About the Vanderbilt YMCA
Bearing the name of one of the YMCA of Greater New York's most benevolent families, the Vanderbilt YMCA Branch opened in its current location in 1932, and was then known as the "Railroad YMCA." Now focused on meeting the needs of nearby residents, office workers, and members of the United Nations community, the branch was originally established in 1875 to provide housing for the nation's railroad men. One of many "Railroad YMCAs" throughout New York City and across the country, the forerunner of the Vanderbilt YMCA was housed in the basement of the New York Rail Station on the site of today's Grand Central Terminal. These railroad workers found clean overnight accommodations, affordable meals, and an array of programs to occupy and enrich their time between journeys. The branch and its extensions moved multiple times over the decades, and once occupied sites where today's Roosevelt and Waldorf-Astoria hotels now stand.
The "Railroad YMCA" was renamed the "Vanderbilt YMCA" in 1972 in recognition of the significant role that railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt and his heirs played in its history. Today, the Vanderbilt YMCA serves its neighbors in many ways, including through extensive youth programs, a health and wellness facility, guest rooms, and more than 125 different classes per week for adults, seniors, families, teens, children, and tourists. The branch also opened a fully-equipped early childhood center in 1990.