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Tradies’ secret ‘man cave’ at iconic site

Three train station tradesmen allegedly boozed, napped and watched TV inside a secret “man cave” built below the tracks at New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal, according to an internal investigation.The lounge, complete with futon, flat-screen TV, microwave and fridge, was found behind a plasterboard wall in an unused locksmith shop below a track in…

Three train station tradesmen allegedly boozed, napped and watched TV inside a secret “man cave” built below the tracks at New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal, according to an internal investigation.

The lounge, complete with futon, flat-screen TV, microwave and fridge, was found behind a plasterboard wall in an unused locksmith shop below a track in the station’s lower level, according to a report from MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny.

“Many a New Yorker has fantasised about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan real estate – especially one this close to good transportation,” Ms Pokorny said.

“Few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal.”

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The investigators initially paid a surprise visit to the locksmith shop in August, after concluding that Metro-North officials had failed to investigate two previous complaints about workers using the space to “hang out and get drunk and party”.

The three Metro-North employees – a wireman, carpenter foreman and electrical foreman, who were not named due to ongoing disciplinary proceedings – denied ever having been in the room.

But Ms Pokorny’s office said the men had left fingerprints in the room, and the evidence that they used the underground hangout was “overwhelming”.

There, investigators found wooden cabinets that appeared to be specifically designed to conceal the TV and futon, along with a pullout bed sitting just outside the room. A half-empty beer sat in the fridge.

An Amazon streaming device attached to the TV had the carpenter foreman’s mobile hotspot on its list of available Wi-Fi networks, and was registered to the electrical foreman – whose name was also on a pull-up bar box and two 2018 date books found in the room, the IG said.

A receipt with the wireman’s name printed on it was found inside an air mattress box in the room.

He initially admitted to being in the room with the electrical foreman while receiving overtime pay – but later recanted, according to Ms Pokorny.

Confronted by the IG, the electrical foreman admitted to having a copy of the key to the locksmith shop despite not having worked with locksmiths for at least five years.

Grand Central Terminal management, meanwhile, claimed to have no idea the man cave even existed, despite multiple complaints that Metro-North security falsely claimed to have investigated.

Officials “were not aware that the storage room existed and did not know which employees had keys to the storage room,” the IG said.

Metro-North workers at Grand Central have access to an agency-approved break room which also has a TV, according to the report.

In a statement, railroad president Cathy Rinaldi called the secret man cave “outrageously inappropriate” and “not consistent with Metro-North’s values”.

All three men – who still deny the allegations – have been suspended without pay, and face potential termination, Ms Rinaldi said.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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