12 Responses

  1. Otto Vondrak says:

    I agree that the destruction of Penn Station “woke up” the citizens to New York and motivated them to save not only Grand Central Terminal, but also to protect other landmarks in danger of destruction. You can’t save everything (nor should you), but preservation is most meaningful when the entire community fights to support the cause they believe in.

  2. Backshophoss says:

    Albuquerque NM had it’s wakeup call when the Alvarado Hotel, a major
    facilty in the Harvey House chain was torn down in the 60’s, then
    the ATSF/Amtrak depot was lost by fire in the early 90’s.
    The Hotel site was finally turned into a city transit Hub in
    the early 2000’s, Amtrak and Greyhound intercity bus
    share an ajoining building.
    Albuquerque did wise up enough to buy the nearby shop complex
    from the RR’s real estate division, cleaned up and secured the buildings
    and with a partnership with ABQ Studios,leases part of the complex
    for movie shoots. The Wheels Museum is finally setting up in
    the Storehouse building in the complex.(www.wheels.org)

  3. Bill Loutrel says:

    Emily: Thanks for going to the Penn side (dark side??) for these photos. WOW!

  4. Cindi says:

    This is a great blog! Thanks for all your hard work and for some fab posting! The photos are fantastic. DOUBLE WOW!

  5. Joe says:

    It’s always nice to look at later photos of Penn Station, because it’s interesting to note how the once open space down to the tracks (from the concourse) was covered over with the advent of overhead AC power being used by the PRR.

    Walking through the lower level the other day at Penn, I looked up through some open ceiling panels and noted the old glass cube floor of the concourse, seen in the photos above. Penn Station may be gone, but most of the below grade infrastructure remains.

  6. Al Brecken says:

    Excess , in the attempt to impress , lead to this mess ( the demolition )

    If the initial design of Penn Station was one-third the size of what was constucted , it may have survived. The irony is that the size -to- number of tracks proportion of Penn Station was inversly propotional to the size-to-the number of tracks proportion of GCT.

    The the waiting room may have inspired awe because of it’s colossal size , but it’s very size made it impractical in terms of it’s basis purpose and it’s durabilty. I do not consider it’s design to be aesthetic , in particular when compared to the superb architectural quality of GCT.

    • Mike G says:

      Wow, I can’t disagree more here in regards to the comparison to GCT. The aesthetic beauty of the main waiting hall of Penn station was breathtaking and would wow anyone walking into it. What made it more unique was that the concourse was a glass vaulted space separate from it. The amount of people that go into penn station now compared to back then, if this station survived, it would have been another gem like GCT. I’m sickened by its loss.

      • Emily says:

        I don’t completely agree with Al, but I think his point is that for railroading, it wasn’t the best station. From an architectural standpoint it certainly was amazing, and definitely on par with Grand Central. But GCT was built to accommodate more traffic than they were currently receiving, it was well planned, and just the separation of upper level long distance trains and lower level commuter trains was kind of innovative. The actual station proper of Penn was demolished, but the tracks and such are much the same. And if you’ve ever taken LIRR, compare that experience with MN. Penn is a nuthouse.

        I suppose one could argue that aesthetically Pennsylvania station was more beautiful than Grand Central, but in terms of usability, and the purpose for which it was built, GCT would win hands down every time.

    • Larry Cook says:

      That the colossal size of the waiting room was the reason the station awed is not a bad thing. Manhattan Island is large enough to accommodate some overly ;large structures without restricting other construction. I love that one photo of the waiting room in which it’s hard to tell if it’s inside or outside. Have you been inside Saint John the Divine? Certainly not elaborately designed, it inspires awe specifically for it’s massive indoor space. I was 10 years old when Penn Station was torn down and I don’t remember ever having been inside. I wish I could go back in time to walk through it and gaze for a while.

  7. jeff says:

    I arrived at Penn (some years ago ) & was so disapp. to emerge from…. a Rat Hole
    I didn’t know then how much NY was in the throes of the road interests…
    I hope things have changed

  8. Dwight says:

    These photos remind me of an old saying:

    “A good soldier never stands when he can sit, and never sits when he can lie down.”

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