SkyscraperCity banner

Rate our long lost Railroad Icon


  • Total voters
    80
1 - 20 of 82 Posts

·
Ever Upward!
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
www.forgotten-ny.com

"Most people who have commuted into New York City from New Jersey or Long Island, or perhaps taken the train from other parts of the country like Washington, Boston, or Chicago in the past 35 years, have thought of Penn Station as the basement under the Felt Forum on 33rd Street. A large basement, with shops, newsstands and ticket booths, but still a basement.

Between 1910 and 1964, though, a great monument to travel existed on this site. The largest building ever erected for rail travel, Pennsylvania Station, commissioned by Pennsylvania Railroad President Alexander Cassatt and built by architectural firm McKim, Mead and White, stood between 31st and 33rd Streets and 7th and 8th Avenues -- over eight acres. It was truly a temple of transportation.

With the 277-foot long waiting room designed to resemble the Roman Baths of Caracalla and the Basilica of Constantine, the grand edifice used 500,000 cubic feet of granite; was supported on 650 steel columns; required the digging of tunnels over 6600 feet long under the Hudson River; required the demolition of over 500 buildings and the removal of over 3,000,000 cubic yards of soil and bedrock. Pennsylvania Station had a 150-foot ceiling."

Pennsylvania Station sat on two city blocks, stretching from 33rd to 31st Streets. Half a mile of pink granite, quaried in Milford, Mass., was used to build McKim's monumental gateway. A Roman Doric colonnade ran along its Seventh Avenue entrance, surmounted by a low attic. Twenty-two eagles, fashioned by sculptor Adolph Weinman, perched over the station's four entrances, alongside sets of maidens who were draped over huge clocks.




Pennsylvania Railroad President Alexander Cassatt wanted to give travelers arriving in New York City a preparation before they walked outside. The arcade was a metal-faced boulevard of shops, modeled after the arcades in Milan and Naples. It led to the station's main entrance, a Doric columned vestibule




Modeled after the Roman Baths of Caracalla and comparable in size to the nave of St.-Peters in the Vatican, this elegant room was made of travertine marble, a honey-colored stone imported from Tivoli, Italy, that grew lustrous with the human touch. Standing on its pink marble floors, one looked up 150 feet to a coffered, vaulted ceiling.













Flanking the Seventh Avenue entrance to Penn Station, two carriageways, modeled after the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, brought passengers to the Main Waiting Room. A passenger taking a Pennsylvania train would ask to be taken the the "Penn side," while passengers who wanted the Long Island Railroad would request the "Long Island side."




Architect Charles McKim had the great train sheds of Europe in mind when he designed this metal-and-glass birdcage of a room. Light filtered down from its barrel vaulted ceiling, through glass-and-cement floors to the train tracks below street level.










"Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed."
- "Farewell to Penn Station," New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963







 

·
Registered
Joined
·
506 Posts
Wow!! Simply stunning! This building was absolutely incredible! It really saddens (and infuriates) me though that it was destroyed! I can't BELIEVE people can be SO stupid so as to delete something so remarkable! That could have been the world's greatest station by now, and one of America's most celebrated structures! :(

10/10
 

·
Ever Upward!
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I guess if you are trying to find a silver lining in the cloud that is the destruction of the original penn station, it's that it jumpstarted the NYC Landmark's Commission. This quote best represents the feeling most of us get when we arrive in NYC from Jersey:


"We used to come into New York like Gods when we came into Penn Station. Now we come into the new Penn Station like rats."

- Vincent Sailey
 

·
Registered
something-or-other
Joined
·
1,087 Posts
"We used to come into New York like Gods when we came into Penn Station. Now we come into the new Penn Station like rats."

- Vincent Sailey
Yeah, we certainly *eat* like rats in that station, too. Plenty of crappy food down there to go with the architecture...layout grand as a sewer system.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
38,351 Posts
10/10 :)
 
1 - 20 of 82 Posts
Top