Hidden tennis courts in Grand Central Station were also once Trump’s exclusive club

Posted On Fri, February 17, 2017 By

Posted On Fri, February 17, 2017 By In History, Midtown East

Even the city’s most public places conceal secrets paved over by the years, some more hidden than others. Grand Central Station is no exception despite the 750,000 or so people who make their way through its halls each day. You may already know of the terminal’s secret train track and whispering walls, but did you know that there are tennis courts in Grand Central? Once an exclusive club run by Donald Trump, the courts are now open to the public—and you can reserve a court at midnight.

The “secret” tennis courts are tucked away in a relatively obscure space called the Annex, which has at various times been used as a TV studio for CBS, an art gallery, and a 65-foot-long indoor ski slope. The athletic complex was first installed in the 1960s by Geza A. Gazdag, an immigrant from Hungary who founded the Vanderbilt Athletic Club on the third floor. Named after Cornelius Vanderbilt, who built the Grand Central Depot, the facility had two clay courts and the aforementioned indoor ski slope.

The club hit the skids in the ’80s, and in 1984 it was scooped up with some real estate deals by Donald Trump, who leased the space, renovated and turned the third-floor annex into an exclusive $155-an-hour ($130 on weekends) cash-only court for the well-heeled and well-connected. The pristine clay courts remained in semi-secrecy until Trump’s lease ended in 2009 and the space became a decidedly non-Trumpian full-service lounge and rest area for MTA workers. But the sound of secret tennis balls in the terminal wasn’t silenced; there was enough space in the cavernous Annex for all. The soaring three-story atrium got a new ceiling, and the re-invigorated and certifiably Trump-free Vanderbilt Tennis Club moved into the newly-created fourth floor.

The courts are now open to the public—if you can find them (some station employees don’t even know they exist). Start by finding the elevators in the lobby outside the now-shuttered Campbell Apartment bar—they’ll take you directly there. The elevators located halfway down the ramp leading to the Oyster Bar and tracks 100-117 will work, too.

The tennis facility boasts one junior court, two practice lanes, a fitness room and one regulation-sized main court—reportedly the only one in New York City that features on-court, slow-motion video analysis. Regular court time rates reportedly make the Trump era look like a bargain, but you don’t have to be a member; the club is open until 1 a.m. daily and hosts Night Owl Tennis for as little as $70 an hour, programs for kids and more. New guests can also play for an hour for free with an appointment.

vanderbilt tennis club, grand central station, donald trump, midtown east

[Via Untapped]

RELATED:

Images courtesy of Vanderbilt Tennis Club.

Tags : , ,

Neighborhoods : Midtown East

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

  • Director Ron Howard lists Central Park West co-op in the Eldorado for $12.5M

    Director Ron Howard lists Central Park West co-op in the Eldorado for $12.5M

    For $12.5 million, you can live in Oscar-winning director Ron Howard’s classic Upper West Side co-op. He and wife Cheryl ...
  • 7 things you need to keep your kitchen organized

    7 things you need to keep your kitchen organized

    With spring cleaning in full swing, now is the perfect time to clean out your kitchen. If you’re stuck with ...
  • Central Park Tower’s completion pushed back a year; murals made from air pollution

    Central Park Tower’s completion pushed back a year; murals made from air pollution

    Extell has secured $168 million in EB-5 funds for their Central Park Tower, but the completion date has been pushed back ...
  • Supertall skyscraper dangles from an asteroid to become the world’s tallest building

    Supertall skyscraper dangles from an asteroid to become the world’s tallest building

    New York City-based design firm Clouds Architecture Office has proposed a conceptual skyscraper that would hang down from the sky suspended by ...
  • Anbang taps Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for Waldorf Astoria renovation

    Anbang taps Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for Waldorf Astoria renovation

    Proposed rendering of the Park Avenue foyer, via Skidmore, Owings & Merrill On March 1st, the Waldorf Astoria closed its ...
  • A fanciful miniature New York City is coming to a 49,000-foot space in Times Square

    A fanciful miniature New York City is coming to a 49,000-foot space in Times Square

    Minimodel maven Eiran Gazit’s latest project is anything but small: The former Israeli soldier and his team are putting the ...
  • Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 3/30-4/5

    Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 3/30-4/5

    In a city where hundreds of interesting events occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your ...
  • Noise pollution is worse in Jersey than NYC according to new DOT map

    Noise pollution is worse in Jersey than NYC according to new DOT map

    The map, the first of its kind, highlights the intensity of noises made by cars and airplanes across the country ...
  • Chinese company Anbang backs out of 666 Fifth Avenue deal with Kushner Cos.

    Chinese company Anbang backs out of 666 Fifth Avenue deal with Kushner Cos.

    A rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue. Credit: Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects “Kushner Companies is no longer in discussions with Anbang ...
  • $660K pretty Prospect Heights co-op is on the 21st-best block in NYC

    $660K pretty Prospect Heights co-op is on the 21st-best block in NYC

    According to its listing, the historic limestone townhouse at 205 Park Place that holds this elegant one-bedroom co-op is “conveniently located ...
  • Brooklyn cheesemongers to open their underground 1850s brewery tunnels for one night

    Brooklyn cheesemongers to open their underground 1850s brewery tunnels for one night

    Thirty feet below street level, Benton Brown and Susan Boyle of Crown Finish Caves age their deliciously moldy wares in ...
  • Explore historic LGBT sites in NYC with this interactive map

    Explore historic LGBT sites in NYC with this interactive map

    To broaden people’s knowledge of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s history in New York City, the NYC LGBT ...

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.