From Penn Station to Moynihan Station

By
Real Estate Agent with The Corcoran Group

original Penn Station

The original Pennsylvania Station, opened in 1910, was designed by the famed McKim, Mead & White architecture firm. The station's steel and glass concourse pictured below, with its great domed roof, suggests the motion and power of the modern age.

original Penn Station courtesty moynihanstation.org

Although a Beaux-Arts architectural masterpiece built of marble to last forever the railroad sold the air rights above the Penn Station. The building was demolished in 1960 and replaced by an office tower and new Madison Square Garden. The new Penn Station would be undergound below Madison Square Garden.

MSG today courtesty: Moynihanstation.org

 

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York's Senator for 24 years, spent over a decade championing a modern Pennsylvania Station for New York City. As a child during the Great Depression, he sold newspapers and shined shoes in the old Penn Station.

Senator Moynihan believed that America is the land of second chances. He saw the idea to build a new Penn Station in the landmark Farley Post Office across Eighth Ave from Penn Station as New York's golden opportunity to redeem itself for tearing down the original Pennsylvania Station. An Awesome building also designed by architechts McKim, Mead & White The Farley Post Office has served as New York City's general post office.

Farley Post office

As a Senator, he secured federal, state and city funds and guided an initial architectural plan to rebuild the station in the adjacent James A. Farley Post Office. Following Moynihan's death in 2003, Senator Charles E. Schumer and Governor George E. Pataki proposed re-naming the facility Moynihan Station to honor the Senator from Hell's Kitchen.

The project has been taking a long time. It's been on and off. It is now being coordinated with other vital transportation projects including the number 7 subway train extension, connection to Grand Central Terminal and commercial and resdential real estatel development of Husdon Rail Yards, Manhattans's last large parcel of undeveloped land. The project developers are Voranado and Related. Much of the land of the Hudson Yards is below grade railroad tracks that are proposed to be “covered over” to accommodate development and parks but ideal for the new transportation hub. The City is confident that this area can be transformed into one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the 21st Century because it accomplished this feat at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Phase 1 has begun mostly involving below ground infrastructure. The Train Hall has not yet been designed, but the recently-released documents describe it as, "A new, iconic, sky-lit train hall (including a grand concourse larger than Grand Central Terminal's main concourse), constructed largely within original Farley's courtyard, covered by a glass roofscape, with direct vertical access to train platforms below." Phase 2 would also include private development within the Farley Post Office, which could be made up of retail and possibly a hotel.

New York's greatness over the centuries can be attributed to the original planners. The gridplan of 1811, laid out the future of development for the entire island of Manhattan. 

 

Learning From The Past: The Struggle to Build Penn Station

 

Links:

 Friends of Moynihan Statiion

New Penn Staion Municipal Arts Society

manhattan-s-last-frontier-the-hudson-yards

rebny-build-the-Far West subway-station

largest-apple-store-grand-central-terminal-in-the-big-apple

grand-central-terminal-restored-rejuvinated-and-still-spectacular-

 

courtesy of:

 

Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker, The Corcoran Group

 

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
190,141
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ

Like your pictures and the video. But, come on. We never learn from our past. Besides we have slipped into an abyss of "we can't afford it" and "government is bad" national mentality. Love and respect to Senator Moynihan. Thanks for sharing.  

Aug 21, 2011 05:47 PM #3
Rainmaker
361,971
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA,
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...Finding Your Place In The sun!

Mitchell: You have done such a good and dear service to the people who first created the orignal Penn Station--and to those who are currently working on the Moynihan project that you deserve the gold star more than any other "localism" post I have ever read---what a monumental project to cover so well--the history, the masters of design and the story behind it all--the original city planning that laid the ground work for all to fit!!!---No wonder Jackie Kennedy felt compelled to take charge of the Grand Central re-do---she just may have saved it from the same fate as the original Penn Station! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge--I bet your clients/customers feel the same way!!!

Aug 21, 2011 05:56 PM #4
Rainer
236,386
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Great history, and great pictures. Though as a Westchester resident, we use Grand Central!

Aug 21, 2011 06:07 PM #5
Rainmaker
718,549
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

Hi Mitchell, This is why AR is the best. We learn something new every day. I never knew about any of this with Penn Station. I am such a history buff and loved reading your post!

