Gallery: SOM Redesigns NYC’s Penn Station to Include Light-Filled Moyni...

Penn Station wasn't always a basement-like nightmare. Just 50 years ago, it was a magnificent train station that rivaled the beauty of Grand Central. But then along came the Robert Moses era, and the station was demolished to make way for Madison Square Garden. Talk of improving Penn Station -- which houses lines for Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad, and New York City MTA -- has been going on pretty much since the current building went up.

Penn Station wasn’t always a basement-like nightmare. Just 50 years ago, it was a magnificent train station that rivaled the beauty of Grand Central. But then along came the Robert Moses era, and the station was demolished to make way for Madison Square Garden. Talk of improving Penn Station — which houses lines for Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad, and New York City MTA — has been going on pretty much since the current building went up, and for the last ten years, New Yorkers have known pretty much what the “new Penn Station” will look like and where it will be.

In 2001, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill was picked to design Moynihan Station, which is the brainchild of the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the project when he was still alive. A variety of reasons lead to the project design briefly changing hands, but in 2007, SOM was again officially awarded the project (you can find a detailed timeline of Moynihan Station’s planning history here), and their plans have more or less stayed the same.

SOM will maintain the facade of the Farley Post Office, which sits behind Penn Station on Eighth Avenue between 33rd and 31st Streets. The interior will be restored to house new train and intermodal halls, and a sweeping glass ceiling will create a light-filled central hall. Phase One, which began in October, consists of building major transportation infrastructure the station will need. This includes extending the west end concourse below the post office building to allow for access to more tracks, improving ventilation, improving and updating signal work, upgrading the connector between the post office and the current Penn Station, and creating two new entry points on either side of the post office’s facade. SOM says that these changes “increase capacity for rail services, enhance subway connections, reduce congestion, and improve access for all riders, including those with disabilities.” The Friends of Moynihan Station say that Phase One should be complete by 2015, and at that point, Amtrak would move all Penn Station operations to the new location.

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2 Comments

  1. betty boop March 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Save the Farley Post Office this project is in violation of Federal Landmark kaws

  2. seamusdubh March 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I’m curious as to how well the glass roof will hold up to New York snow fall in winter.