Whispering Arch, Grand Central Station

A whispering gallery found in a surprising place, Grand Central Terminal in New York.

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There’s an area under 4 archways, on the way down to the lower concourse, where you can experience an amazing sound effect. If you and a friend stand at opposite ends of the underpass and one of you speaks towards the wall at a normal volume, the other person can hear you perfectly even though you are a good 10 metres away and facing in the opposite direction. The stone walls and ceiling do a great job of reflecting the sound on a path across to the opposite side of the underpass. For more on the cause of this effect, see Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Logistics and location

In the lower concourse outside the Oyster bar. Whispering galleries need to be visited when it isn’t too busy otherwise the effect can’t be heard above other noise.

Sources

  • Site suggested by Charlie Mydlarz
  • Photo Nick Gray

Author: Trevor Cox

I am a Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford where I carry out research and teaching focussing on architectural acoustics, signal processing and audio perception. I am also an author and radio broadcaster having presented many documentaries on BBC radio and written books for academics and the general public.

4 thoughts on “Whispering Arch, Grand Central Station”

  1. A few more whispering arches:
    1. Gloucester Cathedral (UK)
    2. St. Louis Union Station, Missouri http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8T35_St_Louis_Union_Station_Whispering_Arch_St_Louis_Missouri
    3. Castello di Amorosa – Knights Chamber – Calistoga, CA http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMA94E_Castello_di_Amorosa_Knights_Chamber_Calistoga_CA
    4. The Whispering Wall, Barossa Reservoir, South Australia
    5. http://www.waymarking.com/cat/details.aspx?f=1&guid=365d7745-9215-4098-8ba1-cd06755e2e3c&st=2
    6. Rose Bowl (if it is still there!) http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8NER_Rose_Bowl_Tulsa_OK
    7. The Battle House, a Renaissance Hotel in Alabama http://hotels.about.com/od/alabama/ig/The-Battle-House/Whispering-Arches.htm
    8. Goerlitz Whispering arch in Germany
    9. Hayes Hall, Ohio State Uni
    10. Harvard Uni. On the outside facade of Sever Hall
    11. West Chester University in Pennsylvania, USA

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