Stealing an idea out of Lex Luthor’s playbook, three MTA employees are in hot water after building an underground lair for themselves below Grand Central Station — turning a storage room into a “man cave” perfect for plotting a global takeover, or (more than likely) to watch a football game.
The office of the MTA Inspector General recently blew the top on the secret hideout under Track 114 that, while not nearly as swanky as Luthor’s lair from the Superman movies, had furnishings worthy of any crash pad: a TV complete with a streaming device, a futon, air conditioning, refrigerator, microwave, workout equipment and hide-a-way beds.
Those Metro-North workers with the “unauthorized man cave” beneath Grand Central Terminal clearly got the idea from Lex Luthor in “Superman.” pic.twitter.com/MZ426x32BD
— Jose Martinez (@JMartinezNYC) September 24, 2020
All features were easily disguised by “customized” wooden boxes that could be placed over some of the larger objects to make them blend in, according to the report.
“Many a New Yorker has fantasized about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan real estate – especially one this close to good transportation,” said MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny. “But few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal & make it their very own man-cave, sustained with MTA resources, and maintained at our riders’ expense.”
Catherine Rinaldi, president of Metro-North Railroad, was not pleased, claiming that the fort was not in compliance with safety regulations and the individuals are under suspension at this time.
“The behavior described in the IG’s report is outrageously inappropriate and is not consistent with Metro-North’s values and the commitment that we have to providing safe, reliable and cost-efficient service to our customers,” Rinaldi said. “All three employees were immediately suspended without pay and are being disciplined in accordance with their collective bargaining agreements.”
According to the OIG, one of the employees even lied to Pokorny’s office when questioned on the whereabouts of a co-conspirator while personal belongings traced the involvement to the trio who serve as a wireman, a carpenter foreman and an electrical foreman. A receipt with one man’s name on it and the streaming device connected to another individual’s phone as hotspot indicated another.
Two personal calendars and a pull-up bar featured a shipping sticker with the electrical foreman’s name indicated him as well as the registration on the streaming device, according to the OIG.
Pokorny’s office additionally says that Rinaldi’s office had failed to act on a complaint from a Metro-North employee about the space and later had to hear about it from an anonymous tip.