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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.
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. Plans are currently underway to renovate and expand the station, and restore a modicum of its original glory.

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