Aug 21, 2011 06:39 PM #6
Rainmaker
510,912
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC

Alexandra, You're right it does look like the Galleria in Milan. I once took a train from Cannes, in the south of France to Milan. Being an American I didn't know you keep your luggage with you on your seat. So I checked it. When I got to Milan, no luggage. They told me Ventamillo they throw it off the train at the border. Luckily it showed up the next day.

Debbie, I don't remember the original Penn Station but it was a big mistake demolishing it and the current Penn Station which is the busiest station in the country serving LIRR, NJ transit and Amtrack is disgusting.

Gregory, Your Governor Chris Christie pulled the plug on a NJ transit tunnel ARC after he already took federal money, approved the project and it began 3 years ago. Apparently he's building a mall with the millions he took from the feds instead. They are suing and he won't give it back. Another tunnel is now being built thanks to NJ two Senators and Amtrack.  Christy is trying to take credit for it. It is going to cost more than thne original NJ transit tunnel. A good investment in the future for NJ commuters is more fiscally responsible than saying no.

Paula, Thank you. I never appreciated architecture and all the styles until I became a real estate agent and after 9/11 I marvel at all these man made wonders that we built. The Hudson yards was going to be at one point a new Jets football stadium. It was Gluliani's and then Bloomberg's pet project to bid NY for the 2012 Olympics. Most NYers didn't want the stadium or the Olympics. I think this is much better for the future of the region. Transportation hub and new residential and commercial neighborhood.

Donald. Grand Central is spectacular.It was almost destroyed. As Paula mentioned, Jackie Kennedy and other community groups fought o save it and refurbished and restored it.

Aug 21, 2011 07:05 PM #7
Rainmaker
682,187
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Penn Station as it sits currently is a disgrace.  The old building was demolished before my time - but by the photographs I can tell that getting rid of it was a monumental mistake.  Let's hope that  the new station is a finer example of what NYC has to offer.  After all, the first impression many people get of NYC is sadly Penn Station.  I'm glad that metro-north uses Grand Central.

Aug 21, 2011 08:22 PM #8
Rainmaker
510,912
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC

Hi Jackie,

I love history too. Did you know the current Madison Square Garden is the fourth one? I just learned the first three were located on Madison Square Park in the Flat Iron diastrict. White the same architect from the original Penn Station was murdered on opening night in the rooftop theatre by the husband of the woman he was having an affair with.

Madison Square Garden

photo courtesy of The NY Historical Society

Aug 21, 2011 08:25 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,629,437
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Oh, yes, Penn Station is disgusting.  I hate going there. I don't even feel safe there.  Never did.  Thank goodness my main access is via Grand Central.  I remember seeing pictures of the way Penn Station was in college and thought wow.

Aug 21, 2011 08:35 PM #10
Rainmaker
692,879
Gene Mundt
www.genemundt.com - 708.921.6331 - New Lenox, IL
Chicagoland Mortgage Lender - 37 yrs experience

What an absolutely amazing post!  History.  Architecture!  Real Estate!  Politics!  Memories!  All roller into one. Great read and great education, Mitchell ... thank you ...

  Gene

Aug 21, 2011 08:44 PM #11
Rainmaker
259,577
Pat Laracy Baker
Key Advantage Realty - Needham, MA
Realtor, Green, ABR, Needham, Massachusetts

Nice post Mitchell.  It makes me think of the big dig here and the new Ted Williams tunnel.  I am not sure it is safe.  I like the history and the pictures in your blog.

Aug 21, 2011 09:01 PM #12
Rainer
96,096
Ross Therrien
Prudential Verani Realty, Londonderry,New Hampshire - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Broker Associate

  Had to change trains at Penn heading to Florida.

Penn station was wild unfortunately the main entrence is a flithy hole. Great time waiting for our train.

