Remnants Of The Old Grand Central Cab Stop

I recently scouted a great parking garage on 44th between Vanderbilt and Madison. It’s right next to Grand Central Station, and was built quite a while ago.

Garage 01

It shares some iconic Grand Central-esque features, from the brick in the walls to the zig-zagging arched roof over the ramp.

Garage 03

While shooting pictures, I noticed something odd on the parking lane closest to Grand Central: cab stop signs engraved in the floor every eight feet or so. This is very weird, considering this space is usually three lanes deep with parked cars (I took these pics at night after the garage had closed).

Garage 04

According to the parking guys, back in the day, this garage was actually a main exit for Grand Central. Cabs would line up to drop-off/pick-up customers here.

Garage 05

The path from Grand Central to the parking garage still exists, right next to the Pylones store and the Transit Museum on the western end. It’s not marked, and feels like an area that’s off limits to the public, but it’s open for anyone who knows about it.

Garage 06

I’m curious if there was a grander exit when this was more active.

-SCOUT

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6 comments

  1. The ‘zig-zag’ ceiling tile work is called a Guastavino ceiling, after the original inventing architect..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guastavino_tile

  2. Yep! You can see Guastavino tiling in the transepts of St John the Divine, and in the St Paul chapel on the Columbia campus. It’s lovely!

  3. I used to walk past that corridor everyday on my way to get the subway… I always assumed it was some kinda staff only area… how wrong was i!

  4. I love little details like this! Great shots of the ramp too. I could totally see it being used in some thriller.

  5. The parking garage is below what used to be the Biltmore Hotel — the hotel was gutted to its steel skeleton and the building completely renovated in the 1980′s, but the garage remains. It’s immoratlized in the Guys and Dolls song “The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York”: “the Biltmore garage wants a grand, but we ain’t got a grand on hand…”

    Incidentally, if you go into the lobby of the building above the garage, now known as Bank of America Plaza, they still have the famous Biltmore clock (mentioned in Catcher in the Rye — Salinger used to meet the New Yorker editor there in real life) and the player piano from the hotel’s lobby — you can still occasionally hear the piano (hidden on the mezzanine balcony) playing away.

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