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March 20th, 2003, 07:49 PM
Daily News...

New plan in works for Penn Station


Penn Station is getting a new developer.

The state agency overseeing the conversion of the main post office will seek a firm to transform more than half the building into a new rail facility as early as this summer, the agency's chairman said.

The move could shrink the role of previously selected developers, including the Staubach Company.

"They will not have the same kinds of long-term agreements and control that they had before," Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corp., told the Daily News.

Two years ago, the state tapped Staubach and Fraport AG to run the Penn Station project, turning the Farley Post Office at Eighth Avenue between W. 31st and W. 33rd streets into a state-of-the-art transit hub, with space for shopping.

Roger Staubach, a former football star and supporter of President Bush, founded the company that bears his name.

Officials had said the station would be done by 2004. But it got bogged down in negotiations between the state and the U.S. Postal Service over control of the building.

Under a tentative deal reached last year, the state agreed to buy Farley for $230 million. It also expanded the commercial space to be developed from 100,000 to 700,000 square feet.

With the project larger, the state will look for a new company to build and run 60% of it, with Staubach keeping 40%.

Gargano said a new bidding would begin late this summer, when the post office sale is due to be completed. Preliminary construction could also begin then, and would take four years.

Meanwhile, state officials are set to meet with Staubach executives next week to renegotiate their agreement.

"We're relatively convinced that we're going to have a major role in the project going forward, and that role may change," said Staubach executive Peter Larkin.

March 20th, 2003, 07:54 PM
The planned station...................


March 20th, 2003, 08:19 PM
What's going to be the deal with the existing Penn Station? *Is the city going to modernize/renovate the existing part, along with the expansion into the Farley Building, or is the city going to wait another 20 years to take care of that?

March 20th, 2003, 08:24 PM
Static images: http://www.pixelbypixel.com/farley

The animation is meant to dazzle and can be confusing.

March 20th, 2003, 08:29 PM
People who have interest in seeing New York get a train terminal that does not resemble a warren for rats & other small rodents will read today's Daily News article with a groan.

It was eleven years ago a determined Senator Moynihan said it was time to rebuild Penn Station. *It's 2003...the Post Office still hasn't vacated...a developer still isn't selected...the money still isn't there.

The number mentioned to convert the Farley Post Office is "four years." *Dream on: if there is so much as a steam shovel in the neighborhood come 2007 you can consider that a small sign of progress. *

March 20th, 2003, 08:38 PM
You're as jolly as your avatar.

March 20th, 2003, 08:43 PM
Thanks for the images, although I usually enjoy being dazzled and confused.

If NYC gets the 2012 Olympics, this will get built quickly.

I supose what happens to the old Penn Sta depends upon the west side stadium - if it's built and multiuse, the Knicks and Rangers would move out of MSG.

TLOZ Link5
March 20th, 2003, 08:48 PM
Quote: from Christian Wieland on 8:38 pm on Mar. 20, 2003
You're as jolly as your avatar.


Those renderings look like they're from SOM. *I like. *I like very much.

I wonder what they'll do with the platforms under MSG after the new station is renovated; plus how will the 1-2-3-9-A-C-E Trains stop there as well?

(Edited by TLOZ Link5 at 8:53 pm on Mar. 20, 2003)

Bk Italian 123
March 20th, 2003, 08:55 PM
hey that was a really cool rendering/ movie. *I like the plan

March 20th, 2003, 09:04 PM
The idea from a decade ago was to keep the rat-hole known as Penn Station in use for both the LIRR and NJ Transit commuters. *The new terminal would be dedicated solely to Amtrak.

But a lot can change in ten years. *Just ask the pharmaceutical companies: anti-depressants such as Zoloft and Prozac are all the rage; there's no question either of those could help Elmo get his groove back. *

March 20th, 2003, 09:44 PM
NJ Transist platforms don't all extend past 8th ave, same with some LIRR platforms. *Who uses what in Penn Station is a never-ending political mess, as you have two state agencies and a federal egency vying for turf in a station designed for a single railraod. *The three railroads share tracks 5-16. *1-4 are exclusively NJ Transit and 17-21 are exclusively LIRR. *Check it:


I think the Farley project is an monumentally stupid and expensive half-measure, but I'll save that argument for later.

March 21st, 2003, 09:14 AM
Quote: from JD on 8:29 pm on Mar. 20, 2003

It was eleven years ago a determined Senator Moynihan said it was time to rebuild Penn Station. *It's 2003...the Post Office still hasn't vacated...a developer still isn't selected...the money still isn't there.

The money has been there for a while now. *The Farley just isn't a vacant building, its still in use by the Post Office and an agreement had to be made on use of space.

As far as who will use the "new" station, both the current and new stations will be considered "Penn Station". *NJ Transit doesn't actually have any platforms at Penn Station, it uses space occupied by Amtrak, and Amtrak always has the right of way. *That's one reason why NJ Transit doesn't have regular track assignments like some LIRR trains which dominate Penn Station.

But there was recently an unused space opened to give NJ Transit riders a seperate ticketing concourse from Amtrak (7th Ave) with access to the tracks from there. *

(Edited by NYguy at 9:15 am on Mar. 21, 2003)

TLOZ Link5
March 21st, 2003, 07:11 PM
Would it be more expensive to dismantle the current Penn Station and then erect a more aesthetically pleasing structure in its place, while preserving the tracks and platforms and whatnot? *I mean, that's what they did with the original Penn Station, sans the replacement with a prettier building.

March 21st, 2003, 07:15 PM
You mean tear down Madison Square Garden and put the old Penn Station back?

March 21st, 2003, 08:19 PM
Are you sure the new station will be used only by Amtrak?

TLOZ Link5
March 22nd, 2003, 01:59 PM
Quote: from NYatKNIGHT on 7:15 pm on Mar. 21, 2003
You mean tear down Madison Square Garden and put the old Penn Station back?

Not necessarily the old Beaux-Arts station, but that's what I'm asking about. *MSG has considered relocating to Twelfth Avenue for a while now, anyway.

Bennie B
March 22nd, 2003, 03:07 PM
Great quote, TLOZ! *Hope you don't mind if I swipe the idea * *) if it works that is * *)

March 22nd, 2003, 04:08 PM
Does anyone have any links to the old Penn Station? *Was it there pre-post office?

TLOZ Link5
March 22nd, 2003, 04:38 PM
Quote: from Bennie B on 3:07 pm on Mar. 22, 2003
Great quote, TLOZ! *Hope you don't mind if I swipe the idea * *) if it works that is * *)

Heh, no prob.

March 22nd, 2003, 04:48 PM
You mean links like these?


Penn Station was completed in 1910, Farley in 1913.

TLOZ Link5
March 22nd, 2003, 05:34 PM
Cross-section of new plans from oldpennstation.com, 33rd St. on the upper right:


Bennie B
March 22nd, 2003, 07:49 PM
They gotta be kidding.

March 22nd, 2003, 07:52 PM
Quote: from Bennie B on 7:49 pm on Mar. 22, 2003
They gotta be kidding.

It's better than whats there now. *

March 22nd, 2003, 10:16 PM

Notice how there's no underground connection to the old station or even the subway!

March 22nd, 2003, 11:53 PM
Isn't that pink area to the right underground? It looks like its under the subway.

March 23rd, 2003, 12:30 AM
That's already there, not proposed, and you'll observe that it does not connect to the proposed concourses to the west.

March 23rd, 2003, 08:27 AM
Quote: from tugrul on 4:48 pm on Mar. 22, 2003
You mean links like these?


Penn Station was completed in 1910, Farley in 1913.

Great links Tugrul. *Long time no see. *The huge entrance arch is incredible as was the arched ceiling. *Amazing what they could do in 1910. *

The new Penn station looks amazing IMO. *The drawing of the train boarding area with the Acela bullet train is great to see!

March 23rd, 2003, 08:40 AM

What about that area labelled "extension of west end concourse?" *Is it possible there is a connection under the existing building that doesn't show in the drawing?

If you are correct, this is truly ridiculous.

March 23rd, 2003, 08:46 AM
It would be incredibly absurd if it weren't the case.

March 23rd, 2003, 09:24 AM
Quote: from dbhstockton on 10:16 pm on Mar. 22, 2003

Notice how there's no underground connection to the old station or even the subway!

Look closely at the diagram, the subway is there (8th Ave) and 7th Ave is out of the picture.

Zippy, if I'm not mistaken, that west end concourse is already there. *I only come accross it by accident because it is the farthest away from where I am trying to exit, which is 7th Ave or the LIRR concourse. *I always try to avoid going directly to the main Amtrak concourse because that is the most confusing in all of Penn Station.

It has been estimated though, that only 30% of current Penn Station users would use the new extension.

In other news, I have recently seen reports that there will be "excavation" of original Penn Station artifacts from the swamps of New Jersey where they were dumped.

March 23rd, 2003, 09:37 AM
I think Stockton referred to a connection to the area
"lower concourse commuter level." The drawing doesn't show any.

March 23rd, 2003, 11:55 AM
It would be incredibly absurd if it weren't the case.

Exactly. *Add to the absurdity the fact the MSG is in all likelyhood going to move within a decade and the 100-yr Hudson river tunnels are in desparate need of expensive maintenance in addition to the need for new tunnels.

Here's the lower level corridors as they are today. *The top of the photo is north. *All I see proposed is a southern extension of the red area. *What would be needed is a western extension of the LIRR 33rd st connecting concourse (orange), which provides access to the 7th and 8th ave subways:


March 25th, 2003, 10:00 AM
The center glass structure makes this building. *It is very similar to the bullet train station in Avignon, France.



March 25th, 2003, 11:41 AM
You're right, tonyo; the similarities are unmistakable.

Now if the U.S. could just imitate the T.G.V. itself...

March 25th, 2003, 03:55 PM
Quote: from ZippyTheChimp on 9:37 am on Mar. 23, 2003
I think Stockton referred to a connection to the area
"lower concourse commuter level." The drawing doesn't show any.

The connection is there - the west end concourse will be part of the lower concourse commuter level. *The 8th Ave subway line will be closest to this point. *I have a more detailed drawing somewhere, maybe I'll find it and scan it.

(Edited by NYguy at 3:57 pm on Mar. 25, 2003)

March 28th, 2003, 03:04 PM
I thought of this the other day, and I think that this is only appropriate.

NY's New Penn Station Renamed to Honor Moynihan
Thu March 27, 2003 07:01 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The new railroad hub planned to replace New York's aging Pennsylvania Station will be named in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York officials said on Thursday.
Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the station, scheduled to open in 2008, would be named the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Station, in memory of the four-term Democratic senator who died on Wednesday at 76.

Moynihan was a driving force behind the new station, to be built in the stately James A. Farley Post Office Building above the current Penn Station tracks. He had served since last year as the mayor's representative to the redevelopment corporation directing the project.

"His passion for public works and public spaces reminded us that great things can and must happen," Pataki and Bloomberg said in a joint statement, adding that Moynihan longed to use the Farley building "so that New York's entryway could be as grand as the skyline that surrounds it."

The Empire State Development Corporation, future owner of the building, is in final negotiations with the U.S. Postal Service to purchase the building, expected to be completed this summer.

Currently, Pennsylvania Station is the busiest passenger transportation facility in the United States, handling more than 600,000 people daily -- more than all three of New York's airports combined. The new station will increase Pennsylvania Station passenger capacity by 30 percent.

March 28th, 2003, 04:11 PM
(More from Newsday.)

New Station To Be Named After Moynihan *


The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan's legacy of tending to the nation's public works included the planned new Pennsylvania Station -- a train hub that will be renamed in his honor, officials announced Thursday.

The retired Democratic senator was "the driving force" behind transforming America's busiest passenger transportation facility, Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a joint statement.

The 76-year-old Moynihan died Wednesday from complications stemming from a ruptured appendix.

The new beaux-arts station, scheduled for opening in 2008, will be renamed the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Station.

Over the years, he was the leading advocate of transforming the General Post Office in the landmark James Farley Post Office building into a modern transit terminal that would replace the station now serving about 600,000 travelers each day.

Last August, Moynihan was appointed to the board overseeing the plans.

The neoclassical, 1.4-million-square-foot Farley building sits across Eighth Avenue from the existing Penn Station.

The project was first launched in 1999, but amid budget problems, the Postal Board froze capital spending for the Penn-Farley renovation. Then, after the World Trade Center attack, the Postal Service said it might need to keep its space at the Farley building due to damage at a post office near the twin towers.

But in October _ at a press conference attended by Moynihan _ officials announced a deal in which the state would buy the post office and convert it into a transportation hub. Purchase of the building is expected to be completed this summer.

Bloomberg has said that the existing Penn Station cannot handle the volume of passengers, and that it represents a national security issue after the Sept. 11 attacks grounded commercial airlines.

The redevelopment will increase the station's passenger capacity by 30 percent and double the circulation space serving Amtrak, commuter and subway access, as well as buses and taxis.

"For years, Moynihan tried to get the Postal Service out of the Farley building so that New York's entryway could be as grand as the skyline that surrounds it," said the mayor and the governor.

In addition to renaming the station, the Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment Corp. will change its name to the Moynihan Station Redevelopment Corp.

A resolution proposing the new names will be introduced to the Empire State Development Corp., the state agency which is coordinating the funding, management and execution of the project.

March 28th, 2003, 04:40 PM

I missed your reply earlier. Thanks. It makes more sense now.

The naming of the new station for Moynihan is a fitting tribute. A dedicated public official like him only comes around once in a while.

Bennie B
March 28th, 2003, 06:08 PM
You said it Zippy! *I thought he was gonna last forever like Strom Thurmond. *Too bad. *

March 28th, 2003, 07:46 PM
Moynihan station. *Good.

Then that can finally end the confusion of Newark's "Penn" station. *I think Baltimore's is Penn station as well.

And while they're at it, they can rename Newark - Liberty or something.

March 29th, 2003, 12:47 AM
Add to the confusion that there are many people whose first language isn't English have trouble distinguishing "Newark" from "New York". *I've seen it countless times, people assuring foreigners "no no, you want Penn Station New York, not New Ark. *Stay on the train, it's the last stop."

And then there's my grandfather, who doesn't hear well. *He's lived on Long Island for like 40 years and I don't think he ever rode NJ Transit or Amtrak. * He was visting one year and was going to take the train back. *When you live on LI, you just stay "Penn Station" when you want to go to Manhattan. *Not so in NJ. *Here was the exchange at the Ticket Counter:

"One-way to Penn Station, please"
"Newark or New York?"
"Penn Station."
"Newark or New York, sir?"
"No no, Penn Station."
"Newark or New York?"

And so on....

Bennie B
March 29th, 2003, 01:19 AM
*LOL* that's pretty good! *Wonder how they're gonna manage "Moynihan." * From the Times obit:

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Former Senator From New York, Dies at 76
By ADAM CLYMER (March 27, 2003)

In his first term he teamed with Jacob K. Javits, his Republican colleague, to pass legislation guaranteeing $2 billion worth of New York City obligations at a time when the city faced bankruptcy. . . . * in 1991 and 1992, he successfully pushed to shift highway financing toward mass transit—and get New York $5 billion in retroactive reimbursement for building the New York State Thruway. . . .

Long before he came to the Senate, and until he left, he was building a monument of bricks and marble by making Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue, a dingy street where he came to work for President John F. Kennedy in 1961, into the grand avenue that George Washington foresaw. . . .

Wherever he went, Mr. Moynihan explored interesting buildings and worked to preserve architectural distinction, from converting the main post office in Manhattan into the new Pennsylvania Station, to the Customs House at Battery Park and all around Washington. *Last year, over lunch and a martini at Washington's Hotel Monaco, an 1842 Robert Mills building that was once the city's main post office, he recalled how he had helped rescue it from decline into a shooting gallery. . . .

Mr. Moynihan's childhood has been pseudo-glamorized by references to an upbringing in Hell's Kitchen, which in fact he encountered after his mother bought a bar there when he was 20. . . . *Mr. Moynihan's mother, Margaret Moynihan, moved the family, including a brother, Michael, and a sister, Ellen, into a succession of Manhattan apartments, and Pat shined shoes in Times Square. *In 1943 he graduated first in his class at Benjamin Franklin High School in East Harlem. . . .

Senator Kennedy, the legislative lion, once described him in 1993 as an exemplar "of what the Founding Fathers thought the Senate would be about," because of the New Yorker's breadth of interests, "having read history, and thought about it, and being opinionated."

August 5th, 2003, 08:07 AM
Quote: from tugrul on 4:48 pm on Mar. 22, 2003
You mean links like these?


Penn Station was completed in 1910, Farley in 1913.

The Demolition of Penn Station (http://www.architectureweek.com/2003/0730/building_1-1.html)

October 13th, 2003, 12:50 AM
October 13, 2003

Neither Snow Nor Rain, but G.O.P.


Service continues around the clock in the lobby of the Farley Post Office, a New York fixture since 1914.

It has taken more than a decade, but the United States Postal Service and the General Post Office in New York City are finally about to part company.

In fact, seemingly overnight, most of the building is already empty.

That is because the president is coming to town.

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan worked for years to transform the grand old building at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street into a train station, but even after securing federal, state and city cooperation, no one could pin down the Postal Service on an exit date, said Kevin Sheekey, Mr. Moynihan's former chief of staff.

Then the Republican National Committee chose New York City for its national convention. Mr. Sheekey, who went on to work for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and now coordinates convention preparations for City Hall, saw a dual opportunity in the post office building: Use it as a media center for the 15,000 journalists who will cover the convention, and use the convention as a wedge to get the post office out.

"It was my last conversation with Senator Moynihan," Mr. Sheekey said. "He knew it would be the beachhead to get the post office out and the station built. In his words, `We'd no longer have to enter the city like rats. We can enter like kings.' " (Senator Moynihan, who was a Democrat, did not think much of Pennsylvania Station.)

And so after the post office leaves, the news media will move in. And sometime after the convention ends, in early September 2004 and once the Empire State Development Corporation actually owns the building, construction on the train station is expected to begin, a state official said. Negotiations between the state and the postal service are continuing.

On Dec. 16, representatives from the news media will be given their first tour of what will be transformed next August into a mammoth multimedia city. Ultimately it will be a complex with a talk show row, Internet alley, network studio sets, phone lines, cables, satellite communications and a bridge across Eighth Avenue, linking the building with Madison Square Garden. (The bridge will cost about $1 million and will stand for just three months.)

It is a switch for a building, renamed in 1982 after Postmaster General James A. Farley, that has never once shut its doors since it opened in 1914, a postal official said. It is the only retail postal operation in New York that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the place last-minute tax filers can always count on to get their papers in. The place where 71 years ago postal workers started Operation Santa by raising money to provide gifts for children who sent their requests to the North Pole.

The building, which stretches across two city blocks, with a grand sweep of granite stairs rising to a Corinthian colonnade, will forever be linked to postal lore because of the engraving that runs above its 280-foot frieze: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." The quotation, inspired by Herodotus, was selected by the building's architect, William Mitchell Kendall, and over time became the postal service's unofficial motto.

With such close ties to the building, some postal employees become a touch defensive, insisting that they are not really leaving, just scaling back. They will, for example, maintain some mail services there, like the retail windows, which will remain open around the clock, a postal official said. At the moment, carriers continue to pick up mail there as well. Nevertheless, most of the 1.56 million square feet once occupied by the post office will be vacated. Much of the work, like the sorting of mail, has already been parceled out to other postal centers, said Anthony Musso, a spokesman for the postal service.

"I have 31 years in the postal service, born and raised in New York, started my career at Kennedy Airport, and to me, this was always the post office," Mr. Musso said as he walked around the ornate lobby on Eighth Avenue. "I never thought of headquarters in Washington."

When the building opened on Labor Day, 1914, it was hailed for its architectural splendor, its unparalleled work space and the mahogany offices afforded to the postmaster and his staff. "Its walls are of handsome Botticino marble, decorated with ornamental ironwork," read an article that appeared on Sept. 6, 1914, in The New York Times.

The building was a marvel at the time. Besides its huge size (even before an addition was built in 1935), it was linked to a system of pneumatic tubes that blasted mail beneath New York City's streets. The tubes, with enough pressure to send a container carrying up to 700 letters nearly 30 miles an hour, ran in a loop around much of Manhattan, with an extension into Brooklyn.

