After Numerous False Starts, the New Penn Station Begins to Take Shape on Eighth Avenue

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New Long Island Railroad Entrance at Moynihan Station

New Long Island Railroad Entrance at Moynihan Station

First championed by Senator Moynihan in the 1990s, who said “It is up to a new generation to renew our cities” in a press conference with then President Bill Clinton and Governor George E. Pataki, the project itself would be a return to an era of “great public works.” The plan for what is now called Moynihan Station is in its fifth iteration but, unlike a symbolic groundbreaking in 2010 attended by then Governor David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the project is underway and is expected to be up and running by 2020.

When the new Penn Station opens it will be a dramatic entryway into Manhattan for the 600,000 tourists and commuters who arrive there each day, making the station the busiest transportation facility in the Western Hemisphere. Owned by Amtrak, it has 21 tracks fed by seven tunnels and is at the center of the Northeast Corridor, a passenger rail line linking New York with Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

The above ground portions of the 1910 Pennsylvania Station building were torn down in 1963 and commuters and travelers were relegated to a dark, dank, subterranean station that is a contender, along with LaGuardia Airport, for being a third-world transportation hub.

Current Penn Station's Central Departure Board

Current Penn Station’s Central Departure Board

Fortunately, the classical century-old Post Office Building that lies across the street from the original Penn Station was designed by the same architecture firm, McKim, Mead, and White. Its monumental façade on Eighth Avenue was meant to match the colonnade of the station’s that, at the time, faced it across the avenue, and Senator Moynihan and others recognized the potential to undo the damage caused by demolition of the original Penn Station that became the site of the current Madison Square Garden.

When Moynihan Station finally opens, even later than some trains arriving at the station, it will be “an entrance befitting New York,” Governor Cuomo said at a press conference last week, and that it would be architecturally “more powerful” than the majestic Grand Central Terminal, one of the world’s most visited attractions.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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