joy magnetism: Hiding in plain sight

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Hiding in plain sight

Magnet #896 - Grand Central Station

One of my absolute favorite places in New York City, Grand Central Terminal. It's simply gorgeous there, and this magnet from the Transit Museum Annex is one of my most favorite images, and indeed one of the most recognized, historic shots of the old-school Beaux-Arts depot.

Truth be told, I can't figure out how the southern-facing windows are getting this sunlight at all, since, well, it's facing south. But I doubt this shot could happen now anyway, given that those windows are blocked by the Philip Morris building on one street corner.

I've done one or two different tours of the building, mainly because I love hearing the stories about it. Built in the late 1800s, mostly because of Commodore Vanderbilt's railroads, it's still one of the largest train stations in the US. I freakin' love this station, and the wonderful history of the building itself.

There's the brick in the ceiling that they left untouched during the last renovation, to remind everyone how dirty the ceiling became from the soot of the trains. There's the little hole in the ceiling, made to let them house the giant NASA rocket displayed there to allay everyone's Sputnik fears. There's the PR save, telling everyone that the ceiling's erroneously inverted celestial zodiac drawing is actually from God's point of view, instead of our view of the sky. There's the whispering corners downstairs, where you whisper into the corners and hear your friends from the opposite side of the room. There's the Campbell Apartments, where they refuse to let you in, in flip-flops or sneakers. The tennis courts that I still haven't seen. And a billion other hidden secrets.

And of course, there's the historic Oyster Bar downstairs. I know it for movie after movie, after movie, but I'd never actually been to the restaurant itself. No particular reason, but it's generally a guy's guy joint to go to.

You'd think, after all the countless times I've gone to GCT and given tours of it, that I'd know about the supersecret entrance to the Oyster Bar saloon! A couple days ago, a guy's guy friend of mine brought me around the corner, and whipped open the door and down the staircase into their hardwood, dimly lit saloon, "where all the players go, joy."

Mind you, it's in plain sight. And I must have passed it a million times. But really. Does anyone really read signs on doors anymore? Plain as day, it had the seriously outdated Oyster Bar logo and Saloon Entrance right on the door. Had no idea!

Also? How awesome is that place. Double secret cool. Is how awesome.

And see? The best part, is that no matter how long I've been here, there's always something new to discover in this town. Even when it's hiding in plain sight.
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