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Monday, December 1, 2014

Next Stop: Grand Central

Midtown Manhattan, 1958.

Ruby says the coolest neighborhood is OUR neighborhood. But has she really been to enough neighborhoods to know? And doesn’t every place have its own cool stuff?

Take Grand Central Station, for instance. Where else can you look up and see a ceiling like this? All the stars and constellations give me goosebumps. My mom told me that the zodiac is really backwards up there. I think a friend told her and that’s how she knows?

Some people say it was a mistake by the artist (Paul Helleu). But my mom’s friend says the artist was inspired by a manuscript from the Dark Ages that showed the stars being seen that way.  

When I come into the station, the first thing I do is look up at the ceiling. And holiday times (like now) are the best times to go to Grand Central. It’s full of people and as soon as you get in you hear the buzz. A low, rumbling roar of thousands of people coming through every day, going here, there and everywhere.

It was built in 1913 and there’s all sorts of things here no one knows about. There’s also a whispering gallery near the Oyster Bar & Restaurant. If you whisper to the corner near the archway, your friend will be able to hear you! I did it with Ruby and guess what? It works!

Another Grand Central secret: there’s all these secret, underground tracks, steam-pipe tunnels, and even a train platform with a secret entrance and an elevator straight up to the Waldorf-Astoria hotel (where MARILYN MONROE lived for a while and what could be cooler than that, Ruby)? 

Plus... people say President Franklin D. Roosevelt used this elevator to get into New York and not be pestered by reporters. But you can’t get in there because the entrance is sealed off. 

All those things are cool, Ruby!!! And the best thing about railway stations is they take you everywhere. They’re the starting point for any journey. Maybe one of ours, in the not too distant future. All we have to do is figure out where to go.