But as manual work gave way to mechanized work, and then to automation, the need for such a huge space in the middle of Manhattan faded. So, apparently, did the state of the building. The front is gleaming today, with 70 retail windows running its length, restored Works Progress Administration-era murals, shiny brass tables and fabulous coats of arms on the ceiling.

But in the bathrooms, for example, there are signs that warn against drinking the water. The pipes are that bad. The artifacts of postal past were barely preserved. The pneumatic tubes were walled off years ago. Roll-top desks were discarded. No one seems to know where the old pneumatic canisters are. A postal inspector has spent the last five or six years trying to track one down on his own time for posterity. When one retired postal worker, Paul Konigsberg, 62, and others decided to create a postal museum, they could not forage in the storage room, because there really was none.

They turned to eBay.

Today there is a small room, off the lobby, with a few glass showcases and a sign propped up on two cabinets that says "Museum of Postal Service." Everything inside was purchased online, Mr. Konigsberg said. He raised the money by selling old postal badges that were turned into money clips.

Asked if he had anything in the display that was actually from the building, Mr. Konigsberg put his hand to his head, swooned a bit and said, "Oh, boy." Meaning the answer was no.

Upstairs, Mr. Konigsberg has set up an office in what looks like an old storeroom. Old dusty mail carts, like industrial laundry baskets, are piled high with tools of the trade, including scales, pins, badges and framed pictures. A poster on the wall bears a faded black-and-white picture of employees in the building who once formed a marching band. It offered for sale sheet music to "The Letter Carrier Song" and "The Letter Carrier Waltz." There is a bowling trophy from 1954-55 for players in the National Association Postal Supervisors league. There is even a little scrapbook someone started keeping on Dec. 1, 1874. One of the first clippings is an obituary headlined "The Eventful Life of the Oldest Employee in the Post Office."

Ask Mr. Konigsberg about his memories of the building, and he immediately talks about the swing room. The name is a little misleading. It was where postal workers used to wait between shifts. "There weren't enough chairs," he said. "There weren't any tables. There were bodies falling all over each other. The only food was in machines if you were crazy enough to buy it."

Ah, the good old days.

"Conditions may have been horrible, but we enjoyed working together," he said. "It was a happy family. It's not the same today."

Everything does seem to be changing at the Farley building. In the era after anthrax and Sept. 11, it is nearly impossible to tour the fortresslike structure. There are huge empty spaces upstairs and downstairs, but no one is allowed in without authorization, officials said.

There is also the matter of the Republicans. The building's namesake, Mr. Farley, was a die-hard Democrat. He was a key political figure in the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, served as chairman of the New York State Democratic Party for 14 years and attended every Democratic convention from 1924 until his death in 1976.

"I am sure he wouldn't be happy about the Republicans' coming," said Mr. Farley's grandson, James A. Farley 3rd. "He wouldn't be happy about the Republicans doing much of anything. But what are you going to do?"

The front of the building, on Eighth Avenue.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

October 25th, 2003, 09:13 PM
October 26, 2003


The Death and Life of Preservation


The facade of the exuberantly oversized Penn Station had 84 granite columns.

Forty years ago on Tuesday, jackhammers began demolishing New York's original Pennsylvania Station, an exuberantly oversized 1910 railroad station that swept travelers and commuters along through a series of ever more spectacular public spaces.

A facade lined by 84 massive pink granite columns led those in taxis into a carriageway derived from the Brandenburg Gate, while those on foot traversed a long, coolly elegant, light-drenched Italian-style shopping arcade. Then came a waiting room a block and a half long and 15 stories high that was modeled on, but larger than, an imperial Roman bathhouse.

These details, vividly described in Lorraine B. Diehl's book "The Late, Great Pennsylvania Station'' (Houghton Mifflin, 1985), were just the warm-ups, the canapés for the great concourse behind, a room whose complex, extravagantly curved and sinuously arching steel-and-glass-greenhouse roof high overhead brought bright daylight down to platforms and tracks deep in the Manhattan bedrock 45 feet below street level.

Even now, 40 years after its disappearance, people can still remember the multilayered effect this room had, the glimpses of destinations no trains could reach. Hurrying about on everyday business, people could at the same time feel singled out. Entering the concourse was somehow like boarding a see-through dirigible that was about to float away, or like a stroll across a forest floor beneath gigantic transparent orchids.

And all this just to get on a train! No wonder two generations of New Yorkers took this station to their hearts and felt betrayed by its loss.

At the time there was nothing to be done to stop the destruction; the city didn't yet have a Landmarks Preservation Commission. Traditionally, New York had defined itself as the House That Ruthlessness Built, and for more than 300 years the conveniently prevailing assumption had been that whatever got torn down was only making way for something better. No one, after all, had protested in 1903 when 500 buildings had been razed so that Penn Station could go up.

This week, a new organization called the New York Preservation Archive Project has reassembled and is honoring the small band of then-young architects, writers and concerned citizens who rose up in the early 60's to object, strenuously and eloquently, to the demolition of the great Prussian-Italian-Roman-Jules Vernian train station. It's generally acknowledged that their efforts, together with the quieter, longstanding work of neighborhood groups in Greenwich Village and Brooklyn Heights, helped secure the creation of the city's Landmarks Commission in 1965.

Thirteen years later, in 1978, the legality of landmarking was ringingly upheld when the United States Supreme Court ruled that the commission had acted properly in 1969 by forbidding the destruction of New York's other superlative train station, Grand Central Terminal.

Today the Landmarks Preservation Commission has officially protected 1,100 individual landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Central Park and, more recently, Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn.

It has also set up 81 historic districts in all five boroughs, including Cobble Hill in Brooklyn; Jackson Heights, Queens; and, in Manhattan, SoHo, the Upper East Side and, recently, the Gansevoort Meat Market. And there is more to celebrate. Anthony C. Wood, founder and chairman of the Preservation Archive Project, said that when landmarking became official, so did hope.

"It's not routine or easy," Mr. Wood said. "You still have to fight madly, but now it's not inevitable that some beloved building is programmed to be lost."

Thanks to the Penn Station protestors and other preservation pioneers throughout the city, the way change comes to New York has been transformed. Most of New York's buildings are still destined to be short-lived, at the mercy of whims and impatience and sudden changes in investment strategies. We all indelibly learned in September 2001 that hatred can change the skyline in an hour.

But within the blur of constant change we've been able to set up a pattern of permanency, and are now anchored by the places we can count on. Which means that when we look along Lexington Avenue, for instance, and admire the way the early morning sun turns the silvery Chrysler Building spire to gold, we can also look ahead to mornings long after our own time when others will be moved by the same sight.

All this has happened because around the time that the old Penn Station was being torn apart, something was evolving within New Yorkers. People had begun to love the city for what it already made available rather than for what it might eventually become. In that moment, New Yorkers found a new bedrock inside themselves, and that's not likely to change.

Tony Hiss's works include "The Experience of Place'' and, with Rogers E. M. Whitaker, "All Aboard With E. M. Frimbo.'' His next book, "From Place to Place,'' to be published by Knopf, is about exploring the travel experience.

Voices From the Wilderness Unite


To mark the 40th anniversary of the day the first wrecking ball struck Penn Station, the New York Preservation Archive Project, a nonprofit group, has been trying to contact everyone involved in efforts to save the station. The group has identified 300 people who marched, wrote letters, signed newspaper ads or spoke at hearings. Anthony C. Wood, the group's director, believes that at least 65 of them have died, but his group hopes to contact 100 others, and at least 20 will be honored Tuesday at an event at the Century Association. The group plans to take oral histories from them at that time. Here are recollections of three original protesters.

Robert Venturi

The architect Robert Venturi, the 1991 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, loved the old Pennsylvania Station. When he was 5 or 6, his father used to take him to a spot overlooking the famous hall based on the Roman Baths of Caracalla. "That was it, my whammo introduction to the great Penn Station," he said.

Mr. Venturi, now 78, calls the building, "one of the great interior spaces in the history of the continent." He was part of the small group that picketed outside Penn Station on Aug. 2, 1962, and he spoke at a City Planning Commission hearing on the station's fate in January 1963.

Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs's landmark book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," had been out for a year when she joined some 200 protesters on the steps of Pennsylvania Station that August day in 1962. The book's central theme of preserving what makes a city unique, including one-of-a-kind places like Penn Station, had caught on with many readers, she said, "but it hadn't yet caught on with planners and city officials."

"There was no exhilaration to this kind of thing," Ms. Jacobs, 87, said of the protest. "It was more like a wake. The city was making everyone's life absurd with its goofy decisions."

Laurel Lovrek

In 1962, when Laurel Lovrek of Cleveland was a freshman at Cooper Union School of Architecture, an early assignment was to go to Pennsylvania Station with her fellow students and draw what she saw. "In the brief time I was in the building, I really fell in love with it," said Ms. Lovrek, an architect who lives in Princeton, N.J. "It was the way trains used to be in those old black-and-white movies."

She joined the picketers because a professor had told her to go. "I felt pretty good about what I was doing,'' she said, "but I remember we were ignored by the general traffic on the streets of the city that day."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

October 28th, 2003, 03:53 AM
October 28, 2003

40 Years After Wreckage, Bits of Old Penn Station


Workmen haul down the two-ton stone eagle from the facade of Pennsylvania Station October 28, 1963.

An early postcard shows the concourse of the old Pennsylvania Station.

Forty years ago today at 9 a.m., in a light rain, jackhammers began tearing at the granite walls of the soon-to-be-demolished Pennsylvania Station, an event that the editorial page of The New York Times termed a "monumental act of vandalism" that was "the shame of New York."

This grim anniversary falls in Halloween week, when spirits of the departed seem so notoriously restive, and those searching for the insistent phantoms of Penn Station can find them deep in the bustling, claustrophobic warren that has been carved out of the old terminal's subterranean remains. Ghost hunters need only know where to look.

Consider, for example, the eroded splotch in the new imitation tile floor down a corridor off the station's busy rotunda.

Peeking through, and clearly visible, are exposed blocks of surviving pink Milford granite, adjacent to a section of the original tan herringbone-patterned bricks that once supplied the paving for Penn Station's southern carriage drive. Horse-drawn buggies — not to mention Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and five decades of passengers — traversed bricks identical to these as they rushed to waiting trains.

"It's as if the old station just keeps insisting on coming out," said John Turkeli, a railroad historian and urban archaeologist who leads a free monthly public tour of both the Penn Station that is and the spectral Penn Station that was.

It is true that the wrecking ball knocked down nine acres of travertine and granite. But thousands of distracted visitors to the current terminal have no idea that they are surrounded by dozens of minor treasures from the vanished masterpiece by McKim, Mead & White.

If some Penn Station revivalists see only the tragic loss of architectural grandeur in such fragmentary and accidental survivals, Mr. Turkeli, 43, sees them as evidence of the indomitable spirit of the transportation hub, which opened to the public in 1910. "It just will not be forgotten," he insisted. Daniel A. Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership, said he started the architectural tours a decade ago "to increase people's awareness, so that more great things won't be destroyed." The partnership sponsors the tours under the umbrella of the Business Improvement District, which runs along 34th Street from 10th Avenue to Park Avenue South.

"When you see these vestiges of this famous place, you feel even more regret," he said.

Some of the remains were identified by Lorraine B. Diehl, who used to lead the tours, and others were discovered by Mr. Turkeli. Those who wish to join Mr. Turkeli's 90-minute tours should gather at 12:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of every month at the tourist information booth in the station's rotunda; information is available at (917) 438-5123. But since the next tour will not be until Nov. 24, ghost seekers can, on their own, find many of the surviving artifacts by investing a bit of time and shoe leather. (However, visitors must wait for the tour to see a few inaccessible relics in restricted areas protected by station police.)

A visit to Penn Station — which gave way to the Penn Plaza complex and Madison Square Garden — might begin outdoors at the statue of Samuel Rea, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad from 1913 to 1925, in front of 2 Penn Plaza at Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street. The statue, by Adolph A. Weinman, once stood in a niche to the right of the staircase leading down into the main waiting room.

Next, head south on Seventh Avenue toward 31st Street, and make obeisance to one of the original 5,700-pound Tennessee-marble stone eagles that once perched on ledges above the station's grand entrances. This eagle is in captivity now, fenced in, visited daily by a family of squatter pigeons. Could they be distant descendants of the flock that once decorated Penn Station's exterior and flapped under its vaulted roof?

On 31st Street, head west to the middle of the block, and pause to look south, across the street, at the monumental surviving edifice of the coal-fired Penn Station power plant, now used for storage and backup power systems.

Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, head north under the canopy along the footpath of the driveway (now barred to vehicles for security reasons). Make a left into the terminal building, then pause atop the escalators. This is the location of the original grand staircase into the main waiting room; the Rea statue was once enshrined at the right.

Look down at the rotunda below, site of the old main waiting room. It was patterned after the Baths of Caracalla in Rome and once soared 15 stories to a vaulted ceiling. The big room, Mr. Turkeli noted, "then as now, never had a bench in it."

"It has never really been," he said, "a place to wait."

After descending on the escalator, head left to a corridor marked "For Passenger Concourse Use Only," adjacent to the Grove Snack Shop. If it is between 6 and 10 a.m., or 4 and 8 p.m., it is permissible to stroll halfway down the corridor to view the eroded section of the previously mentioned floor tiles and see the remains of the building's signature granite and its herringbone bricks.

Another section of these bricks has struggled out from under the asphalt on the opposite side of the rotunda. Without entering the off-limits corridor marked "Employees Only," visitors can stand at the portal and observe, back near the elevator, a swath of the remnant of the station's northern carriage drive.

Back at the center of the rotunda, the futuristic waiting room for Acela and Metroliner trains occupies the former men's and women's waiting rooms. At the site of the current departure board, with its tiny digital clock, once stood a windowed arch beneath a large ticking station clock.

Walk left, skirting the curve of the glass-enclosed waiting room, and head straight back to the far wall, at the West Gate of Tracks 5 and 6. There, heading down to the train level, is a remaining original staircase of brass and wrought iron (all the others have been replaced by escalators).

Walking left to the baggage-claim signs, visitors will see a 1948 bronze plaque that had been affixed to the original station walls, honoring baggage-department employees who died in World War II, from Joe R. Adams to Frederick W. Zahodnick.

Behind the wall, in the baggage area restricted to the public (but visible on Mr. Turkeli's tour), are four poignant artifacts of the Penn Station past. Upon the floor survives a section of the original glass bricks that brought natural light from the station's skylight down to the passageways and train level.

Nearby, on the original wall of ceramic tile, a fading painted directional sign to the East Gates is still visible. The "E" and "G" have surrendered to time, leaving the Scrabblish message "AST ATES."

Next to a wall is what is believed to be the last surviving elevator cage, with its dusty grill. And nearly obscured behind an Everest of heating ducts is the surviving cast-iron train indicator for Track 1.

Outside the baggage area, in the public corridor paralleling the modern row of Amtrak ticket windows, an impromptu gallery of historic photographs has been affixed to the pillars. Depicted are the original waiting room, a station facade and 1910 pictures of the vaulting, 10-story-high main concourse, with staircases plunging to the train level, like the one at Tracks 5 and 6.

"There's a lot of interest in these photos," said Michael J. Gallagher, the assistant superintendent of station operations, as he stood near one at the pillars. "People study them, and they constantly ask us why the station looks like it does now."

So, what is his habitual answer? He sighed, "What can I tell you?"

Those interested in a longer visit should head down the stairs past the train announcer's booth into the Long Island Rail Road station. To the right, after the long corridor toward Seventh Avenue, the sleek new ticket windows (under the destination boards) are just about where the old ones were in the original station.

Also from the original station, a 30-foot-wide, Tuscan red, cast-iron partition, with beveled-glass windows, stands guard at the portal for the ticketed waiting area, adjacent to the gray police booth under the American flag.

After leaving Penn Station, visitors should also seek out the street-level entrance to the Long Island Rail Road terminal on 34th Street near Seventh Avenue. There, they can find a working four-sided clock, suspended on cables and believed by Mr. Turkeli to have been in the original Long Island terminal.

Those who have completed the tour, and have been saddened by an architectural loss of such immensity, might appreciate a bit of cheering up. In the end, the destruction of what the Municipal Art Society termed "one of the great monuments of classical America" led to the creation of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965.

"And that led to the rescue of Grand Central Station," Mr. Turkeli said, "which could have met the very same fate."

Part of the demolition of the old Pennsyvania Station in March 1964. The station opened to the public in 1910.

The only remaining original staircase is made of brass and wrought iron. All the others have been replaced by escalators.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company


October 28th, 2003, 01:59 PM
The Late, Great Penn Station:

Here's an old column from the archives of the New York Times written by Ada Louis Huxtable, commemorating the 31st anniversary of the demolition. Let me fully cite this first, since it is material you would normally have to pay for:

Huxtable, Ada Louise. “On the Right Track.”
New York Times, 28 November 1994, sec. A, p. 17.

On the Right Track
By Ada Louise Huxtable;
Ada Louise Huxtable is an architectural historian, critic and consultant.
Thirty-one years ago, the shattered marble, travertine and granite columns, caryatids, gods and eagles of Penn Station -- modeled after the monuments of ancient Rome by McKim, Mead and White and built for eternity in 1910 -- were carted off to the Secaucus meadows, giving New Jersey undisputed title to the world's most elegant dump. Of the eagles that crowned the station's walls, a few tokens were reinstalled in front of the new Madison Square Garden, making the contrast between classical and cheesy terminally (pun intended) clear.

Because what goes around comes around, usually so that you want to laugh or cry, there are plans for a new Penn Station. The proposal is part of a program in which all of the facilities for Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad will be coordinated for what is now fashionably called intermodal transportation but looks more like a railroad revival and great train station renaissance.

In addition to vastly improved and expanded services, each rail unit will be given a "presence" -- something Stanford White and his partners knew a thing or two about. And since what goes around comes around in curious ways, the new Penn Station will be created in another classical building by McKim, Mead and White: the James A. Farley Post office, a designated New York City landmark just behind the present station, which has been declared obsolete by the Post Office and semi-surplus property by the Federal Government.

Central to the project is the creation of a large new concourse, reminiscent of the scale of the bulldozed terminal. Because the rail yards continue beneath the Post Office building, the conversion is practical. But it is just as much about lost glory as future needs.

The Post Office is a gargantuan box of die-stamped classicism that occupies the two full blocks between 31st and 33d Streets and Eighth and Ninth Avenues. It was built in two stages: the first, in 1913, extended halfway to Ninth Avenue; an annex, added in 1935, filled out the enormous double block.

The original facade's nonstop 53-foot-high Corinthian columns and anthemion cresting topping a two-block sweep of granite steps was repeated and wrapped around the addition for what must surely be the most redundant colonnade in architectural history. This competent piece of Beaux Arts boiler-plate isn't in the same league as the old Penn Station. But today its acres of space and irreplaceable materials and details are solid gold.

The Post Office will keep the arcade along Eighth Avenue, where 7,000 people a day come through bronze doors under an arched ceiling decorated with the seals of the countries belonging to the postal union. One hopes that the nicely browned WPA murals of the city at the north and south ends will remain.

The plans for the new station, which will incorporate the redesigned present facility, have been under study since the 1980's by an alliance of railroad, postal service, real estate, construction and Government interests, led by Amtrak and the Tishman Urban Development Corporation. The architects are Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, a large firm experienced in the kinds of major undertakings with which such consortiums feel comfortable, working with a consultant on historic architecture, Jan Pokorny.

The cost is budgeted at an optimistic $300 million -- one-third Federal, one-third city and state and one-third to be supplied by Amtrak. Under the enthusiastic sponsorship of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, half of the Federal commitment, $50 million, had been appropriated before the Republican upheaval that will replace the Senator as head of the Finance Committee in January. With Federal funding halfway home and agreements signed by the city and state, the odds still look good.
Behind the "rebirth" of Penn Station is a 25-year story full of the twists of fate and fortune that give economists and futurists a bad name. Who could have predicted the knockout blow that air travel dealt to rail travel in the 50's and 60's? Or foreseen the postmodern crisis in architecture that sensitized architects and the public to the losses of the past? The majestic urban terminals, too expensive to operate and functionally obsolete, were abandoned to decay or demolished as prime sites "ripe for redevelopment" -- the real estate mantra of the times.

