreman, an electrical foreman, and a wireman.
All three denied that they used the room, but the inspector general’s report called their denials “not credible.” They were suspended without pay after being served with disciplinary charges, the report says.
The report recommends that they be fired. Officials are now working to develop a complete inventory of all rooms within the terminal, the report says.
In a statement, the president of Metro-North Railroad, which operates trains at Grand Central, said that what the workers did was “outrageously inappropriate.”
An official with the MTA, which owns the terminal, said it’s unclear what the ex-man cave will be used for in the future.
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