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1910-1963 The destruction of Penn Station The fall of a New York architectural martyr by Alex Q. The main waiting room, inspired by the Roman Baths of Caracalla, was the largest indoor space in the city — a block and a half long with vaulted glass windows soaring 150 feet over a sun-drenched chamber. This may sound unfamiliar for present-day residents of New York City, who know Penn Station as a miserable subterranean labyrinth. Though the original Penn Station served 100 million passengers a year at its peak in 1945, by the late 1950s the advent of affordable air travel and the Interstate Highway System had cut into train use. In 1962 plans were revealed to demolish the terminal and build entertainment venue Madison Square Garden on top of it. Vocal backlash and protests ensued, but the plan moved forward and Penn Station was demolished. The outrage was a major catalyst for the architectural preservation movement in the United States. The original Penn Station was a steel and glass shrine to transportation, an elegant Beaux-Arts temple with its 150 foot high ceilings and a waiting room modeled after the Roman Baths of Caracalla.
Now it is an underground Habitrail™, lit by yellowed fluorescents and flavored by the odors of Roy Rogers™ and Cinnabon™ stinking down the corridors. Life Magazine has posted an entire series by Eisenstaedt of WWII soldiers’ farewells at Penn Station here. Peter Moore and his wife Barbara documented the death of Penn Station and published their work, The Destruction Of Penn Station. The only consolation is that Penn Station’s demolition was a large factor in the creation of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965. It was destroyed and redeveloped in 1963 into the Pennsylvania Plaza, which includes Madison Square Garden. The main concourse of the original Pennsylvania Station in New York is pictured on April 24, 1962.


With Madison Square Garden’s permit to operate in the above-ground space over the station expiring, the owners want it renewed in perpetuity. The opponents, including the Municipal Art Society of New York City, want to restore Penn Station to its former beauty.
They won a round in the debate when the City Planning Commission voted last week to limit Madison Square Garden’s permit to 15 years.
And the New York City Council is expected to vote on Penn Station’s future within two months. Here & Now host Robin Young tours both Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station with Vin Cipolla, president of the MASNYC. As New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman says, to pass through one is a gift, the other, a humiliation. Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston. We speak with Paul Dillenberger, one of the game's creators, about the origins of Oregon Trail.
The word has only recently entered widespread lexicon, largely due to a national debate over transgender bathroom use. In bike-loving Portland, there is a movement afoot to use bicycles for something unheard of—moving out. David Norman nourished his love of reading in prison and counseled inmates when he got out. To many, Penn Station is the utilitarian underground plaza beneath New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden. Constructed of pink granite and marked by an imposing, classical colonnade, Pennsylvania Station was served by twin carriageways modeled after Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. This article revisits the original structure in pictures, highlighting the beginning of the end of American rail travel’s glory days.


Keep reading – explore 20 vintage railway scenes from the glory days of train travel. Beyond that, trains emerged from bedrock to deposit passengers on a concourse lit by an arching glass and steel greenhouse roof. The new train station would be entirely underground and boast amenities such as air-conditioning and fluorescent lighting. In 1965, the New York Landmarks Law was passed, which helped save the iconic Grand Central Terminal and more than 30,000 other buildings from similar fates. The new station, a tangle of subway lines and commuter rail, is the busiest terminal in the country and bursting at the seams.
Excepting the mad scurry for Amtrak platforms after the track number has finally been revealed on the big board, it is an oppressive space completely without joy. But from 1910 to 1963, the site was occupied by a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by McKim, Mead & White that is still considered one of the architectural jewels of New York City. Its main waiting room was inspired by the Roman Baths of Caracalla and at 150 feet high, it was the largest indoor space in New York City and one of the largest indoor public spaces in the world. Plans are currently underway to renovate and expand the station, and restore a modicum of its original glory.
And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.



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