At least three MTA employees secretly turned a storage room below one of the platforms at Grand Central Terminal into a private "man cave," complete with a futon, TV, exercise equipment, a fridge and beds, the agency's inspector general said Thursday.
“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 & make it their very own man-cave, sustained with MTA resources, and maintained at our riders’ expense.”
According to the report, the few select workers used the room to "hang out and get drunk and party."
U.S. & World
Photos: Secret u2018Man Cave' Discovered Below Grand Central Platform, 3 MTA Employees Busted
According to Pokorny's office, the secret lair below Track 114 was hidden behind a locked door inside a larger storage room.
Station management told investigators they were not aware the room even physically existed, much less how it was being used. Metro-North's security manager did not have a working key for the room, and the supervisor of the locksmith shop -- who is not a licensed locksmith -- could not access the room because only actual locksmiths had access.
While some riders Thursday chuckled at the discovery, Metro North President Cathy Rinaldi said she was "not amused" and blasted those responsible.
"It just completely destroys the reputation of Metro North, it's so disturbing on so many levels," said Rinaldi. "These employees should not be doing this when they're on the job, so to have this thing set up it completely unacceptable."
Three employees -- a wireman, a carpenter foreman and an electrical foreman -- have been suspended without pay pending resolution of disciplinary cases.
In addition, the inspector general's office said it determined that Metro-North Security failed to take any steps to investigate the initial complaint about the room. The IG's office opened its own probe more than a year ago after receiving multiple anonymous complaints.
In response to the report, Metro-North is now working on a project to map all the rooms in Grand Central -- as well as how they're locked -- and implementing a process to better track complaints.