Sometimes I get questions from people about what I would do if I actually worked as a graphic designer for Metro-North. You know what I would do? I would hide acorns. Everywhere. (Hey, at least it beats some company stealing photographs from some website for an Employee “Professionalism” guide – there’s a joke in here, somewhere)
Honestly, though, hiding acorns would be pretty funny. If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you may be familiar with the concept of hidden Mickeys. Mickey silhouettes are frequently hidden throughout the parks in places where you’d least expect them. Believe it or not, Grand Central has a particular item hidden in plain sight throughout – the acorn. I’ve mentioned it before, but the acorn was a symbol adopted by the Vanderbilt family, in lieu of a crest. As the saying goes, “from an acorn a mighty oak shall grow” – which appropriately reflects the successes of Cornelius Vanderbilt.
While the whole acorn thing is public knowledge, I don’t know how many people have made it into a game of finding as many acorns as possible. If Howard Permut has his way, you’d never wait more than 15 minutes for a train, but if you ever happened to get stuck in the Terminal with kids (or dingdongs with cameras), you can always spend the time hunting for acorns…
Although William Kissam Vanderbilt played a significant role in the aesthetic of Grand Central Terminal (and pushed the “Vanderbilt look” with the assistance of his architect cousin Whitney Warren), he played practically no role in the design of his Rhode Island mansion, Marble House. However, Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s mansion in Rhode Island, on the other hand, shares much of the same Vanderbilt aesthetic as the Terminal. In fact, you can also play the “Acorn Game” at his home, The Breakers.
I swear, one of these days I’m actually going to post all the photos I took at The Breakers last year… until then, have fun searching for acorns the next time you’re in Grand Central!