Monday, July 16, 2018

Secrets of NYC that you might already know.

by Jane (writer), Astoria, April 29, 2007


Do people know about the whisper wall in Grand Central? I didn’t until a few days ago when I was watching PBS’s “Secrets of New York – Seven Secrets of Grand Central.” I was flipping through when I saw the segment about the whisper wall. Then I quickly changed the channel because I don’t give money and if you watch PBS for longer than 6 minutes, you should give them money or you’re a filthy thief.

Note: I didn’t have my camera with me and the photos I found online had “please-sue-me-for-using-this” written on them so I took the liberty of drawing a diagram in PowerPoint. I rule.

It works like this: Go find the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. It’s on the lower level near the food court. In front of the Oyster Bar, there is a stone chamber with glorious arches. Stand in one corner (green dot), make friends with someone quickly or have your previously acquired friend stand in the opposite corner (red dot). Now, this is the part that will make you look psycho — both of you turn to face into the corner and speak normally. Your friend on the other side will be able to hear you speak, but people in the room won’t be able to. How cool is that?

I find that New York City is full of fun stuff like this. This is the kind of thing I’ll show friends visiting from out of town. And I’ll take credit for finding it.

I thought about all of the discoveries I’ve made in this city that I feel are all my own and how I feel when other people discover them as well. It’s sort of the feeling you get when you like a band before they are popular. I take enormous pride in the fact that I’m from NYC. I’ve made all kinds of discoveries about this city that people before me have no doubt discovered as well. And I chuckle when people discover the things that I’ve known about for years. That’s the way this city works. There are people constantly moving here and constantly finding my old haunts and making them new again.

For my first job out of college, I was a sales assistant. One of my co-workers, who had just moved the city from the mid-west told me that she and her friends had a great slice of pizza at Famous Original Ray’s and that the man inside said he was the real Ray. I laughed and told her that Ray’s pizza is a running joke in this city. Between Famous Ray’s, Original Ray’s, Famous Original Ray’s, Ray Bari and just Ray’s Pizza, there’s no way to know who was first, especially since they all claim the honor. It’s a funny tidbit about local pizza. Didn’t the Simpsons even pick up on it once? She insisted that this guy was the real deal. Why would he lie? I gave up trying to explain. I knew she'd find things out in time.

This city is like that. And I’m sure there are people out there who have known about the Grand Central whisper wall for years and are shaking their heads. But I just discovered it and in three years, when someone tells me they just discovered it, I’ll claim I invented it.

About the Writer

Jane is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on Secrets of NYC that you might already know.

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By Venditto on April 29, 2007 at 07:34 pm
super sweet article. I love discovering the lil' mysteries of Manhattan. Like, you know that cube at Astor Place, by St Marks, that sits on one of it's corners and spins- I totally discovered that in '92. ps- big props on the Power Point drawing.
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By Jane on April 29, 2007 at 08:15 pm
That's exactly the kind of thing I meant. I totally knew the one about the spinning cube. And I invented it.
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By Venditto on April 30, 2007 at 01:21 pm
you sit on a throne of lies.
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By Jane on April 30, 2007 at 01:25 pm
I invented lying.
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