The decline of the railroads paralleled the rise of the shopping mall, the growth of the preservation movement and the birth of the "festival marketplace." Recycled railroad stations, once left for dead, became filled with shops and restaurants and a notable preservation success. But this was an odd triumph in which the tail wagged the dog: retailing was the prime use and purpose, and train service was peripheral, if it existed at all.

For years, Washington's Union Station rained debris from its magnificent barrel-vaulted ceiling ringed with heroic statues into a hole in the ground meant for a visitors' center that came to nothing. Train service was relegated to a kind of outhouse in the rear. Today this is one of the country's most successful indoor malls, but the trains are still out back.
Real change came in the 1970's, when Government action to save the railroads brought grants and subsidies for operation and terminal upgrading. As ridership increased, station renovations put the trains up front again. Concourses were no longer treated as real estate opportunities. And while retail has become an important source of revenue, it is now supportive rather than primary. After a spectacular century of highs and lows, the great railroad station is being redefined.
That redefinition recognizes and restores the tradition of public space -- the "waste space" of bureaucrats and bean counters. The early, published proposal for Penn Station's new central concourse as an enormous space frame covering the area of the Post Office's huge, skylit mail-sorting court was more Buck Rogers than McKim, Mead and White; it has gone back to the drawing board.

The future roof will rise as high as cautious preservation agencies permit, but height is essential here. The court's original skylight never soared, in any sense. The Post Office is more like a classical corset for new construction than a creative inspiration. (For that, one should see Rafael Moneo's stunning and sympathetic additions to the superbly restored railroad station in Madrid.)

Meanwhile, at Grand Central a restoration and revitalization plan of exemplary quality by the architects Beyer, Blinder, Belle is forging ahead. New York's other great terminal has survived its own threats, including a traumatic proposal to build a gargantuan tower of aggressive vulgarity on top, the cruelest of jokes on its Beaux Arts splendor. This was fought up to the Supreme Court, winning a substantial victory for the city's landmark designation.

Over the years, grime and neglect obscured the constellations of the 125-foot-high concourse ceiling, light ceased to filter through the immense arched windows and the bulbs of the mammoth chandeliers disappeared and dimmed.

Government money, the return of rail travel and the upgrading of revenue-producing commercial space have contributed to the ongoing and outstanding restoration and improvement of the terminal's technical, structural and architectural elements by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metro North Railroad.

With the east balcony free of Kodak's full-color sabotage, a new stair is planned to match the existing stair to the Vanderbilt Avenue balcony on the west, for access to restaurants in the underused balconies and mezzanine. The addition is in the spirit and letter of Warren and Wetmore's brilliant 1903 to 1913 classical design. But only a faithful replica of the present stair will do.

To sit at the one small restaurant on the west balcony is to long for more. Rising into those vast heights is the buzz of all the voices of travelers and transients mingling in the upper air. Shafts of sunlight pierce long shadows, spotlighting the moving figures on the floor. The soft, susurring sound transforms activity and motion into a shared experience; it contains the timeless promise of the city's, and the world's, pleasures and adventures. This is the essence of urbanity.

Copyright 1994 The New York Times Company

Reading this article reminds me that this redevelopment project has now languished for an amount of time longer than it took to build the original station. Planning was begun in 1902, tunneling in 1904, work on the station building in 1906, and the whole thing opened in the autumn of 1910.

October 28th, 2003, 02:08 PM
The only remaining original staircase is made of brass and wrought iron. All the others have been replaced by escalators.

A small point, but anyone who uses the station regularly knows that there are plenty of the old staircases left. Sloppy work on the part of whoever wrote that caption.

TLOZ Link5
October 28th, 2003, 04:35 PM
Karma is a bitch, also. A few years after the demolition of the old Penn Station, Penn Central Railroad went spectacularly bankrupt. A fitting end.

November 13th, 2003, 07:21 PM
The only remaining original staircase is made of brass and wrought iron. All the others have been replaced by escalators.

I always thought that those railing were faux "historical" pieces put in when that concourse was renovated but I was wrong.
Also, before they redid the floor you could see the original marble and glass block flooring through the 60's terrazo

March 12th, 2004, 04:55 AM
Originally posted by TLOZ Link5.

New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

New Penn Sta. needs to get on faster track

Thursday, March 11th, 2004

And the first shall be last.

No, that's not a quote from "The Passion." Or maybe it is. I don't speak Aramaic. But here, it's intended to be a description of what's happening on Manhattan's West Side.

The late great Sen. Daniel Moynihan was the first public figure to point out that west midtown was not all it could be. Eleven years ago, he envisioned a grand new Penn Station on the site of the Farley Post Office. The idea turned the city's eyes westward to Eighth Ave. And beyond.

Today, just two weeks and a day before the first anniversary of Moynihan's death, the words "West Side development" don't conjure thoughts of a splendiferous Penn Station, but rather a domed stadium for the Olympics and the Jets; a massive expansion of the Javits Convention Center; an extension of the No. 7 train to 11th Ave.; a blocks-long pedestrian mall, and a new business district. While these projects are all well-intended, they are now hogging the spotlight. And Moynihan's original, majestic vision has become as distant as a fading train whistle.

The delay of Penn Station's revival compounds the act of what I call edificide that occurred 40 years ago, when the exquisite 1913 station was demolished to make way for an insipid Madison Square Garden. In the old Penn Station, architectural scholar Vincent Scully said, "one entered the city like a god." In its subterranean replacement, he said, "one scuttles in like a rat."

Moynihan, who called America "the land of the second chance," knew there had to be a way to undo the crime. He realized that if a new Penn Station could be built in the stately stone post office crafted by Stanford White, designer of the original Penn Station, it would be the quintessential urban project - a locus of human interaction, a destination, a center of the great metropolis. "It represents everything that makes cities great," said one former Moynihan aide.

Sadly, the vision has been derailed. The project should have been well into construction by now. Under the initial plan, the station would occupy about 40% of Farley and the post office would continue its operations in the remainder of the building.

In 2001, suddenly all bets were off. The Postal Service declared, despicably, that it had changed its mind and no longer would vacate the space. So the feds and the state forked over $230 million to buy out the Postal Service entirely. But that meant doubling the size of the proposed station. Back to square one. The rosiest estimate now is for the $800 million project to be completed by 2010.

The indignities don't end there. Amtrak, which will be the new station's prime tenant, is reluctant to tender the $50 million it had pledged. "They're using every trick in the book" to break that pledge, according to a senior state official. Ironic, because Amtrak is sure to make millions from extra ridership once the station opens.

Meanwhile, the No. 7 train extension, which was originally planned to pass through Penn Station, now will bypass it, going across 42nd and down 11th Ave. to the new Olympic/Jets stadium. That is public planning folly.

This is not the way to commemorate the memory of New York's greatest legislator of the last half century. Moynihan, after whom the new station will be named, used to rail against how long it took to get things done.

"It's what my father used to call 'civic entropy,'" said Moynihan's daughter, Maura, who now heads a committee to make sure the station is built. But she remains resolute: "I'm going to fight like a dog until I get to ride a train out of Moynihan station. Count on it."

March 12th, 2004, 01:16 PM
I'll be overjoyed when this idiotic project dies. Spend that money on new rail tunnels, which are what Penn Station really needs. Build a grand station house over it when you really have the resolve and the resources to do it right, and in the correct location -- where MSG currently stands.

And, for God's sake, please stop calling it Penn Station's "revival!"

March 12th, 2004, 01:32 PM
The sad thing is that very minimal amounts of money need to be spent to fix the capacity problems at Penn. All that needs to be done is for the unions to agree that NJ Transit and LIRR trains can run through Penn rather than have to turn around there.

March 12th, 2004, 01:42 PM
Can someone list a web page where I can view a video render of the “New Penn Station” designed by SOM?

March 12th, 2004, 02:26 PM
dbhstockton, the "idiotic project" will not die, as it is already 100% funded. The delays are related to redesign, since the entire building will now be added to Penn Station, rather than just half, as originally proposed.

Regarding a second NJ tunnel, NJ Transit plans to break ground on the project in a few years. The agency is currently studying exact alignments and platform arrangements. The plan is to build an entirely new platform level and concourse underneath existing Penn Station platforms.

The two projects have completely different funding streams. Spending money on one project does not impact the other, as the agencies are completely different. The Moynihan Station is a NY project, the new tunnel/concourse/platform project is primarily funded by NJ.

March 13th, 2004, 02:04 AM
Making a grand Penn Station, as it is now a rat-hole, is not idiotic. NYC is grand and it's transportation depots should be the same.

March 13th, 2004, 05:41 AM

March 13th, 2004, 11:12 AM
Making a grand Penn Station, as it is now a rat-hole, is not idiotic. NYC is grand and it's transportation depots should be the same.

I agree. In Europe, train travel is far more pleasant, and thus people use their cars much less. Anything we can do here to keep people from getting into their cars to come to Manhattan would be a plus. Great new train stations on the West Side and Downtown are two ways to do that.

TLOZ Link5
March 13th, 2004, 06:29 PM
None of this would have to be discussed now if the old Penn Station had not been demolished. Screw Madison Square Garden, and for that matter WorldWide Plaza (built on the site of the second MSG). I would have gone without them.

March 13th, 2004, 07:05 PM
The Foley Post Office Building is set to play a major role as a media site for the Republican Convention in Agust/September. I'd think any work on the new project would have to be scheduled for after that.

March 15th, 2004, 02:23 PM
Making a grand Penn Station, as it is now a rat-hole, is not idiotic. NYC is grand and it's transportation depots should be the same.

I agree. In Europe, train travel is far more pleasant, and thus people use their cars much less. Anything we can do here to keep people from getting into their cars to come to Manhattan would be a plus. Great new train stations on the West Side and Downtown are two ways to do that.
In Europe, gasoline is also two-to-three times more expensive than in the US, so it's less economical for them to drive their cars. Here's to gasoline taxes! :wink:

May 27th, 2004, 09:57 PM
May 28, 2004

Amtrak Is Slow to Embrace New Station


After years of delays, plans for a grand, new Pennsylvania Station built within the city's main post office building are being muddied by demands from Amtrak, the intended tenant, that it be allowed to use the space without paying any rent.

Amtrak was supposed to anchor the soaring, glass-enclosed complex in the landmark James A. Farley post office building between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and 31st and 33rd Streets in Manhattan. But over the last few months, Amtrak has been weighing whether it should even continue to take part in the project, given its financial problems, said Clifford Black, a spokesman for the railroad. The railroad had said previously that it would not pay anything for the renovation of the station. And now Amtrak notes that it already has a sweet rent deal.

"We own Pennsylvania Station, and we pay no rent," Mr. Black said of the current station below Madison Square Garden. "We wouldn't want to incur new rent."

In another potential complication, if Amtrak does move ahead with the project, it will move only part of its operation across the street into the new station, Mr. Black said. Until now, the plan was for Amtrak to move its main ticketing and waiting areas to the Farley building and keep only a small presence in the current Penn Station, said Mark Yachmetz, associate administrator for railroad development for the Federal Railroad Administration, which has been active in the planning of the new station. But, citing concerns about inadequate access to platforms under the Farley building and passenger preferences for easier access to the commuter railroads to New Jersey and Long Island, Mr. Black said that at this point, Amtrak would probably split its ticketing windows and waiting areas evenly between the current Penn Station and the new one.

This would not thrill the boutique stores and restaurants that were supposed to take space in the rest of the building, since they would be drawing customers from Amtrak trains and those passing through to and from Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit trains.

The new station, if built, would be named after Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the project's biggest advocates, who died last year.

Empire State Development Corporation officials, who are overseeing the project through its subsidiary, the Moynihan Station Development Corporation, accused Amtrak of wanting to renege on a 1999 memorandum of understanding on the project, essentially a promise that it would contribute to the costs.

"We're disappointed that Amtrak isn't meeting the commitments they made in the 1999 M.O.U.," said Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the development corporation. "We want to be flexible and work with Amtrak. We know the Northeast corridor is one of the strongest sectors in their system. We feel it would be in their interest to participate in the development of Moynihan Station as an important gateway to New York."

According to Mr. Gargano, Amtrak had committed to paying about $3.9 million a year for the space. He also suggested that Amtrak could lease its current space below Madison Square Garden for more money than that.

Mr. Black denied that Amtrak had reneged on anything. The agreement was contingent on a lease being completed in 1999, he said, making it moot at this point. He also said that agreement said nothing about a specific rent amount.

Development corporation officials are now exploring whether New Jersey Transit - which has seen its number of riders climb in recent years and its space in Penn Station grow more crowded - might be able to use the space, although no deal has been struck yet, Mr. Gargano said.

Until recently, little thought had been given to New Jersey Transit's access to the new station, said George D. Warrington, New Jersey Transit's executive director. It recently spent $200 million to upgrade its current space in Penn Station, and for many of its customers, access to jobs on the East Side make its current situation closer to Seventh Avenue more convenient.

Mr. Warrington said he has asked his staff to begin exploring options for how the commuter railroad might use the new station. Right now, its tracks on the southern side of Penn Station do not even run under the Farley building. But the railroad is planning to at least extend its platforms under Farley, in conjunction with its ambitions to dig a new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River, he said.

As for Long Island Rail Road, which sends the most passengers into the current Penn Station of the three railroads that use it, officials there said they have no interest in taking Amtrak's place in the Farley building. The Long Island also recently spent money to improve its space in the current Penn Station and build its own entrance. More important, the way its tracks, on the northern side of the station, are set up, Long Island passengers would have to take a circuitous route to get in and out of Farley.

Some theorize that Amtrak may simply be bluffing to get a better rent deal and that the agreement is not in any danger after all.

This is the latest twist in the new station's saga. Ideas for the project began in 1993, but completion dates have come and gone. After Sept. 11, 2001, the Postal Service threatened the project when it decided that it needed to stay in the Farley building because one of its main centers in Lower Manhattan was severely damaged in the terrorist attack. In October 2002, however, the state intervened, and the post office agreed to sell the Farley building and vacate most of it.

Despite the current questions, the development corporation has been pushing forward with plans to redesign the project. It will seek bids from potential developers in September and award the project by the end of the year, Mr. Gargano said. The cost, now estimated at $1 billion, has been inching upward, especially after the project grew when the post office agreed to give up most of the building. Most of the money for construction has already been set aside from federal and state sources.

The project had been applauded by preservationists, who see it as a chance to right a wrong. The Farley building, with its imposing row of Corinthian columns, was designed by McKim, Mead & White, the same firm that did the original Pennsylvania Station across Eighth Avenue, destroyed 40 years ago and arguably the city's greatest lost landmark.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 27th, 2004, 11:57 PM
"We own Pennsylvania Station, and we pay no rent," Mr. Black said of the current station below Madison Square Garden. "We wouldn't want to incur new rent."

No wonder this project is delay... :x Stop acting like children and grow up already! They need to make the new move to show travelers how important their commitment to NYC is and that they don't have to be beg to move.

May 28th, 2004, 12:50 AM
Despite the current questions, the development corporation has been pushing forward with plans to redesign the project. It will seek bids from potential developers in September and award the project by the end of the year, Mr. Gargano said. The cost, now estimated at $1 billion, has been inching upward, especially after the project grew when the post office agreed to give up most of the building. Most of the money for construction has already been set aside from federal and state sources.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Does that mean b/c of this issue, or are they designing what we all thought were the plans for the new station?

May 28th, 2004, 07:37 AM

May 28th, 2004, 11:11 AM
Amtrak is in a rough spot because Congress is not funding them properly, I don't blame them for not wanting to pay rent when they don't have to. The money could be better spent fixing equipment and tracks, that said I think a deal could be worked out somehow.

Amtrak should move everything to Farley, and possibly leave some Ticket Vending machines in the current Penn Station complex. Im not 100% sure but I believe that the plan calls for an under ground connection from the Farley building to the Penn Station complex, if it's not part of the deal it should be.

As mentioned in the article Amtrak might be able to lease their current space in Penn Station for equal or more than the proposed $3.9 Million Dollar rent at the Farley Station, Amtrak can lease their Penn Station space to NJ Transit which as mentioned is growing tremendously. Another option which makes sense is to lease the space to Metro North Railroad, when the Long Island Rail road begins sending some of their trains to Grand Central Terminal at the end of the Decade there will be space at Penn Station for some Metro North trains to Access Penn Station.

Metro North can access Penn Station via Amtrak's Hell Gate line from Metro North's New Haven line and they can also access Penn Station via Amtrak's West Side rail line.

Lease the Penn Station space to NJ Transit and Metro North for $4.9 Million and make themselves a $1 Million dollar profit.

May 28th, 2004, 10:31 PM




May 30th, 2004, 11:22 PM
It's a shame that one landmark is going to be altered for this- the Post Office, it's almost as though one landmark is being ruined to attempt to partially and not very effectively "replicate" another that was torn down.

I have just looked at the "new" Penn Station renderings- especially the one of the new "proposed concourse" and "train boarding area" which totally lacks any character;


It's pathetic.

Didn't I read the costs may run $1billion for this project? wouldn't that much money erect a NEW granite building on Madison Sq garden's site looking like the original Penn Station?

May 31st, 2004, 01:40 AM
What's saddest is that it's entirely possible to build a gracious, modern, and daylit Penn Station on its current site -- without even moving MSG (they can put office towers in its place when it moves). All the parties involved would never be able to coordinate the project, though.

If you get a chance, walk around the Penn Station MSG complex at street level and note how much space above ground is scandalously wasted, especially at the now-disused taxiway between the arena and the office tower. It is comparable, perhaps even greater, than the space that the glass "clamshell" thing is crammed into between the two main bulks of the Farley ubilding. And, unlike the Farley, it's located directly over the meat of the station, over the center of all the platforms. Build a nice soaring glass atrium there, and orchestrate the circulation of crowds using the remaining street level space that is currently useless, empty and fenced-off(!) plazas. Gentleman, with talented architects, engineers and bureaucrats, it is absolutely feasible. But its never going to happen.

May 31st, 2004, 11:03 AM
I never had the pleasure of seeing the original Penn Station. But, I just got back from a trip to DC via Amtrak. The difference between Union Station and the current Penn Station is harsh. The Moynihan project needs to move ahead as planned, NY deserves better than the hole in the ground Penn Station is now.

In my opinion, Amtrak doesn't have much choice but to appear as cheap as possible. With constant threats to cut its funding, it would be foolish for them to take on any new expenditures.

June 2nd, 2004, 09:50 AM
June 2, 2004

Fixing Problems in Tunnels, but Keeping Trains Running


Upgrades are needed to tunnels that feed the transit hub.

The tunnels that feed into Pennsylvania Station have long troubled those who have seen them.

A serious train accident under the East or Hudson Rivers could send panicked passengers stampeding up the spiral staircases that rise 10 stories to the surface but are so narrow that rescue workers would not be able to descend at the same time. Passengers trying to walk out might have to edge along narrow, crumbling ledges along the walls. And firefighters rushing to help would be hampered by the absence of a water supply that runs the length of the tunnels.

In the last two years, helped by federal money provided after Washington and New York City Fire Department officials repeatedly raised concerns, Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road, the three railroads that use the tunnels, have begun to make significant improvements. Railroad officials say that they are fixing the most critical problems as fast as possible but that they are limited by the relentless tide of trains that deliver 500,000 people in and out of the station daily.

"You have to do this work," said Dan Stessel, an Amtrak spokesman. "But you can't shut down the nation's busiest terminal to do it."

So certain crucial fixes remain a long way off - some not scheduled to be completed until 2009. This is a worrisome reality when many have singled out commuter trains as likely terror targets.

"When you hear the completion dates, they are a little unnerving," said Gerry Bringmann, vice chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council, which represents riders. But he says he does not believe the railroads can work any faster. The only thing to do is wait it out, he said, and hope for the best.

"They are making progress," he said. "It's just a long way to go."