Aug 21, 2011 09:15 PM #13
Rainmaker
510,912
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC

Hi Ruthmarie, I agree. There are going to be benefits to Westchester because there will be direct access to trains on Metro North’s New Haven and Hudson Lines from Moynihan station. We can thank NJ Senator Lautenberg for saving the project and the region from governor Christies arrogant foolish mistake. The orignal plan "ARC" was to benefit NJ commuters to Manhattan. The new plan wil increase property values and ensure future growth in Westchester, Connecticut and Long Island while lowering the value of New Jersey thanks to their Governor. Jobs in NY pay 60% more than in NJ and he is cutting off his state easy access to commute to the higher paying jobs in NY.

Meanwhile Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote a letter his first week in office to the transportation secretary asking for all the funding Ohio and Wisconsin turned down for railroads. NY will be getting trains connecting the state NY to Albany etc. will help upstates and the states economy. He balanced the state budget (a much bigger state than NJ) did not increase taxes, put a cap on property tax and legalized gay marriage in his first 6 months in office.  I think New York's new Governor has run circles around tea party Governor Christie. New Jersey's best asset is it's location across the river from thge greatest city in the world.

 

Aug 21, 2011 09:46 PM #14
Rainmaker
404,880
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Mitchel for about 20 years, I'd have to say I went in and out of Penn Station and never knew its history. I also knew a boy in College who was a Moynihan, and related to the senator. Know I know how influencial his family really was. Thanks for the memories and history!

Aug 21, 2011 10:19 PM #15
Rainmaker
510,912
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC

Debbie, It's filled with fast food and junk. It always smells like popcorn. Grand Central has great restaurants.

Gene, Thank you. History. Architecture! Real Estate! Politics! They are all tied together and they are all distinctively local and history always repeats itself. NY has always been able to make major public investments that trigger private market response.

Pat, Safety is the utmost importance It is always a little scary goin g through a tunnel or over a bridge.

Ross, I think I remember that place. It had a huge .salad bar that had everything including the kitchen sink?  Across the street from the 8th avenue entrance? I don't think it's there anymore.

Ellen, After Penn station was demolished the outcry from the public helped create the landmark preservation commission Moynihan described Penn Station as “the best thing in our city,” He also coined the phrase: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts" He was a great Senator and thinker. He was admired by democrats and republicans.  From a shoeshine boy to the station being named after him. He devoted his life servcing his country and we were lucky to have him.

Aug 22, 2011 12:02 AM #16
Rainer
177,469
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

That was a beautiful building! Why do we as people not preserve our history instead of tearing it down in name or progress!

Aug 22, 2011 01:14 AM #17
Rainmaker
561,004
Scott Fogleman
Witt-Fogleman Team 434-941-8847 - Forest, VA
Witt-Fogleman, Inc. - Bedford, Lynchburg, and Roan

When I lived in NYC, there was an article about the original Penn Station, if I remember correctly the statues and much of the building materials are being stored somewhere since it was torn down....

Aug 22, 2011 07:56 AM #18
Rainmaker
893,858
Michael Setunsky
Michael's Commercial LLC - Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Mitchell, I wasn't aware of all the history behind this project. Thanks.

Aug 22, 2011 09:02 AM #19
Ambassador
2,408,720
Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Mitch, love your photos and love the story you told about the place.  I'm sort of sorry that they are changing the name.

Aug 22, 2011 06:10 PM #20
Ambassador
1,279,491
Toni Weidman
Re/Max Sunset Realty - Trinity, FL
23 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Mitch  - I love the history of Penn station. I used to work in NYC and traveled in from LI every day so this was an interesting read.

Aug 28, 2011 01:47 PM #21
Anonymous
Anonymous
Gen. Patton

Only Amtraks facilities with the "Historic" Farley P.O. is to be dedicated in Sen Moynihan's honor.  There is no legislation re-dedicating the landmark in Sen. Moynihan's honor and i find it inappropriate to suggest that regardless of what is constructed inside the landmark...that the monument's original dedication and symbolism should e overshadowed by Sen. Moynihans ability....or INABILITY to secure funding for this BOONDOGGLE.  Sen. Moynihan is not even a native New Yorker....show some respect for the Farley Building...and its OFFICIAL designation.

 

Ths country could use a man like Farley now....and you want to whitewash his monument with a trainhall to nowwhere....shaaaame!

Aug 29, 2011 05:34 PM #22
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Rainmaker
510,912

Mitchell J Hall

Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC
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