A fridge with beer. A large flat screen TV. A futon.
Officials found all of this and more in a secret “man cave” under New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal. At least three employees apparently used the unauthorized lounge to “go out, get drunk and party,” the Metropolitan Transit Authority inspector general said in a report released Thursday.
“A lot of New Yorkers have fantasized about relaxing with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan real estate – especially one that’s close to good transportation,” said the Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny in a statement. “But few of them would have the courage to requisition a secret room under Grand Central Terminal and make it their own man-cave, powered by MTA resources and maintained at the expense of our riders.
The Inspector General’s office learned of the Man’s Cave – a locked room inside a storage area under one of the dozens of tracks at the nearly century-old station – last February after someone sent an anonymous email complaining that it was used for drinking and partying.
Fire officials said the space was not on any map and posed “significant” security risks, the statement said. Terminal managers did not even know the zone existed.
Inside, investigators found an air conditioner, training equipment, wall beds, microwave, refrigerator, and TV with a connected streaming device – as well as specially designed cabinets that appeared to be be used to hide equipment.
There was also evidence that linked three employees of the terminal’s administration department to the “unauthorized restroom” – a foreman carpenter, an electrical foreman and a cable worker.
All three denied having used the room, but the Inspector General’s report called their refusals “not credible”. They were suspended without pay after being sentenced to disciplinary proceedings, the report said.
The report recommends that they be fired. Officials are now working to develop a comprehensive inventory of all parts of the terminal, the report says.
In a statement, the president of Metro-North Railroad, which operates trains at Grand Central, said what the workers did was “grossly inappropriate.”
An MTA official who owns the terminal said it was unclear what the ancient cave will be used for in the future.