For years, the work stagnated, primarily because Amtrak, the owner of Penn Station and the 16 miles of tunnels that funnel into it, was having financial problems. But after a series of critical reports by the United States Department of Transportation's inspector general and then the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress earmarked $100 million in emergency money to Amtrak for the upgrades, adding to $100 million already in its capital program. (The Long Island Rail Road had set aside $186 million for the tunnel work but had been waiting for Amtrak to put up its part.)

The work is now proceeding, and federal officials say they are pleased. But a tour of the tunnels produces a mixed picture, showing the work that has been done and the problems that remain.

Entering the tunnels from Queens aboard a slow-moving work train, what is immediately noticeable is how clean they are. Hardly a scrap of garbage or piece of debris can be found on the track bed. Properly maintaining the tunnels has long been the first line of defense against disaster, said James J. Dermody, president of the Long Island.

The tunnels are now well lit by high-pressure sodium lamps, installed two years ago. They used to have a jury-rigged lighting system that worked like strings of old Christmas lights - when one bulb went out, the whole chain went. They were also far too dim to be helpful in an emergency.

"It was lit, but you needed a flashlight everywhere," said Steven J. Alleman, Amtrak's director of fire and life safety.

The light from the lamps casts a pale glow on the crumbling benchwalls. Metal sheets bridge the most serious depressions, but they are clearly in bad shape. Stepladders have been placed throughout the tunnels so passengers can climb down to the gravelly roadbed in an emergency and walk out on a smoother surface. Along the walls are signs, put in recently, that tell people where they are in the 2.5-mile-long tunnel.

The train rolls past metallic emergency communication boxes, illuminated by blue lights. Last year, these phone systems, capable of reaching emergency workers and the Penn Station Control Center, came on line in the four East River tunnels after several years of work.

The system replaced an antiquated system that required users to crank up the phones by hand. But work on the communications system has not yet been finished in the two tunnels under the Hudson.

"The old communication system has nowhere near the reliability you would need in an emergency situation," Mr. Alleman said.

Metal shielding overhead interrupts the smooth arc of the tunnel ceiling. The shield hides construction work going on above the tunnel, Mr. Dermody said. On either side of the East River, in Queens and Manhattan, and on the western side of the Hudson River in New Jersey, workers are digging new ventilation shafts and building new emergency staircases to the surface.

The new staircases will replace the almost-century-old spiral ones that have come to symbolize the dangerous conditions underground. The staircases are the only escape routes from the tunnels other than entrances and exits themselves.

The new ones will be scissor-style, with landings every 15 or 20 feet for people to rest. They will also be wide enough for passengers to ascend and rescue workers to descend at the same time. At the same time, new reversible ventilation systems are being installed next to them that will be able to supply fresh air to the tunnels and suck out heat and smoke. The old blowers could move air in only one direction.

But the staircases and the ventilation plants are among the critical changes that will not be made for some time. The ones on the New Jersey side will not be done until early 2005; Queens will be next in 2007 and Manhattan's exit stairwell and plant will not arrive until 2009.

Officials point out that the staircases are to be used only as a last resort. In an emergency, the first option would be to send a locomotive in to tow the crippled train out of the tunnel; the second option would be to send a rescue train into an adjacent tunnel and have passengers escape through one of the passageways between the tunnels. The passageways, closed since World War II, were reopened recently as part of the improvements.

Also incomplete is the standpipe system that firefighters need to get water into the tunnels to fight fires. Most of the metal piping is in place, but there are gaps that still need to be connected. Previously, the standpipes extended only 200 feet into the tunnels. As a stopgap, a decade ago, 150-pound dry chemical extinguishers were installed every 100 feet, but they would be useless in a major fire. The new system should be ready next year.

Even after all these improvements are finished, more than $500 million in work still needs to be done, including repairing the benchwalls and repairing the tunnels themselves, officials said. Senator John McCain has introduced a rail security bill that would give $570 million to Amtrak to finish the work. Representative Peter T. King has offered a similar bill in the House. "Since Sept. 11, this becomes a homeland security issue," said Mr. King, who toured the tunnels recently. "After Madrid, it's even more so."

But it is unclear whether the bills will pass, officials said. Some in Congress view the money as pork-barrel spending for New York.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

June 2nd, 2004, 10:07 AM

Oh wow. Stories of tunnels nightmares are true. :(

June 4th, 2004, 02:02 PM
A couple of shots of the south facade of the Farley Post Office building.



June 7th, 2004, 01:40 AM
Nice shots! I never seen it from this side. I always seen it from 33rd or 8th and 9th. Since I work on 33rd between 9th and 10th. 8)

June 7th, 2004, 01:41 AM

Published on June 07, 2004

Charles Gargano, chairman and chief executive of the Empire State Development Corp., says that a $50 million gap in funding to redevelop the Farley Post Office will not hold up the project. The money is needed to improve ventilation of Amtrak's platform and tunnels, but the railroad is no longer able to pay because of financial troubles.

ESDC will pursue funding by Congress, Mr. Gargano says, and plans to issue a request for qualifications later this month. ESDC hopes to name a developer for the $750 million Moynihan Station inside the old post office building by January.

In light of Amtrak's financial woes, Mr. Gargano says, ESDC is pursuing New Jersey Transit to become an anchor tenant. Of Amtrak, he says, "They're crying the blues all the time."

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

June 7th, 2004, 01:45 AM
In light of Amtrak's financial woes, Mr. Gargano says, ESDC is pursuing New Jersey Transit to become an anchor tenant. Of Amtrak, he says, "They're crying the blues all the time."

Oh Amtrak stop crying and think about the investment. Find the money somewhere. I am sure this will be a good one for you guys. I promise you that.

June 7th, 2004, 10:03 AM
Vicious cycle:

New station = increased train ridership
Amtrak won't build new station because of insolvency due to lower ridership.

June 7th, 2004, 10:38 AM
ESDC hopes to name a developer for the $750 million Moynihan Station inside the old post office building by January.

At least they are making slow but tentative progress. :|

June 7th, 2004, 02:11 PM
This will be something like the third time a developer will be chosen. Wasn't Staubach selected back in 200?

June 7th, 2004, 04:13 PM
Amtrak won't build new station because of insolvency due to lower ridership.

Actualy Amtrak ridership is at it's highest levels ever since the Corporation's inception in 1972, the problem is no Mass transit or passenger rail operation can operate profitably. Government subsidies are needed, and Congress has been short changing Amtrak.

June 7th, 2004, 04:17 PM
If the government paid for ownership, right of way, maintenance, and upgrades of the rails as they do for streets, highways, and freeways then mass transit and intercity rail could both be profitable.

If they also paid for the control networks etc as they do for the airlines then rail would be even more profitable.

June 7th, 2004, 04:44 PM
The main problem with Amtrak is that, for the most part, it doesn't own its own rail lines. The freight lines do. Amtrak only has certain limited rights-of-way, which (if I am not mistaken) the freight rail companies gave the government back in the 1960s or 70s in exchange for deregulation. As a result, Amtrak cannot upgrade most of its rails to high speed. Where it has been able to do so (Acela in the NE US), the result has been superb. I don't know the solution to this problem, but the experience of 9/11 should have taught us that redundancy in our transportation network is worth a few federal subsidies.

June 14th, 2004, 03:50 PM

June 14th, 2004, 06:54 PM
Nice...this is the part of the building that will remain full service postal...

June 30th, 2004, 10:22 PM
June 30, 2004

Amtrak Won't Derail New Penn Station, Official Says


A state development official says plans to convert the Farley Post Office into the new Penn Station will move forward even if Amtrak decides not to move in.

Charles Gargano, the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, says he's in talks with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the Long Island Rail Road, and New Jersey Transit over moving their operations into the new facility.

Amtrak was supposed to be the main tenant, but the financially-troubled railway says it can't afford to move.

“We have 90 percent of the financing required for this project already in place,” Gargano said. “The project will move forward… We will award to a developer by the end of the year, and we will resolve these issues.”

The new station will be called the Moynihan Station, after the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the project.

Copyright © 2004 NY1 News

June 30th, 2004, 11:14 PM
^Oh well to bad for Amtrak...but the show must go on.

July 12th, 2004, 10:36 AM
State seeks firms for Farley project

July 12, 2004

The Empire State Development Corp. will today issue a request for qualifications for the long-awaited redevelopment of the James A. Farley Post Office.

The ESDC, the governor’s development arm, is looking for companies to build a rail station that would serve as an expansion of Penn Station, as well to finance private development in the 1.4 million-square-foot space.

The deal includes development of 1 million square feet of air rights over the building.

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

July 12th, 2004, 11:37 AM
Quote:The deal includes development of 1 million square feet of air rights over the building

Could this mean possible tower? But it couldnt go on the site, so adjacent to maybe?

July 13th, 2004, 09:20 AM
Could this mean possible tower? But it couldnt go on the site, so adjacent to maybe?

It could. And even though the office market is pretty stagnant, the location above a major transit hub will certainly warrant attention. It’s a good idea to move the project forward, and who here doesn’t like the prospect of yet another skyscraper?

July 13th, 2004, 09:45 AM
http://www.hdrinc.com/AppPost/Img01258.jpg (http://www.hdrinc.com/information/default.asp?PageID=1906&ParentID=2L10)

Penn Station - James A. Farley Building
Development Advisory Services
New York, New York

HDR was selected by the Moynihan Station Development Corporation (MSDC) to lead a team which also includes real estate development specialists, Washington Square Partners, and economic analysis specialists, ERA, through the predevelopment process for the James A. Farley Building (a 1.4 million-square-foot historic building on Manhattan’s West Side). Considered to be one of the most significant redevelopment efforts in the nation, the James A. Farley Building will be reprogrammed to achieve the joint vision of the late United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Governor George Pataki. That vision calls for the creation of a magnificent new rail terminal that will once again provide New Yorkers a grand transportation hub in the spirit of the original Pennsylvania Station (which has since been demolished). The James A. Farley Building was designed as a twin sister to the original Pennsylvania Station and constructed across the street from it in 1914.

When completed, the new intermodal transportation facility and mixed-use commercial center will be home to Amtrak in New York and will bear the name, Moynihan Station. It will be part of the most heavily used transportation center in the world, serving more than 500,000 passengers per day.

HDR will use a series of planning, reprogramming and construction phasing charrettes to build consensus and a commitment from a vast group of constituents to a final development program and implementation schedule.* Essential goals of the effort include drawing people back to the building as soon as possible via a series of likely interim uses as well as short- and long-term redevelopment programs.* In addition to the charrettes, the work plan calls for the creation of an overall development strategy; project positioning; the creation of a Public/Private Partnership structure (P3PM); consulting services for establishing the most effective mix of transportation-related retail, destination retail, specialty retail, office, hotel, entertainment and other commercial uses; advising and assisting in identifying public and private financing for the project and in determining and refining the most advantageous financing structure; preparing the developer RFQ/RFP, evaluation of developer responses, selection of the developer and negotiation of the agreement(s); development of an air rights marketing plan; and support for discussions with Amtrak.

HDR will create a master development/construction phasing schedule that will guide all efforts associated with the redevelopment of the 8-acre site.

*HDR, Inc.** * 800.366.4411

July 17th, 2004, 06:36 PM
The hits just keep on coming...

House Panel Proposes to Slash Amtrak Funding

By John Crawley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee proposed on Thursday to slash subsidies for the Amtrak passenger railroad next year but approved a 3 percent increase in highway spending, to $34.6 billion.

The appropriations subcommittee on transportation and treasury approved $900 million in funding for the nation's only city-to-city passenger railroad, the same amount recommended by the Bush administration for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Amtrak, which received just over $1.2 billion this year, has said the $900 million figure would force a shutdown.

Nevertheless, the decision was not unexpected. The House has consistently taken a harder line with Amtrak than the Senate, which has yet to act on its version of the funding bill.

Amtrak is seeking $1.8 billion in subsidies to help meet operating and capital costs.

The railroad is in the midst of a major overhaul on its flagship Northeast Corridor line, replacing track and damaged cars and making badly needed repairs to bridges and tunnels.

The $34.6 billion for highways is $1 billion above the amount requested by the Bush administration.

The bill that would fund the Transportation and Treasury departments at $90 billion would also provide:

- $14 billion for Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) programs and $7 billion for mass transit.

- $11 billion for Treasury Department (news - web sites) programs and $10.3 billion for the Internal Revenue Service (news - web sites).

IRS tax-collection enforcement would go up by $100 million over this year under the subcommittee plan. But that figure is nearly $300 million below what the Bush administration wants to help fund efforts to track down more than $300 billion in uncollected taxes.

The Republican-controlled panel also approved a proposal on a party-line vote that would effectively prohibit Mexican immigrants from using a popular identification card to open bank accounts and conduct other government business.

Proponents of the measure, introduced by Texas Republican Rep. John Culberson as an amendment to the funding bill, said restricting the Consular Identification Card was necessary to tighten security, especially in border states.

The full House Appropriations Committee will consider the funding measure on July 23.

July 18th, 2004, 12:51 AM
They've proposed doing this time and again...

July 21st, 2004, 12:15 AM

July 20, 2004

The recent action by the Empire State Development Corp. to expedite the James A. Farley Post Office project is another sign that state Republicans want to demonstrate their accomplishments as the Republican National Convention comes to town. The deadline for submissions by private developers that want to oversee the project has been set for Aug. 27, only days before the convention. Insiders say that the project is expected to draw just a handful of bidders because it is so large and complex.

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

July 30th, 2004, 08:30 AM
Bill rescinds money for Penn Station

The Associated Press

July 29, 2004, 4:42 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- A House committee has quietly stripped away $40 million intended to pay for moving Pennsylvania Station's train service into the historic James A. Farley post office building, allotting the money instead to the East Side Access project.

The federal funding, which has sat unused for several years while officials worked to build up a train station in the historic Farley building across Eighth Avenue, was originally obtained by the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Moynihan worked for years to create a huge rail hub inside a more architecturally impressive building than the basement under Madison Square Garden, where Penn Station is now located.

Just before leaving Washington last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved an annual budget that rescinds $40 million set aside by Moynihan in 2000 to pay for moving Amtrak and other rail lines into the Farley building.

The money instead would go to building a rail link connecting the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, a plan usually referred to as East Side Access.

Moynihan's daughter, Maura Moynihan, said she was angry about the planned switch.

"As my father said, this project is a big fat white porpoise in a sea of sharks," she said.

Her father "spent over a decade fighting for this day in and day out, and to see it neglected and squandered means the people of New York are being cheated," she said.

The Moynihan Station project has also encountered resistance from Amtrak, the nation's financially precarious passenger rail service.

Amtrak owns its site at Penn Station, but would be expected to pay millions of dollars a year in rent at the Farley building.

The Empire State Development Corporation insisted Thursday the project is moving forward, having just initiated the bidding process for work at the Farley building, with or without Amtrak's support.

"The Moynihan project is going forward, and it has the support of the (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) and New Jersey Transit," said ESDC spokeswoman Deborah Wetzel.

"We feel it's an important project to New York in terms of jobs and the economy of the region," she said.

It was not clear Thursday who in the House was responsible for redirecting the funds from Penn Station to Grand Central Terminal.

The bill still awaits a full House vote, and conference negotiations between the House and Senate, giving New York officials time to lobby on behalf of the Moynihan project.

A deal for the state to buy the post office and convert it into a transit hub was announced in October 2002. At the time, officials said the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had committed $145 million to buy the building, and that the rest of the money needed for the project would come from state bonds, Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and private sources.

Tony Bullock, a former chief of staff to the senator, said removing even relatively small amounts of money from the project is dangerous.

"Money for this project is a quilt, and if you take away one piece of it, then nothing can happen," Bullock said.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

July 30th, 2004, 09:21 AM
Farley Post Office building
William Mitchell Kendall of McKim, Mead & White










July 30th, 2004, 11:07 AM
$2Billion for JFK link to lower Manhattan, but they can't spare a paltry by comparison $40Million for this project? I think it shows that Amtrak's future has zero political momentum.

July 30th, 2004, 02:21 PM
the jets stadium might not be built, the republicans are coming and now we are having problems with the new station... Maybe there is a curse along 33rd st. :evil:

August 6th, 2004, 01:06 AM
Penn Station picks up steam
Search is on for developer

Empire State Development Corp., headed by Charles Gargano,
is seeking plan for the portion of the Farley Post Office location
that doesn't include railroads or post office.


Empire State Development Corp., headed by Charles Gargano, is seeking plan for the portion of the Farley Post Office location that doesn't include railroads or post office.

After 11 years of plans drawn and redrawn, the rebuilding of the James A. Farley Post Office as a stunning new Penn Station is about to get underway.

The state agency in charge of the project is picking a developer to work out a best use of the 60% of the 1.35 million-square-foot landmark that won't be occupied by railroads or the post office.

It could even become the new home of Madison Square Garden - if the Garden's owners join the bidding process in a timely way.

Though Cablevision and MSG chiefs Charles and James Dolan plan to renovate their existing facility, they've put out feelers about building a new arena at the Farley building, Empire State Development Corp. chairman Charles Gargano told the Daily News editorial board.

"I'm willing to look at anything they have, but I'm not going to delay our project," Gargano said.

Next month, Empire State will issue a request for proposals for its project to rebuild the two-block-long landmark at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street as a railway hub to partly replace Penn Station next door. As a first step, it's issued a call for interested developers to submit their qualifications.

The Dolans are unwilling to acknowledge an interest in the redevelopment project, which was championed by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

"As it has previously announced, Madison Square Garden has started the process of a major renovation to create a state-of-the-art facility - and will do it without taxpayer money," Dolan spokeswoman Mary Pat Clarke said.

Gargano said he's willing to work with the Dolans though they've disappointed him before. About three years ago - before the Jets hatched a West Side stadium plan - Gargano approached Madison Square Garden about building on top of an expanded Jacob Javits Convention Center.

"The fact of the matter is they were very, very interested - and then they pulled out," Gargano said.

At the Farley site, the Dolans face hot competition if they decide to go forward.

Developers that have been invited include Tishman Speyer - which owns Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building - and an unrelated firm, Tishman Urban Development. Vornado Realty Trust, Hines and LCOR have also been invited. So was Boston Properties, whose chairman, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, is also chairman and co-publisher of the Daily News. Staubach - chosen as developer of an earlier version of the project - also was invited.

Each will decide what mix of shops or other uses should occupy the 800,000 square feet available to them.

Though Amtrak committed to the project in 1999, the railroad has indicated that it will not participate, Gargano said. The project will go forward anyway.

"We have 90% of the funds to build this project in place," Gargano said. "If we don't build it, we lose $300 million in federal aid, and we don't have a new station."

The cost of the project is estimated at $1 billion.

Originally published on August 4, 2004

All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.

August 6th, 2004, 10:02 AM
Blah, Blah, Blah - it's seems like the same newsarticle gets recycled every year. It will never happen. The best way to ease overcrowding is to diversify commuter line destination in Manhatan: Grand Central, Penn and Downtown.

September 2nd, 2004, 01:24 AM
September 2, 2004


At Penn Station, a Stalled Revival


The proposed new Penn Station, looking up from a train platform to the arrival and departure areas.

A model of the roof of the grand entry hall at the proposed station.

As Republican notables gather in Madison Square Garden to celebrate the candidacy of President Bush, New Yorkers might point to a pressing concern across the street: how to jump-start the plan to create a stunning new Pennsylvania Station in the neo-Classical shell of the old James A. Farley post office building.

Designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the project, with its soaring glass-enclosed great hall, was originally unveiled in 1999. It has been a pet project of politicians from both sides of the aisle, including Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, for whom the proposed station is named, and Gov. George E. Pataki. Most of the $800 million needed to complete the project's construction has been in place since 2001. And the post office abandoned the space this summer, in part to make room for the news media covering the convention.

Essentially, all that is needed is the approval of Amtrak, a federal decision that would only require a nudge from President Bush.

Yet on Tuesday, when the head of the Moynihan Station Development Corporation and Mr. Childs held a news briefing to draw attention to the project, it was essentially ignored by all the crucial players: Mr. Pataki, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency that oversees development in New York.

