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The secrets of Grand Central Terminal

Written by 23 December 2011 2 Comments

Grand Central Terminal is usually high on peoples New York bucket list yet what if I was to tell you that this famous landmark has secrets that you don’t know waiting to be discovered?

Located on the Grand Central Terminal dining concourse outside the famous Oyster Bar, the Whispering Gallery is an acoustic and architectural oddity that has to be played with.

The low ceramic arches are built in such a perfect way that if you two people stand at diagonal corners of the arches and whisper softly, they’ll be able to hear each other as clearly as if they were whispering directly into each other’s ears! (Imagine I’m whispering at the man pictured below)

Photo by cometoseemerganser

Your voice follows the curvature of the ceiling creating an effect called telegraphing. You’ll know you’re in the right spot when you see four low arches, designed by a father and son team, Rafael Guastavino and Rafael Guastavino Jr, back in 1913.

The acoustics of the arches in the concourse are not the only surprise – especially for diners at the Oyster Bar. The bar also has Guastavino ceilings meaning that voices are thrown all around making it not the place to dine if espionage is high on your list of topics to discuss.

Photos by xpressbus

Unsurprisingly the Whispering Gallery is a very popular spot for marriage proposals. Yet if you have anything juicy to confess you might want to wait until the concourse is a little quieter – unless you’re aiming to make passers by blush!

So, go on, tell us, what would you whisper?

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  • Anastacia Spada said:

    Whispering architecture must have been a trend during the turn of the century. There’s one in Philadelphia that was built for the World’s Fair also. http://www.chss.iup.edu/kpatrick/Phila-AC.shtml

    I think the arch in Grand Central is more impressive, though ;)

  • Bill Boylan said:

    There are many secrets about GCT, passageways, exits, tunnels, etc. Tell us more. Bill Boylan, SyndicatedNews.Net

    Anybody have a map?

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