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Monday, June 11, 2018

The Mysterious Track 61

     Track 61 is an abandoned subway station beneath the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. It was built along with the rest of Grand Central Terminal and it was intended to be a powerhouse and storage area for unused New York Central Railroad cars and not a passenger station. That's interesting because contrary to popular belief, Track 61 is not part of the New York City Subway system, but is actually part of the old New York Central Railroad. This explains they so called “mystery” of why it does not appear on subway maps. 
     Today everything at the station is coated with grime and dirt and there is still an antique train car permanently parked in the hidden powerhouse. Back in the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt had his armor-plated Pierce Arrow car transported to the station which was then lifted right into the Waldorf’s garage. Roosevelt is also rumored to have entered and exited via the station in order to hide his worsening case of polio. 
     Track 61 likely hid the comings and goings of a number of Presidents over the years and was confirmed to be prepped for a quick getaway route for George W. Bush while he attended meetings at the Waldorf. Rumor has it that military generals to celebrities have uses Track 61 for clandestine movements, but given all the secrecy involved, the rumors are hard to confirm. Some claim that the unmarked brass door at the Waldorf’s street level which leads to the station proves that important people still use it. 
     Track 61 has been out of service for decades, but in September of 1929, the NY Times reported on the new hotel's private railway siding underneath their building. The Times described how guests with private rail cars could have them routed directly to the hotel instead of to the Pennsylvania Station or the Grand Central Terminal. There was a special elevator that would take them directly to their suites or to the lobby. 
     This was made possible because the New York Central tracks passed directly beneath the block and it was obtained by the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria on a sixty-three-year leasehold, the lease being only for the "air rights" on the site. 

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