Mr. Gargano has also been culling proposals for development of the 800,000-square-foot post office annex that faces Ninth Avenue and is not part of the existing plan. Whatever is decided, Mr. Gargano has said he will not delay construction of the station. But among the ideas being considered is a misguided plan to move the existing Madison Square Garden to the site, which could ultimately mean scrapping the current design and starting from scratch. Meanwhile, Congress recently threatened to reallocate $40 million of the $800 million to a project linking the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal on the east side.

Anxiety is building among some planners that the new Penn Station may never get built - a setback that would be a major blow to the city.

In practical terms, the project is far more important than Santiago Calatrava's $2 billion design for a new transit station at ground zero. Despite its symbolic importance, Mr. Calatrava's station would basically serve as an entry point to the PATH Trains and 14 subway lines. By comparison, Penn Station is already the busiest transportation hub in the country. With half a million passengers passing through each day, it is a psychological as well as literal gateway to the city.

Just as important, Skidmore's expansive design would be a big step toward rectifying one of the greatest architectural tragedies in the city's history: the 1964 demolition of McKim, Mead & White's glorious 1910 Pennsylvania Station, a monument to American democratic values, and its replacement by the dark, claustrophobic present-day station, one of the most dehumanizing public spaces in the city.

The Skidmore, Owings & Merrill proposal acknowledges this historical context without slipping into nostalgia. The Farley Building's main facade, with its grand staircase and row of Corinthian columns, would remain intact and would continue to serve as a post office.

The new station entrance would be on 31st and 33rd Streets midway between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. It would replace the post office's loading docks, which currently join the original McKim, Mead and White post office and its banal 1935 addition. The most stunning feature is a soaring asymmetrical glass roof, whose curved form would funnel light down into a grand entry hall. The enormous glass shell that defines one side of the roof is supported by crisscrossing steel braces; the roof's other side is supported by a more delicate web of cables. Together, they create a wonderful visual tension, as if the entire station were about to be set in motion.

Approached from the east, the roof would be nearly invisible. Only its two ends would project out over 31st and 33rd Streets, marking the station's entry. Once people enter the structure, the roof's curved form would suggest an enveloping arm, gently steering passengers toward the tracks underneath Eighth Avenue.

From here, the project is conceived as a series of decks that cascade down to the platforms below. Passengers would move eastward from the great hall into the former mail sorting room, stepping down to a series of decks that support the main departure and arrival areas. From here, passengers could peer up at the train schedule board. Just below it, an enormous glass floor would open onto views of the passing trains. A series of escalators would pierce this glass surface to connect to the platforms.

Located in the post office's former courtyard, the entire space is enclosed by an enormous glass shed roof. The roof, which was painted over in the 1940's, will be reopened to allow natural light to funnel directly down into the tracks.

The sequence of levels is made possible by a stroke of dumb luck: since Penn Station's existing track platforms already extend underneath Eighth Avenue, the distance the architects needed to travel to connect the new station to the existing platforms was minimal.

Yet the effect is to create a nearly seamless sense of flow between the pedestrian life above and the trains flowing underneath. The cascading platforms create a remarkable architectural rhythm between shadow and light, past and present, the flow of pedestrians and the movement of the trains. It is as if the entire structure were propelling you toward the future.

It is the power of that vision of the modern democratic city, and its potential undoing, that has many in the architectural community wringing their hands. What better time to exploit the project's value as a public relations tool than now?

The present administration has always seemed to look suspiciously at city life. The supposed war between urban and suburban values has become as much a cliché of political life as the division between "blue'' and "red'' states. The resurrection of Penn Station, even in a new form, is something we should all be able to agree on.

Signing off on the project would be a concrete gesture of good will that could not be measured in political platitudes.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

James Kovata
September 2nd, 2004, 11:51 PM
Signing off on this project is the only logical thing to do to at least attempt to restore Penn Station to the grande dame she once was. Politics aside: JUST DO IT!

September 13th, 2004, 11:29 AM
Developers Express Interest in Moynihan Station Project
By Barbara Jarvie Globest.com
Last updated: Saturday, September 11, 2004 11:05pm

NEW YORK CITY-Boston Properties, Jones Lang LaSalle working with Tishman Speyer Properties, LCOR, the Staubach Co., the Related Cos. and Vornado Realty Trust are vying for the right to develop Moynihan Station. The companies each responded to the Request for Qualifications issued by the Empire State Development Corp. by last Friday‘s deadline.
The project involves the expansion of the current James A. Farley Post Office building to link it to the current Penn Station. The $1-billion public/private effort involves 400,000 sf allocated for a new train station, 100,000 sf of retail space, 750,000 sf for private redevelopment and the possibility of up to a million sf of additional air-development rights. The US Postal Service revitalization will account for approximately 250,000 sf.
Calling the project “a gateway to the city,” ESDC chair Charles A. Gargano says the developers’ interest “confirms the need to create a new intermodal transportation facility. This project is the cornerstone for turning the area into a vibrant destination for people to work and shop.”
A Request for Proposals where the developers will detail a mix of uses for the landmark two-block site, will be issued next month. The station is expected to be open by 2008.
In March 2003, state and city officials said the new station would be named in honor of the late US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The senator had long considered the revitalization of the transportation mecca to be a pet project. Funding that had been secured for the endeavor is now in jeopardy.

September 17th, 2004, 12:50 PM
Designs on new Penn Station


On your mark, get set - design!

The state agency in charge of turning the James A. Farley Post Office into a new Penn Station has lined up six contenders for the $1 billion job of project developer.

Their selection signals that after 11 years of false starts, the rebuilding of the 1.4 million-square-foot landmark on Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street is a go.

The bidders "represent the best developers in New York," said Empire State Development Corp. chairman Charles Gargano.

They include Tishman Speyer, owner of the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center, with partner Jones Lang LaSalle; and Vornado Realty Trust, the city's largest office landlord.

Also, there's Boston Properties, whose chairman Mortimer B. Zuckerman also is chairman and co-publisher of the Daily News; Staubach, a firm chosen as developer of an earlier version of the Farley project, and LCOR, which is doing development near the JFK AirTrain station.

Last month, the Daily News first identified these five as possible contenders for the Farley job - which involves coming up with a mix of shops and other uses for the 750,000 square feet of the building that won't be occupied by the train station or the post office. The sixth player is Time Warner Center's developer, the Related Cos.

Empire State expects to select a short list of finalists by year's end and pick a winner in early 2005.

Originally published on September 16, 2004

September 17th, 2004, 01:45 PM
This is great news...Manhattan will have 3 great train stations in the near future.

September 22nd, 2004, 09:20 AM

All Not Aboard! Amtrak Pulling Brake on Penn


by Blair Golson

Senator Hilary Clinton had just spent several hours on Friday, Sept. 17, touring an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York about the life and times of her predecessor, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, when she and a small group of architects and urban planners took an impromptu walk upstairs to discuss, over coffee, the fate of the late Senator’s most frustratingly unfulfilled dream: the transformation of the James A. Farley Post Office into a new Penn Station.

Mrs. Clinton "talked a lot about getting Amtrak involved, to make them see it was in their best interests," said Maura Moynihan, the late Senator’s daughter, who also attended the meeting.

Were Ms. Moynihan’s father alive today, that statement might seem absurd. After all, ever since the 1980’s, when the long-serving Senator first proposed the idea of creating a grand new rail hub across the street from the current Penn Station, the idea was always that Amtrak would become the building’s main tenant.

The building was intended as the grand anchor of northeastern regional rail service—the hub that would shuttle bankers, Congressmen, students and families in and out of the city and carry them through a major retail hub, much as Union Station does in Washington, D.C. It was ludicrous to imagine the project without Amtrak.

Now, however, the national railroad service is in dire financial straits, and the company’s cost-cutting new president, David Gunn, has said he won’t pay the costs associated with the move—neither in renovation expenses nor in annual lease payments for the space.

As a result, the estimated $1 billion renovation project is facing a potentially serious budget shortfall. State development officials have vowed to find the money elsewhere and to proceed undeterred. Assuming they do, the upshot of Amtrak’s intransigence is that if and when the Farley post office reopens as Moynihan Station some five years from now, Amtrak will not have a presence in the building. Instead, the station will most likely be home to New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road. Amtrak’s passengers will have to continue funneling through Penn Station—moving through a space that The New York Times’ new architecture critic called "one of the most dehumanizing public spaces in the city."

So what began as Moynihan’s long-held dream of creating a grand new hub of intercity rail will instead become merely another regional commuter station. The building, which will be called Moynihan Station in honor of the late Senator’s tireless championing of the project, will be the Grand Central Terminal for New Jersey residents and Long Islanders.

"It’s certainly not what Moynihan envisioned," said Kevin Corbett, chief operating officer of the Empire State Development Corporation, whose subsidiary, the Moynihan Station Development Corporation, is heading up the station’s development.

While there have been no final decisions made as to the tenant roster of the new station, The Observer has learned that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is expected to approve at its next board meeting a $10 million grant to New Jersey Transit to study how to begin integrating its existing tracks and infrastructure with the planned Moynihan Station.

What this means is that New Jersey Transit is making concrete plans with the Moynihan Station Development Corporation to become a paying lessee at the new station. Presumably, the LIRR will soon follow suit. What’s significant about these developments is that they will effectively formalize Amtrak’s banishment to the current Penn Station. After all, the Moynihan State Development Corporation has no intention of leaving a large amount of prime space in the building just lying around on the off chance that Amtrak decides to change its mind at some point down the line.

"The station needs to get the maximum amount of revenue out of the space," said Mr. Corbett.

And Amtrak is unlikely to be able to come along later.

"When you structure the kind of deal you do with a prime tenant, you’re probably looking at 100 years with a 100-year option," said Mark Yachmetz, an associate administrator at the Federal Railroad Administration, which is helping to craft the project. "So if they’re occupying the space and Amtrak later changes its mind, then Amtrak is going to have to make its case to New Jersey Transit or the LIRR."

And as one official involved with the project put it, "The terms will probably be a lot less favorable for Amtrak in five years than they are now."

To be fair, Amtrak doesn’t necessarily have an obviously compelling need to expand into new territory. Of the roughly 500,000 people who traffic the current Penn Station every day, Amtrak passengers only account for about 28,000 of them.

The explosive growth in the rail industry that, more than anything else, is propelling this project belongs to New Jersey Transit and, to a lesser extent, the Long Island Rail Road. And given that Amtrak nearly went bankrupt last year, it’s perhaps easy to understand why Mr. Gunn feels that he can’t spare a penny to move Amtrak into more luxurious accommodations—especially since Amtrak already owns its own space at Penn Station.

"We feel it’s not in our best interests to move into a station that would increase costs while we are trying to save every dollar we can, and while we struggle to repair years of deferred maintenance on our existing physical plant," said Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black.

Then again, Mr. Gargano thinks that Mr. Gunn, in his quest to pinch pennies, is being extremely shortsighted.

Mr. Gargano said that Amtrak backed out of a 1999 agreement it made with the state to pay its share of costs for the new station.

"It’s shameful that Amtrak didn’t meet their commitments," he said. "And Amtrak will be the losers, because their riders won’t benefit by being able to use the new station."

Privately, some people involved with the project have expressed misgivings about Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Schumer for not leaning harder on Mr. Gunn to commit some of his agency’s budget to the program.

"People expect New York’s Senators to go to bat for New York in a good old parochial sense," said a project backer, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating either Senator. "Clearly, neither Senator has done that yet."

Bob Yaro, the president of the Regional Plan Association and a longtime backer of the project, disputed the allegation.

"They’ve done everything they can," he said, referring to the two Senators. "They’ve met with [Amtrak’s president] in private on several occasions, but David Gunn—who’s a highly regarded, principled guy—has made it clear that he doesn’t have the resources to put into this."

Neither senator returned calls by press time.

Money—and Terror

Amtrak’s decision to stay put has also created a shortfall in Mr. Gargano’s renovations budget for Penn Station. That issue was the first topic of conversation at Mrs. Clinton’s informal coffee session at the Museum of the City of New York last week. Sitting at the conference table with Mrs. Clinton that afternoon was a group which included Mr. Yaro, Ms. Moynihan, Robert Tierney, the chairman of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, and two architects from Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the firm that designed the conversion of the neo-classical Farley building, which runs between Eighth and Ninth avenues from 31st to 33rd streets.

Mrs. Clinton, wearing a black pants suit, "opened up the discussion by saying, ‘After the Madrid bombings, my real concern is whether or not Penn Station is safe,’" Ms. Moynihan recalled. Mrs. Clinton then answered her own question: "No, it’s not."

Mrs. Clinton was referring to the widely held belief that the ventilation systems at the current Penn Station are aging and ineffective and that, in the case of an explosion or fire on the tracks, thousands could suffocate before the pumps cleared the air.

The ventilation-system upgrade is only one small part of the $1 billion project, but perhaps no aspect of the job demands more immediate attention than this safety upgrade. It seems ironic, then, that this is the only part of the project that has yet to secure funding.

The reason is that state officials want Amtrak, which owns the tracks, to pick up $50 million of the $60 million upgrade tab. But Amtrak, which feels that the costs have nothing to do with Penn Station and everything to do with Moynihan Station, has refused to pay.

"That falls under the category of capital investments into the new [Moynihan] building, and Amtrak maintains that we can’t participate in capital costs for that project," said Mr. Black, the Amtrak spokesman.

Mr. Gargano, the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, said that he’s met with Washington lawmakers many times over the past several months to seek alternate sources of funding for the missing $50 million.

"We’re appealing to our New York delegation in Congress, and the transportation committee and subcommittee, to help us front the ventilation costs," he said. "Obviously they’re out of session now, but we’ll resume as soon as they get back."

Mr. Gargano is confident enough about his abilities to wangle the cash, however, that his agency is moving forward with vetting potential developers for the larger Moynihan Station project. He said that he hopes to award a contract by early January or February.

While most of the Farley building’s neo-classical, Roman-style exterior will be unchanged in the redesign, the most striking new element is a soaring glass parabolic arch that will bisect the mammoth structure on an east-west axis and pour sunlight onto the building’s two main entrances, on 31st and 33rd streets between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. (The building’s traditional main entrance, the imposing stone stairway running the length of Eighth Avenue, will remain for post-office use.)

The saga of the new station’s development has been a long and torturous one, filled with false starts, dashed hopes and shifting allegiances. The original neo-classical Pennsylvania Station, designed in 1910 by McKim, Meade and White, was torn down in 1964 to make way for the current Madison Square Garden, an act that Moynihan later called the "greatest act of vandalism in the history of the city." The razing of the building so shocked New Yorkers that, soon afterwards, they established what would become the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Right across Eighth Avenue from Madison Square Garden stands the Farley building, another neo-classical structure that McKim, Meade and White completed in 1914. Ever since the late 1980’s, according to his daughter, Moynihan dreamed of converting the post office to rail use. It wasn’t until 1993, however, that Amtrak first unveiled a design for the project. For the next decade, a group of true believers led by Moynihan mounted an uphill battle to secure the political will and economic allocations needed to make the project a reality.

In 1999, the late Senator proudly exclaimed: "It’s done. Excelsior!"

Of course, it wasn’t done in 1999. The U.S. Postal Service had agreed to move out of about half of the building, but in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, with one of its downtown facilities badly damaged, the service decided that it might need the Farley space after all. However, by 2002 development officials got the Postal Service to agree to sell the building almost in its entirety to the state, and one of the last remaining major obstacles was finally gone.

But still the project dragged on, and this summer a House committee, sensing terminal inertia, moved to strip the project of $40 million in funding and reallocate the money elsewhere. To this day, it isn’t known who exactly was responsible for that decision, but the action prompted Mr. Gargano, Mr. Corbett, Mr. Yaro of the R.P.A., Peg Breen of the private Landmarks Conservancy, along with a host of other project backers, to stage a series of meetings with Washington lawmakers to make sure the money gets put back. Mr. Gargano said he’s satisfied that the lobbying effort was successful, and that the money will find its way back to the project when that particular budget item comes up for a formal vote.

Less certain, however, is the source of the money for the ventilation-systems upgrade that Mr. Gargano still needs to gin up. "We need $50 million for the ventilation," he said, "but keep in mind that we have 90 percent of the money for this project."

Perhaps—but this wouldn’t be the first time that the Moynihan Station project got to the one-yard line, only to find itself pushed back to the 50.

September 24th, 2004, 08:17 AM

New Jersey Transit Will Consider Occupying New Station in Midtown

September 24, 2004

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey awarded $10 million to New Jersey Transit yesterday to study how it might extend its current platforms in Pennsylvania Station into a new station in the James A. Farley post office building. The work could pave the way for the transit agency to become the new station's main tenant, instead of Amtrak.

Plans to build a grand railroad hub in the landmark Farley post office building, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and 31st and 33rd Streets in Manhattan, have been in the making for more than a decade, only to be delayed time and time again.

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who died last year, was the project's main advocate, calling for the city to redeem itself after the original Pennsylvania Station, a neo-Classical masterpiece designed by McKim, Mead & White, was torn down in the 1960's. The new station in the post office, to be named for Senator Moynihan, would free up space in the crowded Penn Station, just across Eighth Avenue.

Recently, Amtrak, long the station's intended tenant, declared it would not pay any rent if it moved into the space from its current home in the existing Penn Station, which it owns, because of continuing financial problems. That left officials with the Empire State Development Corporation, which oversees the project through its subsidiary, the Moynihan Station Redevelopment Corporation, casting about for alternatives.

"We have said that this project will not be stopped," said Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation and vice chairman of the Port Authority's board. "Or we would lose more than $300 million in federal aid."

Mr. Gargano said yesterday that he was not bothered by Amtrak's change of heart, calling the national railroad "a minor player" in Penn Station and pointing out that it provides only about 28,000 of the 500,000 people who use Penn Station daily.

New Jersey Transit, which shares use of Penn Station with Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road, represents a logical fallback because its ridership has been exploding and its concourses have become increasingly crowded. The Long Island Rail Road operates more than half the trains that use Penn Station; New Jersey Transit accounts for about a third; and Amtrak, 16 percent.

To help it move more people into Manhattan, New Jersey Transit has been working on plans to build a new tunnel under the Hudson River that would allow it to double the number of trains into Penn Station. But that project is years away from completion. In the short term, the transit agency's planners have been searching for solutions to their crowding problems.

The Port Authority's money will pay for preliminary design and engineering work on building a new central pedestrian corridor that would give New Jersey Transit riders another option for getting up from the tracks and out of the current station. The money will also pay for preliminary work on building a new western corridor that would connect passengers to the new Moynihan Station, as well as extending the platforms on New Jersey Transit's current tracks into the Farley Building.

"We're trying to get more trains and people into the existing Penn Station," said Richard T. Roberts, the transit agency's chief planner. The platform extension would allow dispatchers to send longer trains, carrying more people, into the station. But Mr. Roberts said New Jersey Transit officials also want to make sure customers have connections to Moynihan Station.

Lynn Bowersox, assistant executive director of New Jersey Transit, said no decisions had been made yet on whether the agency would move completely into the new station, split its ticketing and waiting areas between the old and new stations, or not move at all. For many of its riders who work on the East Side, the agency's current location closer to Seventh Avenue is more convenient.

"Nothing's off the table," Ms. Bowersox said.

Mr. Gargano said yesterday that it was also possible that the Long Island Rail Road could become a tenant in the new station as well, although officials there had previously said they were not interested in moving into Moynihan Station.

Mr. Gargano said he spoke last week with Peter S. Kalikow, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, about the possibility and was told that the authority would look into it.

Yesterday, Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the authority, said, "We are exploring our options at the Farley Building," and added, "Nothing has been ruled in or out."

The project, however, has the potential of competing for federal money and attention with some of the transportation authority's main building priorities: creating a link for the Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central Terminal and constructing the Second Avenue subway.

Despite the questions about who will occupy the station, Mr. Gargano said that a request for proposals on commercial use of the space from developers will be sent out in October and that an award should be made by January.

September 24th, 2004, 09:04 AM
Honestly, they should just put this proposal to bed. More time, money and resources have been devoted to this still birth than almost any other project I can recall.

October 28th, 2004, 08:05 AM

State's Project for a Grand New Penn Station Is Moving Again

October 28, 2004

The $910 million plan to transform the city's former central post office building into a grand new Pennsylvania Station is once again lurching forward.

