The MTA tour guide who showed legions of visitors the off-limits underbelly of Grand Central Terminal is out of a job, possibly because he gave unsanctioned tours during his time off.
The New York Post reports, citing anonymous sources, that veteran Grand Central docent-in-chief Dan Brucker was pushed out because of security concerns about his alleged rogue tours.
An automatic response to an email sent to Brucker's MTA email address reads, "Dan Brucker no longer works for Metro-North." Brucker could not be reached by other means.
MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan wrote in an email that "There is an ongoing [Inspector General] investigation and as such, we can't comment on the matter. He is suspended at this time."
Brucker made $102,500 in 2015, according to payroll records. Though paid by the state, he technically worked for the tour company Orpheo. His tours brought tourists and transit buffs into otherwise restricted areas of the storied train terminal, including the sub-basement, home to a century-old computer, the inside of the Tiffany clock atop the building facing 42nd Street, and the secret spiral staircase inside the information booth in the center of the terminal.
Orpheo did not return a call seeking comment, but a worker told the Post that Brucker "retired a couple weeks ago."
The Post quotes a photographer who says that Brucker took him and other shutterbugs up to the terminal's glass catwalks as a favor between booked tours.
The tour we took with Brucker in 2015—each tidbit punctuated with exclamations such as "Right" and "Check"—was on the regular tour schedule, but came with its own batch of controversy.
Gothamist's invitation to the tour was arranged by a public relations person outside of the MTA's main press office, and two weeks after we began to publish articles based on our visit, then-MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg wrote that he was "pissed" about the pieces.
Lisberg wrote, "I have no issue with the articles—we love Danny, love his tours, and love showing off GCT. If anything, we could have helped you make it even better had you come through the front door. But when my bosses see a three-part series about GCT in a major outlet and I don’t know anything about it, you can be assured I will have lots of questions."
A week later, then-Gothamist features editor Christopher Robbins sent the MTA a routine inquiry seeking information on the history of a bus driver arrested following a fatal hit-and-run. When he followed up two days later to point out that the MTA had provided the information to the New York Times but failed to respond to Gothamist, Lisberg wrote in reply, "Must have fallen down [editorial director] Jen Carlson’s special staircase, or perhaps it slipped into her hidden basement."