Pay to Play

There is an arc of light under the Grand Central clock on 42nd and Park that has been illuminating interesting and unexpected activities for decades. In the 50’s it was Walter Cronkite recording headlines for CBS, in the 60’s it was a 65 foot astroturf ski slope built by a Hungarian immigrant, and for a while after that it was the playground of more wayward turf when in the hands of Mr Trump. But these days the capacious cavern has become home to the most well placed tennis court in the city.

The Vanderbilt tennis club has public courts so anyone can play. Even Serena Williams. Apparently she was a regular during the last US Open, warming up for the next win. You just need to book in advance and be prepared to pay between $80 and $250 per hour depending on the time of day. ( Racquets are an extra $10 each…) The space may be a long way from Cockaleechie, and there are sounds of girls rather than galahs, but the sheer inspiration of the location with that iconic arched window, makes it a great spot for a few hits. You can even pump and spin from an overviewing gym level if you want to warm up and watch.

Grand Central is like a magic box, full of surprises. Original elevators transport you between the tracks and the concourse and the court, with the arrow pointing the way. But you may also find the doors opening to a restaurant or to the new bar spilling out from the Campbell Apartment, or even to the train driver’s lunch room on the fifth floor. Just be sure to read the signs – Mr Cronkite’s sharpie is still on the job…






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3 Responses to Pay to Play

  1. Dallas Colley says:

    Indeed a very long way from Cockaleekie, however at Grand Cental it looks like fun and what a great location for a hit of tennis.
    AN Day’s Railway Nomenclature published in 1915 suggests that the person in authority, within the SA Railways was partial to a soup bearing this name and so passed it onto this railway station. It is more probable however, that it came from the Cockaleechie Run named by James Anderson He hadhed the land from 2 July 1860. The Oxford dictionary defines cockaleekie (sic) as a Scottish soup of cock boiled with leeks. Thus with the nomenclator, James Anderson, being born in Scotland the name applied to his sheep run may be a corruption of the soups name

  2. Clyde Britton says:

    Just loved your segment last night Gab with Rod Quin it was a real blast thanks, i love the sign on the elevator pure classic.

  3. Jenny says:

    Gorgeous. Thanks again. The 42nd Street facade of Grand Central Terminal is my Facebook cover picture. I love that place. The audio tour is excellent.

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