State officials said yesterday that they had lined up two anchor tenants and most of the financing and were close to picking a developer.

The state has narrowed the list of potential developers to four from six and is now asking for specific proposals for converting the blocklong James A. Farley Building on Eighth Avenue into a gleaming Moynihan Station, named after the senator who was its champion. The state expects to choose a developer in March and to start construction next summer.

Both New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road have told state officials that they want to have tracks and space at the station, replacing Amtrak as the anchor tenant. Earlier this year, Amtrak left the project because of money problems, choosing to remain in the existing Penn Station across Eighth Avenue.

Although the state is still looking for up to $40 million to pay for an emergency ventilation system for the tunnels below the Farley building, officials said they were optimistic that the Moynihan Station's time had come.

"We're going forward with this project, no question about it," said Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the Moynihan Station Development Corporation. "It's basically fully funded for construction."

The Farley building, which stretches from Eighth Avenue west to Ninth Avenue, also seems to be playing a role in the city's plans to redevelop the far West Side of Manhattan and build a highly contested football stadium for the Jets.

Initial plans from two of the four developers - Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust - showed a new sports arena, most likely a new Madison Square Garden, rising from within the walls of the western portion of the Farley building, near Ninth Avenue, a block west of where the Garden is now.

"It's no secret that there aren't a lot of sites for something like the Garden," said Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust.

The proposal is intriguing because Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has spent months castigating James and Chuck Dolan, who control the Garden and its parent company, Cablevision, for spending millions of dollars on television ads opposing the stadium, which the Dolans view as competition. Last June, the Dolans revealed that they would spend $300 million renovating the Garden, without public subsidies. The Jets need a total of $600 million from the city and the state.

The Dolans say they have no interest in the proposal by Related and Vornado, but stadium opponents suggest that the Bloomberg administration may be pushing the idea in the hope that the Dolans will drop their opposition to the stadium in return for help in building a new arena. Or, opponents say, the city may be trying to embarrass the Dolans.

"It's hard to imagine that this is coincidental," said Councilwoman Christine Quinn, whose district includes the West Side. "There's not a lot that happens by accident on the West Side today. This must be directed at the Garden, and it looks like an effort to tamp down some of the opposition."

The mayor's office played down its role in encouraging a possible new site for the Garden.

"The mayor has been a leading supporter of the transformation of the Farley Post Office into Moynihan Station," said Edward Skyler, Mr. Bloomberg's press secretary, "but we haven't discussed these ideas with Cablevision, and we don't have much say on which plan will ultimately be chosen."

The plan seems intended to entice Cablevision by allowing it to build a new arena essentially free.

Related and Vornado may form a joint venture to buy the land beneath the existing Garden, enabling the owners to build a new arena in the Farley building, according to state officials and real estate executives. The developers, in turn, would eventually rebuild Penn Station, raze the old Garden and build a mixed-use large complex of apartments, office space, a hotel and retail stores.

Cablevision made it clear yesterday, however, that it planned to proceed with its work on the current Garden.

"We are committed to renovating the Garden," Barry Watkins, a spokesman, said, and that makes the construction plan highly unlikely.

"Cablevision has all the marbles," Mr. Roth said.

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan originally conceived of the Farley project as a way for the city to replace the notorious inconvenience of the current station and redeem itself for having demolished the original Pennsylvania Station in 1964.

In 1999, David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed a glass-enclosed central hall for the Farley, to complement the building's grand staircase and row of Corinthian columns. Much of the financing has been in place since 2001.

There have been several setbacks. At one point, the Postal Service reconsidered its decision to move out of most of the Farley. The state subsequently reached an agreement with the Postal Service to buy the building for $230 million.

Earlier this year, Amtrak, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, announced that it was pulling out of the project. The state then began talking to New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road about filling the gap.

Amtrak has said it will cooperate with the project and allow access to the tracks and platforms below the Farley. Mr. Gargano said the state would ask the state's Congressional delegation to help secure funds for an emergency ventilation system.

The two other interested developers are Tishman Speyer with Jones Lang LaSalle, and Boston Properties.

October 28th, 2004, 10:56 AM
Great, Amtrak won't take space because it is near bankruptcy, but the MTA, which is sinking faster than the Titanic, is on board. I wish this project would just die a permanent death already. East side LIRR access to Grand Central and LIRR access to a new Lower Manhattan hub would free up tracks at Penn for NJ Transit & Amtrak. This station was a bad idea, is a bad idea, and, in my opinion, is - in its latest wheezing stage - a crap design.

October 28th, 2004, 12:10 PM
Does it seem crazy that they are going to suggest taking a proposed train station and make it a basketball court? Politics.

I like the design and am glad its moving forward. Amtrak should be taking part in it, and hopefully they will be able to change their minds in the future - thus making Penn station at MSG unused.

November 21st, 2004, 11:08 PM

New Penn Station Project Gains New Steam


It looks like plans to convert the Farley Post Office building into a new Penn Station may get off the ground after all. As NY1 transit reporter Bobby Cuza tells us, the project is going forward despite a number of recent setbacks.

For years officials have talked of expanding and extending Penn Station across the street to the historic Farley Post Office. But recently, the $1 billion project has been dealt a series of blows.

First, Amtrak backed out of the project. Citing financial difficulties, the railroad said it was staying put in the existing Penn Station. Then Congress withdrew $40 million in federal funding. Still, it hasn't been enough to derail the project, which state development officials say is still on track.

"We owe it to the people of New York. They need more space at Penn Station," said Charles Gargano of the Empire State Development Corporation. "It's a very congested station. It was designed to handle 250,000 passengers a day. It handles more than 550,000."

Based on a design by architect David Childs, Gargano says construction on the project will be underway early next summer. With Amtrak out of the picture, officials are now looking to New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road to be the primary tenants. Both are interested.

They're confident Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton have won support in Washington to have that lost $40 million reinstated. Altogether, Gargano says, 90 percent of the project's funding is in place. As soon as February, the state will pick from among four developers, some of whose initial proposals include a new sports arena on the site.

"We've heard things about a possible arena for Madison Square Garden on the west end of this site. We've heard something about big box stores," said Gargano. "We don't know. We will evaluate that."

The new hub will be called Moynihan Station, after the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the project.

Moynihan thought of the project as a way to bring back the grandeur of the original Penn Station, which was demolished back in the 1960s. Now, the late senator's daughter is keeping up the fight. She formed a citizens group to advocate for the project.

"Once construction begins, it'll take at least five years to complete," said Maura Moynihan. "Until I hear the sound of jackhammers coming out of the Farley Building, I will not sleep a peaceful night."

According to the state, those jackhammers are coming soon.

– Bobby Cuza

TLOZ Link5
November 22nd, 2004, 01:01 AM
I've got my fingers crossed.

November 22nd, 2004, 08:49 AM



November 22, 2004 -- Welcome to the new Penn Station.
The transformation of the Farley Post Office into a modern transit hub is back on track with construction expected to start next summer in an effort to extend and enlarge Penn Station by 2009, officials said.

The rail complex will be renamed the Moynihan Station in honor of late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and will primarily house Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit trains.

The project got a shot in the arm last week when the Port Authority approved $10 million in funds for the state to use toward the construction of an extension between platforms located at Penn Station's West End concourse to the new hub.

The $900 million project was launched in 1999, but several financial and logistical problems stalled the plan, including Amtrak's backing out of helping pay for the station, the 9/11 attacks and the anthrax postal crisis.

Most of the funding earmarked for the construction of the new complex has been in place since 2001.

Moynihan Station, which would relieve crowding and make it easier for commuters to board trains, will feature a mix of modern architecture and classic beaux-arts design.

Plans show the new station will feature a sky-lit concourse area, spacious ticket hall, underground connection to the current station and an estimated 800,000 square feet of potential retail space.

The face-lift would mean redesigning the building — which stretches from 31st and 33rd streets along Eighth and Ninth avenues — to look more like the original Penn Station that was torn down in 1966.

Over 500,000 daily riders currently stream through Penn Station and are forced to make their way through crowded and dimly lit tunnels underneath Madison Square Garden to get to trains.

The Empire State Development Corp., the state agency spearheading the project, said developers Boston Properties, Jones Lang LaSalle together with Tishman Speyer, The Related Companies, and Vornado Realty Trust have bid on the project.

"Each firm has put forth initial ideas for development of the space and the project, and now we will give them an opportunity to develop their proposals more fully," said ESDC Chairman Charles Gargano.

The ESDC said a developer will be chosen in January, and construction expected to start next summer.

"By making key investments in our rail infrastructure now, we will be ready for the future," Gargano said.

January 18th, 2005, 10:34 AM
(Penn Station)

January 18, 2005

Stephen M. Ross and Steve Roth look increasingly like the Odd Couple at the new Penn Station.

Four developers responded to the Empire State Development Corp's RFP on the oft-delayed project last fall. Among them were Ross's Related Cos. and Roth's Vornado Realty Trust. It was reported they might form a joint venture to buy the land under Madison Square Garden, facilitating a move by the Garden into the new station complex.

Now, we're told, they may join forces to develop the new Penn Station itself. Asked if privately held Related was teaming up with publicly traded Vornado, Ross said, "yes."

A Ross-Roth partnership would be fun to watch; they are friendly rivals with similar-sounding names who developed corners of 59th Street — Related's Time Warner Center and Vornado's Bloomberg L.P. tower.

"People always think we're the same person, and now they'll be even more confused," Ross laughed. Boston Properties and Tishman Speyer are also vying for the Penn Station project.

Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

January 18th, 2005, 10:41 AM
The Partnership is going to be amazing! Both are good for amazing buildings. Cant wait to see the whole new Penn Station and the underneath station of the Garden for a make over!!! Because right now is a boring station. I am so glad!!! :)

January 18th, 2005, 11:22 AM
Leave it to the Post and Cuozzo to have some insider gossip. Its good to hear something about this project!

January 18th, 2005, 04:14 PM
Steve really is a good one

January 19th, 2005, 04:36 PM

Plans For Moynihan Station Back On Track

JANUARY 14TH, 2005

Despite a series of setbacks, plans are back on track to turn the Farley Post Office building into a train station.

Developers did a walk-through of the building that's across the street from Penn Station Thursday. It's set to become a hub for New Jersey Transit and possibly the Long Island Rail Road.

The facility will be called Moynihan Station after its longtime champion, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Officials from the Empire State Development Corporation say the facility will give the outdated Penn Station system some major relief.

"It's going to be much more pleasant for the riders," said Charles Gargano Empire State Development Corporation chair. "It's won't be as crowded as it is today. It's going to be an important transportation improvement."

Construction is set to start next summer.

January 19th, 2005, 05:23 PM
Is SOM's design for Moynihan station still the one that's planned?

January 19th, 2005, 05:36 PM

January 24th, 2005, 12:14 PM
SOMs are mediocre at best. I would like to see other architects chime in.

January 24th, 2005, 12:20 PM


January 24th, 2005, 01:33 PM
Some of the general SOM criticism seems valid to me, boxy and boring. But this is a refurb of a classic building, not a lot of architectural originality to be done. What design elements are there look great to me. This is going to be a great station.

alex ballard
January 27th, 2005, 06:35 PM
Which do you think Penn Station should shoot for: Modern, Space age design or Classical, Elegant design?

TLOZ Link5
January 27th, 2005, 06:38 PM
Which do you think Penn Station should shoot for: Modern, Space age design or Classical, Elegant design?

The current plan is fine. If you ask me, however, it would be a good idea to just raze that POS Madison Square Garden and ask Zaha Hadid or Peter Eisenman to design the replacement. Someone who's not done a project in New York yet.

January 27th, 2005, 06:55 PM
Agreed. Madison Square Garden is really old and outdated. It could really use a fixing up. Maybe start on renovation/reconstruction once the Brooklyn Arena opens, so the Knicks have somewhere to play at least. I wouldn't mind just seeing it clad in an attractive glass facade. Right now I think it just brings down the area.

January 27th, 2005, 08:34 PM
The new Penn Station should make the most out of the existing architecture. I vote for Beaux-arts on steroids, and forget all that trendy and odd glasswork. The station plans as originally announced a few years ago looked dated the very day they were announced!

February 25th, 2005, 08:19 AM
February 25, 2005

3 Designs Submitted for Midtown Train Station

By SEWELL CHAN (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=SEWELL%20CHAN&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=SEWELL%20CHAN?inline=nyt-per)

One design for a new station in the Farley post office on Eighth Avenue - by a partnership of the Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust - uses a glass and steel canopy that will encompass the entry lobby.

http://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/n.gifew York State officials announced yesterday that they would choose from among three developers to transform the city's central post office into a new Midtown train station serving commuters on New Jersey Transit and possibly the Long Island Rail Road.

The selection of one of the three design proposals submitted Friday is expected to take place by June and would mark an important step forward for the plans to create a new train station in memory of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed the effort before his death in 2003.

The project, across Eighth Avenue from Pennsylvania Station, has proceeded in fits and starts for the last decade, but officials now hope to begin construction by the end of this year and complete the station by 2010.

"The quality and scope of the various proposals put forth for Moynihan Station show the importance of this project as a gateway to New York City," said Charles A. Gargano, the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation.

The design proposals all incorporate what has playfully become known as the potato chip - a shapely glass and steel canopy that will encompass the new station's entry lobby. That canopy, designed by David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, would envelop a series of concourses that slip under the post office building, letting light flow onto the train platforms below ground.

The three proposals also include a well-lit atrium and a passageway along 32nd Street linking Eighth and Ninth Avenues.

The agency has secured $600 million in public funds to build the 400,000-square-foot train station. In addition, the site will include 250,000 square feet for the Postal Service and 750,000 square feet for retail, office or residential use.

The developers are Boston Properties, Tishman Speyer and a partnership of the Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust.

Whoever who wins the competition will also acquire the rights to privately develop and control the 750,000 square feet under a long-term lease. Mr. Gargano would not specify the features of each proposal, but he said they included a warehouse-type store, a boutique or business hotel, a museum, public space for exhibits and live performances, a rooftop banquet hall and space for retail stores.

The project effectively dates to 1963, when the former Pennsylvania Station, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by McKim, Mead & White, was demolished over protests by preservationists and architects. The current Madison Square Garden was built on the site over a labyrinthine terminal for Amtrak, the two commuter railroads and two sets of subway lines.

In 1998, officials announced they would lease 400,000 square feet of space in the James A. Farley Post Office Building, built in 1914, for a new station. But in 2002, the agency agreed to buy the entire site, on Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, for $230 million.

The current Penn Station serves 550,000 passengers a day. "It is horrible right now," Mr. Gargano said. "It is congested, not roomy, not pleasant to look at. It's like walking through a cave."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

alex ballard
February 25th, 2005, 05:00 PM
How much retail is going to be in the Farley building? Personally, a new upscale mall like at the Airports or suburbs would be a good fit. I mean, can you imagine the incomes that pass through that station every day?

Also, is this simply a new waiting room or is this really going to expand the amount of platforms and trains at Penn Station?

February 26th, 2005, 12:01 AM
This project will not affect the platform level of the station. It will increase the passenger waiting and circulation capacity of the station by providing new waiting areas, staircases, passageways, and entries/exits. I believe there will be no new tracks or platforms.

But separate projects will address the train capacity of the station. "East Side Access," which will connect the LIRR to Grand Central, will free up a lot of capacity at the station so that other LIRR (and potentially Metro-North) services can be expanded. "Access to the Region's Core," which would build a new trans-Hudson tunnel and a new deep-level terminal just north of Penn Station, would allow more rush hour Amtrak and NJ Transit service. The Moynihan Station project is needed to allow passengers to enjoy the full benefits of these other projects.

March 4th, 2005, 08:56 PM

March 5th, 2005, 02:50 AM

The towers proposed in the renderings look pretty ho-hum but great project overall nonetheless.

March 5th, 2005, 08:52 AM
The towers proposed in the renderings look pretty ho-hum but great project overall nonetheless.

Right now they look very One-Penn-Plazaish but with the roster of architects I have faith we'll see more interesting designs, especially if we get a Foster building.



March 5th, 2005, 12:11 PM
I like the first design but the second it hideous! I wasnt expecting towers for this site. I was just expecting a new trans. hub. Nothing big.

March 5th, 2005, 12:36 PM
I wasn't expecting towers either. I believe they should sell the air-rights and keep Moynihan station the same general structure that it is - similar to the original renderings with the potato chip. The economics of the building will probably require a tower or towers, however.

March 5th, 2005, 02:10 PM
I will be angry if they end up building a tacky glass boxes ontop of that site. If they end up doing that, then they are just repeating the same mistake of building Penn Plaza.

March 5th, 2005, 02:28 PM
I happen to like One Penn Plaza.

March 5th, 2005, 02:34 PM
It's an ugly black box that replaced one of NY's greatest landmarks.

James Kovata
March 5th, 2005, 02:37 PM
It's an ugly black box that replaced one of NY's greatest landmarks.

March 5th, 2005, 05:42 PM
It's an ugly black box that replaced one of NY's greatest landmarks.

One Penn Plaza was built on a site to the north of Penn Station and its reincarnation as Madison Square Garden / Penn Station / Eyesore.

I have a hunch that Foster is working with Tishman Speyer Properties and that together they stand a good chance in winning the competition. I’m sure if this is the case their pushing there success of historical re-use with a modern addition at the Hearst Tower site.

TLOZ Link5
March 5th, 2005, 05:52 PM
I'm not particularly certain what to think of putting tall buildings so close to the new station. Wouldn't this block light from entering the station, or obscure views from the "potato chip"?

March 5th, 2005, 05:56 PM
It would but it would be similar to BCE place in Toronto which is one the city’s most attractive and popular indoor attractions.

March 5th, 2005, 05:58 PM
I hope that they don't build a large building ontop on the new station. Something similar was planning for Grand Central in the '70s until Jackie Kennedy and a few others stopped it.

March 5th, 2005, 06:07 PM
I hope that they don't build a large building ontop on the new station. Something similar was planning for Grand Central in the '70s until Jackie Kennedy and a few others stopped it.

Thank god they did, although I resent how they halted the original Columbus Center Project.


Rendering of 1968 design by Marcel Breuer for office tower atop Grand Central Terminal just to the south of the former PanAm (now MetLife) Building


There have been many plans to erect an office tower over Grand Central Terminal in New York: Reed & Stem designed an office tower as part of the original plan, left, and I. M. Pei created the spectacular design at right for the same site in 1956.

Pics and text, the City Review.

March 5th, 2005, 07:43 PM
I actually like Breuer's proposal (and Pei's, and 1 Penn Plaza for that matter), obviously it had the wrong location but I think it might have turned out to be one of the nicer incarnations of the international style.

March 8th, 2005, 03:59 PM

From Farley to Moynihan

March 7, 2005

Forty years after a wrecking ball razed one of the city's icons, the old Pennsylvania Station, a new transit hub that many say resurrects the lost grandeur is slowly rising from the proverbial dust.

State officials are reviewing three proposed renovations for the Farley Post Office, the beaux arts building across from Madison Square Garden that will supplement the subterranean station now under the arena.

The winner is to be announced within three months, with the terminal opening in 2010, said Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation.

"It's going to happen," Gargano said of the $600 million project to be paid for with a combination of state, city, federal and Port Authority funds.

The new station, to be named after its longtime champion, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, would double the size of the current Penn Station -- the nation's busiest station, with 550,000 daily passengers. It would also give commuters a glimpse of the sky -- like the old station -- before boarding, unlike now when passengers are shrouded in artificial light.

Maura Moynihan, the senator's daughter, called the new station a "masterpiece," with the current terminal "that hole under a basketball court."

There are no planned changes to where Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit trains will stop.

Customers instead will have more room inside the station, and more entrances, stretching from Seventh to Ninth Avenues. Plans to house Amtrak in the complex were dropped, but the state is in talks with the LIRR and NJ Transit.

The proposals keep the original design to bisect the post office with a puffed-out, glass dome that developers have taken to calling "the chip," for its resemblance to the snack. Also untouched is a plan to keep 400,000 square feet for the station and 250,000 square feet for a remaining post office. They differ in what they plan to do with 750,000 square feet; suggestions vary from a hotel, a large retailer, a museum and a banquet hall.

