The demolition of Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station in the early 1960s stands as one of the greatest architectural losses in the history of the United States. In fact, to this day historic photos of Penn Station’s grand hall are often used by preservation advocates in campaigns to help save historic buildings from being torn down. In the early 1990s, New York Senator Danial Patrick Moynihan floated the idea of re-purposing the James A. Farley Post Office Building across the street from the current station into a grand train hall that would, in some respects, mimic the grandeur of the demolished architectural jewel. In fact, the Farley building was designed by the same architects as the former Penn Station. After years of planning, at long last it looks like construction on the new station will begin soon. (Photo is in the public domain).
Recent accidents resulted in closing certain lines of the existing station and re-routing others. Amtrak reduced intercity service to and from Grand Central Station in 1991, making it more of a locus for local commuters while most intercity passengers used the subterranean Penn Station. Now, with Amtrak forced to undertake extensive infrastructure repairs and improvements, it once again is re-routing trains to provide intercity travel from Grand Central. Now the project to convert the Farley building is finally moving forward, and the governor has released some early renderings of what the future Penn Station may look like.
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