Play tennis, yeah that’s right
Walk in through the Vanderbilt entrance, where you’ll look for the elevator near The Campbell Apartment. Ride up to the 4th floor and get ready to play on a US Open championship court at the Vanderbilt Tennis Club. It’s a non-membership facility (featuring two practice courts with automated ball machines, a fully equipped fitness area, and deluxe locker rooms) that may just be the coolest way to pass the time at Grand Central. You can rent the courts at $49/half hour or $80/hour, or take a semi-private lesson with a pro for $145/hour. You can also get a free sneak peek of the club by calling 212-599-6500 and saying you’re interested in checking it out.
Meet Tom the beer cart guy
You may have already filled a growler or picked up a microbrew at one of the previously mentioned spots, but to get the full Grand Central experience, stop by to see Tom on your way to the platform. Having served 3,000 thirsty travelers a week for the past 30 years, Tom is an institution in his own right and offers an excellent selection of Empire State brews (not just commercial domestics) for as low as $2.75/16oz, the cheapest beer in the whole station. Try Ithaca Beer’s Flower Power IPA, Upstate Brewing’s I.P.W. and Common Sense, or Chicago-based Goose Island Beer Company’s Honkers Ale.
Do a little preparation
It sounds simple, but "... read the schedule just a little bit," says a tall cheerful Morgan Freeman lookalike at the info booth. "Know ahead of time what trains go where and when. The last station is what’s shown at the board. On the Mt. Vernon route, you know that the train always stops at Pelham. Just like the train will always go to Rye on the way to the last stop in Port Chester.” Words of wisdom right there.
Soak it all in
Remember that Grand Central is kind of a big deal. It’s forgivable if you forget given that you’re darting through crowds of annoyingly slow people on your way to the train just about every day. Take a moment to consider amazing things like the compass that points true north on top of the gazillion dollar clock, the whispering gallery, the fact that Grand Central is a national historic landmark, and all these cool secrets.
Have a New York City station tip? We’d love to hear it! Drop your hacks in the comments below.
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Lauren Matison is the co-founder and editor of offMetro.com. She likes to bring her bike on the train and get the hell out of town. Follow Lauren on Twitter and Instagram and let her know if you ever want to join her for a ride.