A decision hasn't yet been reached whether to build on top of the terminal, Gargano said.

What won't change is the Farley's signature colonnade, built by the same architects the old Pennsylvania Station: McKim, Mead and White.

"'Only in New York could you tear down a beaux-arts masterpiece only to find another one by the same architects across the street,'" Moynihan said, quoting her father.





March 8th, 2005, 05:31 PM
Boston Properties is working with Swanke Hayden Connell and KPF

Tishman Speyer is working with Norman Foster, guess which proposal is Foster's.

The four proposals on the skyline:





March 8th, 2005, 05:38 PM
They're rexes. Whats the website so I can check it out.

March 8th, 2005, 05:59 PM

TLOZ Link5
March 8th, 2005, 06:29 PM
Upper left corner. Looks a lot like his building in Hong Kong. Yes, please.

March 8th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Thank you Stern. I like the upper right side, and the lower left side. I DO NOT like the lower right one. yuck!

March 8th, 2005, 10:39 PM
Nice find Stern.





March 8th, 2005, 11:51 PM
What did I miss? Where did the tower come from?

Well if we had to choose I like the first and the third the best.

March 9th, 2005, 09:38 AM
The dual glass tower is the lesser of all evils in my opinion. The 30 Hudson st copy is probably my second place. I thought the boxy-tower rendering with the ESB in the background was a drawing from the 50's...its hideous in my opinion.

March 9th, 2005, 09:49 AM
The first rendering is interesting from a political point of view in that it renders a hugely developed Far West Side, seemingly with a stadium. It's like a kid thrusting his hand in the air during class to say, "Pick me! Pick me!"

I like the third rendering, dual towers, as well. I think the symetry plays of the classical base much better than the others.

March 9th, 2005, 10:53 AM
What did I miss? Where did the tower come from?

Well if we had to choose I like the first and the third the best.

The tower is from the planned commercial space, although they are still saying no decision has been made on building above the station. Most likely, there will be a tower.

March 9th, 2005, 11:34 AM
The classical bi-partite towers are a bit staid in my opinion. I like the second rendering with the gently curving in and out tower -- it's not a form we have a lot of in new york, and I think the way it shifted slightly off the empire state building will have a nice effect.

Does anyone know which architects did what proposal?

March 9th, 2005, 03:07 PM
Eye candy during Lent! Is this permissible? Ahh yes, I remember now: The Temptation in the Desert. As one who lived, if briefly, in Hell's Kitchen, I have become greatly disoriented. Where is this place set before my eyes? No such hallucinations were permitted west of Eighth Avenue. Dear Lucy, where am I?

March 9th, 2005, 05:36 PM
I'd like to see a combo of both 1 and 2. Two distinct towers, seemingly different heights, with the SOM peak in the middle. One can be commercial and one condo (probably not permitted, but a tought).

March 9th, 2005, 10:00 PM
THAT TOWER IS HIDEOUS! Please tell me that it won't be built! This is the 1968 Grand Central Tower all over again.

March 9th, 2005, 10:50 PM
THAT TOWER IS HIDEOUS! Please tell me that it won't be built! This is the 1968 Grand Central Tower all over again.

Which tower? There are more than one.

March 9th, 2005, 11:27 PM
The last one is the worst, followed by the next-to-last picture. Why can't they just leave the air space alone?

March 10th, 2005, 07:42 AM
I like the 2nd and 3rd one. In my opinion the view from New Jersey to Midtwon Manhattan should not be so much influenced by such a building.I like the view like it is right now:)


March 10th, 2005, 01:09 PM
I take offense -- the Pan Am building over grand central is one of the best skyscrapers in the city -- it's just a vogue thing for people to say they don't like it.

March 10th, 2005, 01:19 PM
I take offense -- the Pan Am building over grand central is one of the best skyscrapers in the city -- it's just a vogue thing for people to say they don't like it.

Wow! I'm in vogue! (I worked there for years - hated it).

March 10th, 2005, 01:50 PM
#1: It appears to be complimentary to the potato chip, which I think is nice work by Childs.

#3 is boring and #4 is awful (but it also is the worst rendering).

March 10th, 2005, 05:41 PM
#1 resembles metlife tower, well to me anyway...

James Kovata
March 10th, 2005, 07:28 PM
#2 looks like kind of like Goldman Sachs in Jersey City.

March 10th, 2005, 08:00 PM

March 10th, 2005, 08:04 PM
I vote for #4, but with a few suggested changes:

1. Scrap the glass. Substitute limestone.

2. Add 50 stories to each tower.

3. Keep the deco-like setbacks.

March 10th, 2005, 08:11 PM
#2 looks like kind of like Goldman Sachs in Jersey City.

Very true, that is his way of designing buildings. It looks like 30 hudson as well as the other tower in Hong Kong (i'm forgetting both the architect's and the building's names)

March 10th, 2005, 08:20 PM
Cesar Pelli & Associates, 2 IFC.

March 11th, 2005, 06:22 PM
Cesar Pelli & Associates, 2 IFC.


James Kovata
March 11th, 2005, 07:44 PM
Cesar Pelli & Associates, 2 IFC.

But is #2 a Pelli design? I didn't recall reading Pelli was designing for the project. (Also, let's not forget that Pelli designed Bloomberg.)

March 11th, 2005, 11:40 PM
F for no effort. I mean, don't overwork yourselves, architects! Who said recycling in New York is dead?

1. While Foster usually responds well to the challenge of new buildings over older landmarks, this one has a "phoned in" quality that doesn't rise to his "top drawer."
It looks like a bland version of his Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank. Still the best of the bunch (and there might yet be be some tasty details inside) but it leaves me wishing: More diagrid! More birdsmouths! More geometric play if you please, Lord Foster.

2. O.K., Caesar, that form is getting old. One Goldman Sachs-type building PER metro area! Time to do something new (and if it's NOT Pelli, then it's a shameless rip-off!).

3. Possibly the most insidious building(s) of them all, because it's so "inoffensive."

4. Like addicts shooting junk into their hideously bruised arms, so architects return to brutalism. They know it's bad. They know it's ugly, and they just can't STOP themselves!

"Paging Senior Calatrava, your services are needed......?"

March 12th, 2005, 08:53 AM
I always enjoy your over-the-top annotations.

March 12th, 2005, 08:38 PM
F for no effort. I mean, don't overwork yourselves, architects! Who said recycling in New York is dead?

4. Like addicts shooting junk into their hideously bruised arms, so architects return to brutalism. They know it's bad. They know it's ugly, and they just can't STOP themselves!

LOL, that is classic

March 13th, 2005, 12:13 PM
Well, they say everybody's a critic.
Anyway, more from the NY POST



March 13, 2005 -- COMPARING the old Penn Station, torn down in 1963, to the new, Vincent Scully of Yale famously re marked that, "Through it, one entered the city like a god. One scuttles in now like a rat."

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan worked tirelessly to heal this wound, by turning the Farley Post Office at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue into a new Penn Station. That dream inches toward fruition as a new Moynihan Station. Unfortunately, the plans are being considered mainly in secret, raising fears that the project could inflict a fresh scar on the city.

For the station design, the state has narrowed the field to three prominent architectural firms. But with the plans are being kept pretty much under wraps, it is all but impossible to pass judgment on the details.

The only images that have been released, by the firms of Robert Stern, Sir Norman Foster and Kohn, Pedersen and Fox, have been vague reworkings of the center of the Farley site, recently designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill. All three seem to be in agreement that this design element will be preserved intact. Nevertheless, in a matter of this importance, the public should be given a far better idea of what they are about to pay for.

What we can say is that the new station will stand one block west of where the old Penn Station opened 100 years before, in 1910.

According to Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corp. (EDC), which is responsible for the project, the new station will supplement, without supplanting, the station that now lies under Madison Square Garden. (The doubling is appropriate, since that facility was intended for 200,000 travelers a day, but now receives almost three times that number.)

YOU could make the case that the destruction of the old Penn Station was a massive act of bureaucratic vandalism that engendered a million smaller acts of vandalism over the ensuing generation. The graffiti, the shattered windows, the filth and broken bottles of the far West Side were, and in some measure remain, a consequence of the debasing and coarsening of our urban fabric that was represented and fostered by this single titanic act of demolition.

Almost at once, the city understood that it had done a terrible thing. The whole Landmarks Preservation Movement was launched as a consequence and there quickly evolved in New Yorkers a new sense of how they interacted with their urban history.

The façade of the original Penn — the three great vaults of whose central chamber were based on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome — had a richly articulated colonnade that was designed by the great turn-of-the-century firm of McKim Mead and White. Indeed, it may well have been the most splendid colonnade in America. The Farley Post Office was designed by the same firm and also has an extensive colonnade for a façade.

Still, it is a very different kind of building in both feeling and function. As Professor Scully understood so well, the original Penn Station was an attempt not only to awe visitors to New York — at a time when most of them arrived by train — but to elevate and ennoble them by receiving them in such an opulent setting.

It possessed the wonder of foreign travel: You felt you were transported to another continent and another age. Its architectural language was all energetic volumes and curves and a thousand ingenious details.

The Farley Building, by contrast, was originally intended to be . . . a federal post office. Stretching from Eighth to Ninth avenues, it consists of two large squarish buildings, each with an expansive courtyard and, separating the two, a so-called internodal zone (see below). Inspired more by Greek than Roman models, its long colonnade suggests harmonious regularity and dependability.

It is, in a word, about as exciting as the U.S. postal system itself.

SURELY this, like everything else in existence, is better than the Penn Station we have now, but, if the truth be told, it does not have quite the quality that the old Penn possessed.

In order to supply a sense of drama, Skidmore Owings and Merrill (under the direction of David Childs, the Freedom Tower architect) has conceived a bold plan for the "internodal zone" — the area between the two halves of the Farley Building, that is, midway between Eighth and Ninth Avenues: an attractive envelope of swirling glass that will rise irregularly to over twice the height of the main building.

This is a very clever conception. It exploits and plays off the four-square conservatism of the present structure, until that very stodginess, by being subverted, becomes a key element of the drama.

During the day, the space will be flooded with light. By night, it will brilliantly illuminate the entire neighborhood.

Yet one must have grave reservations about Albany's decision to use this space as the main entrance. The building's main entrance was, and remains, the one on Eighth Avenue. And present plans call for the Post Office to continue operating at the front of the building, facing Eighth.

This idea may be a catastrophic mistake. If it is allowed to stand, we will never shake the impression that we are entering Moynihan Station through a side door. Though I understand the temptation to preserve all the exquisite old windows and grills of the Post Office, that central location on Eighth Avenue must be made to serve as a royal road that leads travelers directly into the heart of the building.

ANOTHER cause of concern are the as-yet-unclear in tentions of several private developers to whom the state will lease those parts of the building not claimed by the Post Office or the station.

There is some talk of building a high-rise above either or both halves of the Farley Building. Unless such a building looks very good, it is almost certain to look very bad, especially when it starts to clash not only with McKim Mead and White's building, but also with Skidmore Owings and Merrill's addition.

The last thing we want or need is a repetition of what happened at Grand Central around the very time that Penn Station was being demolished: The Pan Am (now the Met Life) Building — one of the most detested structures in the city — rose up just to the north of the terminal, and has forever after bullied and degraded all the other buildings in its vicinity.

Whether Albany will allow this to happen again is one of the great, unanswered questions of the new Penn Station. We should have an answer in three months.

March 13th, 2005, 12:46 PM
The only images that have been released, by the firms of Robert Stern, Sir Norman Foster and Kohn, Pedersen and Fox, have been vague reworkings of the center of the Farley site, recently designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill. All three seem to be in agreement that this design element will be preserved intact. Nevertheless, in a matter of this importance, the public should be given a far better idea of what they are about to pay for.

I guess Cesar Pelli's team who I speculate was Vornado/Related either dropped out or were removed from the competition.

March 13th, 2005, 02:22 PM
This column really speaks for my opinion on this issue. Why are these people so hair-brained, as to let a developer build an office building over what could be the next great landmark or New York.

March 13th, 2005, 03:04 PM
This column really speaks for my opinion on this issue. Why are these people so hair-brained, as to let a developer build an office building over what could be the next great landmark or New York.

Um, because the tower provides the revenue to finance the renovation of the station. Exactly why would developers invest hundreds of millions of dollars into a train station if there were no economic incentive?

Also, what is so "hair-brained" about a new building in Midtown? Last I checked, the neighborhood is filled with towers (with many more to come), and the Ninth Avenue side of the Moynihan building isn't particularly architecturally significant or landmark-worthy. In fact, it currently looks pretty bad.

I would love to have a Norman Foster tower on Ninth Avenue.

March 13th, 2005, 03:17 PM
I agree. While I would prefer to have the air rights transferred to another site, I will never consider the Post Office a landmark-worthy building, its architecture is bland and uninspiring even for a Post Office and even with the Child’s addition it will never be nearly as good as the Original Penn Station. A tower at least will provide some sort of a visual stimulus to the redevelopment planned around Penn Station.

March 13th, 2005, 05:12 PM
Well...have you ever heard of the plan to put a tower above Grand Central? Their plan was to gut the building and leave only the outside facade.


...BTW, Stern, I agree that it will never look as nice as the original Penn Station, but I can't see how an office tower would enhance its design. All of the proposals for tower that I looked at on the other page were mediocre, especially the last two. I could probably settle for them putting a tower nearby, but I haven't seen a design that I feel would compliment the building.

March 13th, 2005, 05:32 PM
Incase it wasn't noticed, the rendering with the twin buildings is "smushed."They are like 65 stories tall also.

Maybe I overstretched it but it's still pretty blah anyway...

March 14th, 2005, 09:35 AM
The Post article is reasonable. There is no reason to go through with this project unless it is done right. Putting the entrance towards 9th Avenue is less practical.

alex ballard
March 14th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Incase it wasn't noticed, the rendering with the twin buildings is "smushed."They are like 65 stories tall also.

Maybe I overstretched it but it's still pretty blah anyway...

Having office towers like that is not a bad idea, that space will rent speed of light fast.

March 14th, 2005, 05:09 PM
Not necessarily. I know when BoNY agreed to move its back offices to the Atlantic Terminal Tower in Brooklyn, it specifically required that the building itself not sit atop the train station - for safety & security purposes. It is a potential target if you are one to buy into the terrorism b.s.

Ideally, they would evict the postal service, utilize the entire building and peel off the Farley roof to create an atrium with light hitting the tracks below. THAT would be a grand entry into Nerw York.

March 14th, 2005, 05:55 PM
Ideally, they would evict the postal service, utilize the entire building and peel off the Farley roof to create an atrium with light hitting the tracks below. THAT would be a grand entry into Nerw YorkDid I miss a change?

I thought that the glass roof in the interior courtyard of the post office, long since covered over, was to be restored, and become the concourse.

March 14th, 2005, 06:03 PM
I can't help myself, so here goes:

Why not make the new Twin Towers...here?

alex ballard
March 14th, 2005, 06:25 PM
I can't help myself, so here goes:

Why not make the new Twin Towers...here?

Bad move. The one saving grace of the WTC was it was away from the main buisness district. An attack in Midtown would be disastorious (but recoverable).

March 14th, 2005, 07:08 PM
Bad move. The one saving grace of the WTC was it was away from the main buisness district. An attack in Midtown would be disastorious (but recoverable).
An attack ANYWHERE in Manhattan would be disastorous. Anyway, I think that this two towered design is one of the uglyest...but maybe it could be made into an art deco-style design a la 30 Rockefeller Center. We could get twin GE Buildings!

March 14th, 2005, 07:32 PM
Not necessarily. I know when BoNY agreed to move its back offices to the Atlantic Terminal Tower in Brooklyn, it specifically required that the building itself not sit atop the train station - for safety & security purposes. It is a potential target if you are one to buy into the terrorism b.s.

Ideally, they would evict the postal service, utilize the entire building and peel off the Farley roof to create an atrium with light hitting the tracks below. THAT would be a grand entry into Nerw York.

That’s because BoNY wanted to move assets outside of Manhattan, such as the NYSE has its control center in Brooklyn so that a Manhattan terrorist attack wouldn’t necessarily disable the economy. I believe the Metlife building commands one-of-the if not the highest rents in Manhattan.

I presume the Penn Station Subway will be moved here too, even if it won't its a block away, which is the NYC definition of location location location.

alex ballard
March 14th, 2005, 09:47 PM
An attack ANYWHERE in Manhattan would be disastorous. Anyway, I think that this two towered design is one of the uglyest...but maybe it could be made into an art deco-style design a la 30 Rockefeller Center. We could get twin GE Buildings!

I honestly don't know what people have against glass. I think the crisp clean look of LA and Hong Kong would mix well among the historic sturctures of NY. I personally like glass buildings. It gives and impression of forward thinking and economic progress, two things NY has. So why not advertise it. Making cities look older than they are is not always a good thing...

March 14th, 2005, 11:46 PM
I agree, a mix is good. But i tasteful mix, not two totally contrasting elements

March 15th, 2005, 09:33 AM
Did I miss a change?

I thought that the glass roof in the interior courtyard of the post office, long since covered over, was to be restored, and become the concourse.

No, we are all agreeing on the project as it was unveiled with the glass covered interior courtyard. I am saying they should relocate the post office completely out of the building and utilize 100% of its space for the station and, in the process, reintroduce an atrium glass ceiling as a sort of tribute to the old Penn Station. I'm just dreaming...

March 15th, 2005, 11:10 AM
The glass covering over the interior courtyard could be more interesting. This component does not live up to the vaulted glass space in the original Penn Station.
The simple gable shape lacks imagination. Perhaps something curving or elliptical, with interesting support elements or glass panels that form a pattern somehow-I like the "potatoe chip", though I think it's narrowness prevents it from achieving the drama that could happen over the courtyard.

I don't know, just wondering if anyone else agrees?

March 15th, 2005, 11:19 AM
I agree the current glass shape isn't that imaginative at all next to the curved mid-section glass, and especially when considering the inevitable comparisons to the old Penn Station glass ceiling. It's a shame to rue a lost opportunity before it's even been built.

March 15th, 2005, 05:16 PM
For the record, the scheme with two towers is (as far as I know) the only residential proposal, the others being 100% office. As for the train station, the gabled glass roof is over the main hall which sort of cascades down to the track level so light will in fact get all the way down there. The big potato chip is what's being called the intermodal hall, and the real function of it is still unclear to me. The nice thing about it is that it fills a void between the two separate structures on the block so that there'll be an enclosed concourse from 8th to 9th avenue. What noone is saying is that the cost of SOM's potato chip is so high that even with the 1M s.f. air rights for the tower and the 1M s.f. of retail it's still hardly worth it for the developers. So whoever wins the project will likely try to value engineer the hell out of it.

May 4th, 2005, 02:02 PM
May 4, 2005

Moynihan Station Makes Its Big Push With Sangria Kicker

by Terry Golway

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, late a Senator from New York, can still pack them in. He’s been gone for two years now, but on May 2 dozens of New Yorkers—including the woman who holds his old Senate seat—gathered in the James A. Farley Post Office building to pay homage to his last dream.

Were he still among us, the Senator would not be surprised to learn that his notion of turning the Farley building into a new Pennsylvania Station has been more deliberate than speedy. He often despaired of the time and effort it took to complete public-works projects in the New York of his later years. To the argument that completing this project ought to be easy, since the building is there and so are the tracks, he no doubt would have replied: "Ah, but you have not reckoned with the ways and means of Washington and New York in the third century of American independence." Or something like that.

The conversion of the Farley building remains unachieved despite the availability of federal funds. A year or so ago, the Senator’s daughter, Maura Moynihan, founded a group called the Moynihan Station Citizens Group, to help persuade lawmakers that the pit now known as Pennsylvania Station does no justice to the city or to the memory of the landmark that once stood where today rests a tomb called Madison Square Garden.

On May 2, Ms. Moynihan’s efforts to finish her father’s work received a much-needed morale boost when Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton headlined a fund-raising event in the old post office. Donors who paid $1,000 a ticket heard Ms. Moynihan tell a story about her father that most newspapers will deem unfit for print—although it was published in all its glory in the staid columns of the Congressional Record.

