An investigation by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority uncovered the trio's hideaway below Track 114 behind a locked door. According to a newly released report from the agency's Office of the Inspector General, the secret lair was equipped with a futon, a refrigerator, a microwave, exercise equipment, and a flatscreen with an Amazon Fire TV stick.
The investigation dates back to February 2019, when the MTA received an anonymous tip alleging there was a "man cave" underneath the terminal. Another complaint received in June 2019 alleged that the three employees used the space to "hang out and get drunk and party." Both complaints, however, were ignored until the Office of the General Inspector got involved.
"Many a New Yorker has fantasized about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan real estate – especially one this close to good transportation," MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny said in a statement. "But few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal and make it their very own man-cave, sustained with MTA resources, and maintained at our riders' expense."
Investigators discovered the lounge in an unused locksmith shop in the station's lower level. Station management said they were not aware the room even existed, and officials eventually had to break into it by completely replacing the lock. It was subsequently deemed a safety risk because rescue workers wouldn't have been able to access an unmapped room.
The trio of Metro-North employees — identified only as a wireman, a carpenter foreman, and an electrical foreman — denied ever having been in the room. But Pokorny's office said that the evidence against them was "overwhelming." Authorities found two personal calendars belonging to the electrical foreman, and also found his name on the registration for the Amazon streaming device. Additionally, a receipt with the wireman's name printed on it was found inside an air mattress box in the room, and the carpenter foreman's mobile hotspot was used as a Wi-Fi network for the TV.
In response to the report, the MTA is now revamping its complaint-tracking process, which allowed the anonymous tips about the room to go ignored for more than a year. The agency is also reportedly working on a project to map out all the rooms in Grand Central.
The three accused employees have been suspended without pay and face potential termination.