Photo Essay: The Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station in N.Y.C.

The Majestic New Terminal is One of the World’s Most Resplendent

Moynihan Train Hall, Amtrak's home in N.Y.C.

By Jonathan Spira on 10 February 2021
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The $1.6 billion Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall opened at dawn on New Year’s Day, replete with the steel, marble, and glass that is associated with train stations of another, perhaps more gilded, age.

“It is a testament and a monument to the public,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in announcing the opening of Moynihan Train Hall, although he needn’t have said a word as the reviews on social media captured the moment equally well.

The new soaring terminal replaces the squalid cavern known as Penn Station, which was built in the 1960s as Pennsylvania Railroad executives struggled to raise cash in order to continue operations by selling air rights to the eight acres (3.24 hectares) between Seventh and Eighth Avenues and 31st and 33rd Streets, where the old Penn Station stood.  Moynihan Train Hall doesn’t resurrect that edifice but it does restore New York’s rail gateway to a premier place in the world of train stations.

The demolition of one of the crown jewels of New York’s civic and architectural heritage, as was Penn Station, was a tragedy, albeit one that led to preservationist efforts and laws to protect landmark buildings.    Thirty years ago, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, perhaps one of the most architecturally astute politicians since Thomas Jefferson, suggested repurposing the James A. Farley Building, previously known as the General Post Office building and designed by McKim, Mead, & White, the same team of architects as Penn Station, as an almost architectural twin, replete with Corinthian columns and an imposing staircase.

Is it grand? Yes. Is it bold? Yes. The light-filled steel, glass and marble cathedral now known as Moynihan Train Hall even has a clock dangling above the middle of the main concourse, serving as both a centerpiece and a meeting spot, one that harkens back to the original Penn Station.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

Click here to continue to Page 2Moynihan Train Terminal’s Stunning Interior

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