You can win a private session at Grand Central Terminal’s ‘hidden’ tennis courts
Photo courtesy of Grand Central Terminal
A contest launched on Tuesday that is tailor-made for lovers of tennis and quirky New York City history. Grand Central Terminal’s “Game, Set, & Match” contest will provide one winner and a partner an hour to play tennis at the iconic transit hub’s Vanderbilt Tennis Club, located in a hard-to-find location on the terminal’s fourth floor. In addition to the free match, the winner will receive $300 in gift cards for Grand Central Terminal vendors.
To win the hour of play and 10 gift cards each valued at $30, you have to comment on Grand Central’s lifestyle Instagram or Facebook page why you want to win and tag the friend you’d like to play in a match. Entries will be accepted on September 8, 9, and 10.
A winner will be chosen at random and notified on Sunday, September 13. The hour of private use at the Club is worth $200. Find the rules of entry and full terms and conditions for the contest here.
The somewhat secret location of the spot and its interesting history add to the uniqueness of the prize.
The “hidden” tennis club site was once used as TV studios for CBS, an art gallery, and even a 65-foot-long indoor ski slope. In the 1960s, the space was converted into the athletic complex by Geza A. Gazdag, a former athlete from Hungary. By the time the transformation was complete, there “was no fancier club in town,” the New York Times wrote about the Vanderbilt Tennis Club in 1978.
But after the landlord–the Metropolitan Transportation Authority–raised the rent, the club was forced out of Grand Central. Starting in 1984, another developer took over the space.
Donald Trump leased the floor and turned it into the private “Tennis Club,” exclusive tennis courts meant for the affluent, with prices as high as $155 an hour on weekdays. According to Atlas Obscura, A-list players had to pay in all cash, with no credit cards accepted.
When Trump’s lease ended in 2009, the club became a lounge and rest area for MTA workers. After two years without any tennis courts, the Vanderbilt Tennis Club reopened in a new location on the terminal’s fourth floor with one regulation-sized indoor hardcourt, one junior court, two practice lanes, and a fitness room, all open to the public.