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Welcome To Arguably The World's Biggest Lost And Found

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Many New Yorkers have, at one time or another, left something in a cab or on a train. But getting it back is often thought of as a futile exercise.

Well, it turns out it really isn't.

There happens to be a massive lost and found right in the heart of New York City to help reunite you with whatever it is you have left behind, reports CBS 2's Emily Smith.

It appears to be a seemingly never ending rack of coats. Up and down the aisles there are travel bags and hand bags, golf clubs, and even a stash of umbrellas.

"I've recovered items before and found the owners and the owners say, 'wow, I never thought I'd ever see this item again,'" said Metro-North lost and found director Melissa Gissentanner.

It might look like a thrift store, but it's the lost and found department in Grand Central Terminal. On Friday, CBS 2's Smith got a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the biggest lost and found in the city.

"We are in the second week of May and this is the BlackBerrys; this is how many we have recovered so far," Gissentanner said, displaying a crate holding maybe two dozen of the devices.

This repository for all things forgotten on Metro-North commuter trains has gone high-tech. This year everything became computerized, but plastic bins and homemade labels still play a role.

According to the department, there's a 60 percent recovery rate. It collected 25,000 items last year and reunited 14,000 people with their missing property. Paula Greco of Wilton, Conn., was one of the beneficiaries. Someone returned a brand new outfit she recently left on a train.

"Well over $300, so I am thrilled," Greco said, when asked how much it cost.

If you lose something in a cab it's more complicated, but there's still hope.

Just this week someone left a Gagliano violin in the trunk of a cab. It's a $50,000 instrument, but, believe it or not, the driver brought it back to the owner, taking it all the way to her house.

"A couple of days ago at the car wash I cleaned out my truck and saw the violin. So I saved it for a few days and then someone called so I took it," driver Mohammad Glias said.

Cab drivers know people are busy, but said their best tip is to take the receipt when you get out of the cab. It has important information on it that could link you to your lost item.

"They dial this number, see, and give the cab number you see on here," said Mohammad Oshraf of the Taxi and Limousine Commission. "Give this serial number. Call and report I left something in the car."

People have this common belief that you really have to come across a very nice person to actually get your item back. It turns out, there are more good people out there than you'd think.

To prevent theft you can expect a series of questions about the items you're trying to claim. If a match isn't made after 90 days the items are sold to a second-hand store. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority can't choose a charity because it's a public service.

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