In 1999, during humdrum hearings held by the Senate Public Works Committee, Senator Moynihan interrupted the then head of Conrail to inquire about the gravesite of the recently deceased Charles Luckman, the architect responsible for what replaced the old Penn Station. Moynihan was told that Luckman had been buried in Richmond, Va.—but why did he wish to know?

"I want to piss on his grave," the Senator said.

In his last years, Moynihan saw in the Farley building that rare chance for civic redemption: an opportunity for the city to reclaim a portion of that which was turned to dust and rubble four decades ago. Everybody (save the current leadership of Amtrak) seemed to agree, but little has been done.

That will change soon, Mr. Bloomberg told the crowd, many of them holding glasses of white sangria mixed with undisclosed "special ingredients" to create a cocktail known as, yes, the "Moynihan Station."

"Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor dark of night" will delay the process any longer, Mr. Bloomberg vowed.

Ms. Moynihan hopes the Mayor is right. But time and inertia are formidable foes.

"We have to hear the sounds of jackhammers in the Farley building soon," she said. "The funds for the station have been sitting around for six years, and the maxim regarding federal funds is ‘Use them or lose them.’"

Senator Schumer, who served with Moynihan in the Senate for two years, said the late Senator was "frustrated" in his later years by "the inability to build on a grand scale" in New York. Sounding much like the man whose course at Harvard he audited as a freshman in 1967, Mr. Schumer condemned what he called a "culture of inertia" in which "critics get undue weight, even if they represent only three people."

He credited the Senator’s daughter with embarking "on a crusade to see that the culture of inertia does not prevail."

But that culture is not unique to New York.

Republicans in Congress—fans of neither public transportation nor the Northeast corridor—have shown a marked disinterest in using the funds that the Senator set aside for the station-conversion project. So Ms. Moynihan hopes that Mayor Bloomberg’s interest in the project may help highway-loving Sun Belt Republicans see the merits of a grand rail station on the West Side of Manhattan.

"We are delighted that the Mayor was here to support this effort," she said. "Let’s face it, if the Mayor’s office wasn’t behind this, it would be a lot more difficult. As my father once said at a contentious hearing about the station, ‘Everybody must hold hands and come together.’"

Such intimacies may come in time. For the moment, getting a few score people in the same room to hear two Democratic Senators and a Republican Mayor reading from the same page is familiar enough.

Even as speeches were read and promises made in the Farley building, across the street the huddled masses of Penn Station—yearning to be free of the station’s low ceilings and regional-airport décor—were filing into the pit. A hub for commuters, Penn Station also is New York’s rail portal to the world beyond the tristate area. Amtrak’s long-distance trains, which once served Grand Central Terminal as well, now run exclusively from the pit. It’s an unsatisfactory point of entry and departure for a city that prides itself as a world capital.

"When was the last time you heard somebody say, ‘Let’s have a drink at Penn Station?’" Ms. Moynihan said.

Well, they said just that on May 2. Perhaps one day the friends of Penn Station will return for a nightcap.


June 6th, 2005, 09:02 PM

Train Station Running Late
Making over the Eighth Avenue post office into Moynihan Station should be the easiest of Manhattan’s big projects. So why might it not happen?

By Chris Smith

On September 14, 2001, not long after putting down his ground-zero bullhorn, President George W. Bush had a quieter conversation with Governor George Pataki. The two men were discussing ways to show that New York was undaunted and vital and to give the city’s economy a boost. A public construction project would be ideal. Were there any good ideas, Bush asked, already in the pipeline?

Sure, Pataki said: converting the old Farley post-office building on Eighth Avenue into a new Penn Station. The money was largely in place and everyone was in favor of it, Pataki told the president; the only hurdle was persuading the Postal Service to vacate the historic landmark. “Yes,” Bush answered. “Let’s do it.”

Which made him the second consecutive president to support the plan. Bill Clinton came to the city in May 1999 for a celebratory press conference in which he endorsed spending federal money to make it happen.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has always favored the project. The state’s two current U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, regularly proclaim their love for the station. Heck, the line of elected advocates stretches back nearly uninterrupted all the way to 1993, when the legendary Daniel Patrick Moynihan began maneuvering money for the project into a series of federal appropriations for what, after his death, has come to be called Moynihan Station.

But walk over to Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street and up those grand marble steps. You can buy stamps from a couple of lonely mail clerks. In December, the worthy “Operation Santa Claus” sets up shop in an alcove off the lobby. Otherwise the building’s 1.4 million square feet are occupied by pigeons and wishful thinking. Across the street, below Madison Square Garden, 550,000 passengers a day continue to sweat, swear, and collide as they try to escape the depressing maze that is Penn Station.

Moynihan Station is the middle child of New York City development projects. Ground zero, which will always claim the greatest emotional attachment, is the firstborn. The West Side stadium, which can do no wrong in the eyes of its indulgent parents, is the favored baby of the family. Moynihan Station—earnestly playing by the rules, reluctant to complain—has been rewarded for its obedience by being ignored.

Last year, congressional Republicans took a run at rescinding money allocated to Moynihan Station. Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Congressman Jerry Nadler successfully beat back that challenge. Now the buzzards are circling again. The ballooning federal deficit has fueled a congressional scramble for any stray dollars; money that’s been sitting around unspent for more than a decade makes a tempting target. As does any money associated with Amtrak, which Republicans are trying to kill on ideological grounds.

Unlike ground zero or the West Side stadium, though, that’s as close as Moynihan Station has ever come to serious opposition. And still it can’t get built. One problem is that the station has suffered from the lack of a passionate, single-minded champion since the death of Senator Moynihan in 2003. Charles Gargano, the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, which controls the site, gets some praise from train-station proponents, but Gargano has been busy elsewhere. To run the Moynihan Station Development Corporation, which has day-to-day responsibility for building the facility, the governor selected a 45-year-old failed actor whose chief talent appears to be raising money for Pataki’s electoral campaigns.

Yet the person who may end up rescuing the train station has an even more unlikely résumé. She’s lived in India for much of her adult life, working with refugees. She’s also been a clothing designer and a comedienne. She’s completing a novel that will be published by Judith Regan. Still, this irrepressible 47-year-old divorced mom possesses one unbeatable qualification. She is Senator Moynihan’s only daughter, Maura.

“All these little games and eddies and detours in the torrent that is New York politics distract people from the real goal, which is building the station,” she says. “This project benefits all New Yorkers, and I want them to feel as frightened as I am. If the state and city continue to dawdle, this chance will be gone.”

For the past two years, Moynihan has been gently nagging politicians, trying to inject a sense of urgency into the project. In many respects, the train station couldn’t be better connected: Former Moynihan aides Bill Cunningham, Kevin Sheekey, Doug Schoen, and Ken Gross all now work for Mayor Bloomberg. Yet when Maura Moynihan called Dan Doctoroff last year, Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for economic development, Doctoroff—amazingly—told Moynihan he didn’t know much about the station’s prospects.

Recently, though, there’s been progress: Pataki and Gargano have struck deals to increase New Jersey Transit’s access to Moynihan Station, reducing the project’s reliance on Amtrak. Still, that progress highlights another absurdity: The current Penn Station handles ten times the number of passengers that are projected to pass through ground zero’s new PATH hub, yet the new downtown station has been awarded $2 billion in construction funding, while only $600 million is earmarked for Moynihan Station.

Meanwhile, the estimated cost of converting the post office has swelled from $315 million in 1993 to $1 billion today.

On May 2, Moynihan turned up the public-relations heat by throwing a station-boosting party inside the Farley building, attended by Bloomberg, Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Ray Kelly.

At the end of May, Gargano’s agency, after years of promising to choose a private developer to build the train station, heard presentations from three final suitors: Mort Zuckerman’s Boston Properties, Tishman Speyer, and a partnership of Vornado (Steven Roth) and the Related Companies (Stephen Ross).

“I don’t care which developer it is, as long as they pick a developer!” Maura Moynihan shouts. “Any developer!”

“If the state and the city continue to dawdle,” says Maura Moynihan,“this chance will be gone.”

The deal, including air rights, could net the state $500 million. But it might cost the city something less quantifiable: The train station could become an afterthought. Three years ago, ESDC decided to buy the entire property between Eighth and Ninth Avenues from the Postal Service, instead of simply the portion planned for the train station. As real-estate prices have skyrocketed, so has the attraction of using the Ninth Avenue side of the site to make a killing. The developers are proposing a commercial or residential tower be built behind the train station. At least one of the proposals would shrink the spectacular public room atop the train station that has been the centerpiece of the redesign. “

The train station is still the priority,” Gargano says. “We’ve made that clear to every developer. This is a very important project, and we’ve never given up on it.” He also promises a bold step forward, very soon: the selection of the winning developer “before the end of June. If we slip by a week, we slip.”

“I can be friends with anyone,” Maura Moynihan says, “as long as this station gets built.” Her approach is admirably pragmatic. Yet somewhere, perhaps in that great Senate cloakroom in the sky, Pat Moynihan must be sadly laughing at the foot-dragging politicians who have stalled his last great gift to the city.

June 7th, 2005, 08:31 AM
Silver will block this one to, since its on the westside and will require state money as well, just watch

June 7th, 2005, 04:22 PM
Silver will block this one to, since its on the westside and will require state money as well, just watch

I don't think Silver can block this one, and even if he could, what's he going to say?

The current Penn Station handles ten times the number of passengers that are projected to pass through ground zero’s new PATH hub, yet the new downtown station has been awarded $2 billion in construction funding, while only $600 million is earmarked for Moynihan Station.

Insane though he may be, this new Penn Station needs someone like the wild-eyed Silver screaming murder if plans for this station don't move forward.

June 8th, 2005, 11:01 AM
only thing i can say is this, that in 1966 there was a young city council man fighting hard to protect a place called radio row, that same man today complains that we dont care enough about ground zero

June 9th, 2005, 08:36 AM
only thing i can say is this, that in 1966 there was a young city council man fighting hard to protect a place called radio row, that same man today complains that we dont care enough about ground zero

I think Silver's pretense of blocking the stadium to "help" the WTC is starting to show. As more people are becoming aware, he got nothing for Downtown, and the Westside towers will eventually get built. The irony of it all is that the stadium itself will also get built. Silver should be ran out of his district, but only when those people begin to realize what happened....

June 12th, 2005, 03:36 PM
NY Times
June 12, 2005

A Center for Mail That May Include Rail

The General Post Office today. A new Penn Station is planned for the middle of the building.

THE old Pennsylvania Station, built in 1910 from Seventh to Eighth Avenue and 31st to 33rd Street, is still one of New York's most famous buildings, even though it was destroyed more than 40 years ago. But how many people take notice of its equally grand sibling, built in 1913 along Eighth Avenue just across from the station?

Since the late 1960's, the station's sibling, the massive General Post Office, has looked reproachfully down its large staircase at Madison Square Garden, the station's architecturally unworthy successor. So if the project for a new Penn Station comes to fruition, its second iteration will be west of Eighth, not east.

The Pennsylvania Railroad announced its plan for a station in Manhattan in 1901, to compete better with the rail lines using Grand Central Terminal. Passengers arriving on the Pennsylvania had to cross the Hudson River on ferries from New Jersey. The General Post Office was then at the south end of City Hall Park, three decades old and remote from much of the island.

Revenue from carrying the mail was important, so the railroad sought to have a post office built near its new station. It offered the blockfront to the west for what it said was far less than the market value. But The New York Times reported that members of the House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee objected that the government would wind up with "a chunk of space in the air," because the railroad reserved the right to run trains under the new building, and even required a large courtyard in the center, left open to the tracks below.

After dropping the requirement that daylight reach the tracks - which would have made a broad working floor for mail sorting impossible - the Postal Service accepted the railroad's offer of the 190,000-square-foot plot from 31st to 33rd.

The architectural firm McKim, Mead & White was already designing the new railroad station but still had to win a competition for the new General Post Office. Instead of the moody, deeply shadowed Doric style of the station, it chose for the new post office a Corinthian colonnade with a stiff Roman hauteur, made even less friendly by the vast flight of steps up from Eighth Avenue.

When trains began to run under the Hudson River in 1910, the new General Post Office was still in construction but was ready to handle 250 tons of mail a day with an intricate network of spiral chutes, conveyor belts, elevators, automatic tilting platforms and pneumatic tubes.

A 1913 review in The Architectural Record expressed satisfaction that the postal building was "expressive of the old ideals of the firm" but hesitantly described it as "militantly classic" and lamented that it did not form part of an entire civic center, perhaps facing the new New York Public Library at Fifth and 42nd. The review also noted "the somewhat cryptic legend" on the post office's frieze: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

The quote is based on an account by Herodotus of the couriers of King Xerxes of Persia, who served him during the Persian defeat by the Greeks at the battle of Salamis in the fifth century B.C.

The main lobby - behind the screen of columns on the Eighth Avenue front - is a high, vaulted space, with most of its writing tables, bronze work and plaster trim intact, although cluttered with wastebaskets, signs and other impedimenta. The ceiling is soiled and damaged by years of water leaks, but just discernible are intricate seals of nations cooperating with the United States in postal matters. A 1956 article in The Times said the original colors were light green, tan, rose and gold, but this polychromy is gone.

Beyond this narrow space only postal employees are allowed - but there is little of note. Above the main hall, on the second floor, runs a long suite of generously sized offices, simply finished but high-ceilinged, with oak furniture and trim - something like the administration building of an Ivy League college of the same period.

The rest of the building is a network of long, broad corridors of Pentagon-like scale, with individual offices for postal departments behind old-fashioned wire-and-glass doors. These are organized doughnut style around a big internal light court. The rear facade of the 1913 building - now covered by a 1935 extension to Ninth Avenue - was the side where trucks picked up and delivered mail, via a street running through the block.

In 1929, before the 1935 extension, the architect Francis Keally prepared a startling design for a Midtown airport, proposing a flat roof on top of the post office and the western half of Penn Station, extending across Eighth Avenue on arches of heroic scale.

McKim, Mead & White also designed the 1935 extension, which is rarely noticed. But the later facade is more agreeable than the one on Eighth. The old Penn Station got along just fine without a grand staircase, and the Ninth Avenue facade of the post office is also at grade level, less grand but much more approachable. The pink granite used in 1935 is warmer than the stone on the 1913 building. And a sculptural element over the main doorway on Ninth Avenue - two female figures flanking the seal of the United States - recalls the haunting "Day" and "Night" reliefs from the old train station.

Renamed in 1982 the James A. Farley Building, McKim, Mead & White's post office is due for major surgery later this decade, if plans by the Empire State Development Corporation come through. Ron Jury, a spokesman for the agency, says that it will choose a developer-architect team this summer to build a new Penn Station, using as a matrix the old General Post Office.

A general design was set out by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 2001: slice the building in half at the middle, restoring the old vehicular opening from 31st to 33rd Street. This would leave the post office in place behind its giant colonnade but create a new midblock entryway for a subgrade station. The light court in the center of the 1913 post office would be opened up to light the station below, and a huge metal and glass structure - like a flying saucer crashed sideways - would project up over the complex, providing a dramatic contrast with the original colonnade.

E-mail: streetscapes@nytimes.com

June 22nd, 2005, 08:11 AM

Final Decision Looms For Moynihan Station

by Matthew Schuerman

Toward the end of an industry luncheon one recent Wednesday, after the roast chicken but before the fruit torte, prominent real-estate lawyer Jonathan Mechanic announced that the Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust had landed the contract to develop the Farley Post Office at Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street into the next Grand Central Terminal.

It was, he explained, one of the keys to the development of the West Side—and, considering the Jets stadium proposal had just disintegrated two days earlier, the only key within reach.

It was a plum contract, as the developer would control 100,000 square feet of retail space, another 750,000 square feet of potential office space, plus one million square feet of air rights, all with significant tax breaks.

In other words, the project—the creation of the new Moynihan Station—will be not just the next Grand Central, but the next 10 Grand Centrals all at once. It was such a long-awaited project, dating back to the invention of the wheel, that the couple hundred real-estate-niks in the audience nodded knowingly. And then they looked around not so knowingly: Was there something in the paper about this that they missed?

There had been rumors on the Internet, to be sure, but in terms of a confirmed, signed, ready-for-the-publicity-department contract, no one had said a word. Mr. Mechanic nevertheless congratulated David Greenbaum, president of Vornado’s New York office division, sitting a few tables ahead of him, and asked how soon the station would be ready. Cushman and Wakefield C.E.O. Bruce Mosler, sitting on the dais as part of the day’s panel, chimed in. "Which is it, David? Two years or three?" He held up two fingers on his right hand, three in his left. The room erupted in laughter, but Mr. Greenbaum muttered something about being a public company and fell silent.

While a state official confirmed that the Related and Vornado partnership is indeed in final negotiations over the lease terms and price with the agency in charge of the project, the Empire State Development Corporation, so is Mortimer Zuckerman’s Boston Properties. To a lesser extent, the ESDC has also negotiated with another bidder, Tishman Speyer, which has partnered with Jones Lang LaSalle, the official said.

The final decision is to be made by the end of July, according to a state official. But then again, the ESDC had said some time ago that it would decide by January. And before that—well, it had named a developer once before for this project, four years ago, only to change the specs so significantly that it had to bid out again.

"We are in the final stages of our evaluation to select a developer for Moynihan Station," ESDC chairman Charles Gargano said in a prepared statement. "This project will be the catalyst for the development of the far West Side of midtown Manhattan."

The station’s appeal is obvious to just about everyone—except the people who were supposed to operate there. Indeed, this is the sort of project with many proponents and no opponents, and yet it is between five and seven years behind schedule, depending on whose timetable you’re using.

Politicians, including the late Senator for whom the station will be named, have long championed Moynihan Station as a way of making up for the loss of Pennsylvania Station, which was torn down to make way for Madison Square Garden four decades ago. No longer will thousands of commuters crawl like ants out of the fetid tunnels of Penn Station and squint when they see daylight. The Skidmore Owings & Merrill design would still put the train platforms underground—they have to be—but will open up the ceiling by means of a giant skylight.

It turns out, according to a few developers and planners, that the city doesn’t need a Jets stadium to develop the West Side, and it might not even need the No. 7 line extension, which was supposed to bring the subway west on 42nd Street to 11th Avenue and then south. And we’re not just talking residential development, which could be built on piers in the Hudson River and still sell in today’s voracious market. "The thing we’re really waiting for is the Farley Post Office," said one executive at a real-estate company. "Once that comes through, you’ll have commuters streaming through to Ninth Avenue and it will make that area that much more attractive to employers and retailers."

The office space in Moynihan Station—including a possible tower that would be put atop the rear post-office annex along Ninth Avenue—could well become the first commercial building to go up in the so-called Hudson Yards district. What’s more, if Moynihan Station becomes a commuter hub for New Jersey Transit, which is still unsettled, it would bring mass transit a block further west.

"We always thought that real-estate market would evolve out of Penn Station, which is already a central business district of a sort," said Anna Levin, co-chair of the land-use committee for Community Board 4 on the West Side. "We actually think it makes more sense that way—development will proceed along 34th Street as opposed to 11th Avenue, which is much further away."

Culture of Inertia

Indeed, political and business leaders are beginning to wipe away the tears they shed after the Jets stadium fell through, if they had shed any at all. Senator Charles Schumer decried, again, what he calls "the culture of inertia" during a recent appearance, though he had never taken a position for or against the stadium in the first place. And he believed that development would continue on the West Side, not only without the stadium but without the tax breaks that the Bloomberg administration was planning to extend to developers who would put up office towers nearby. Instead, he said, focus on the bringing the subway west and aim those incentives instead at Ground Zero, where 4.3 million square feet of office space is going up with only token tenants committed so far.

"Traditionally in this city, infrastructure alone is sufficient to induce development," the Senator said. "Once developers believe the No. 7 line extension is for real they will flock to the area and property values and concomitant property-tax collections will soar."

Many in his audience agreed. "What was important about the city’s incentives for the West Side was that they would bring about enough development quickly enough to get the subway line built in time for the Olympics," said Kathryn Wylde, the president of the Partnership for New York City, a Chamber of Commerce–type group. "Absent the pressure of the deadline of the Olympics, we don’t need the incentives."

A few feet away, William Rudin, the chairman of the Association for a Better New York, and a member of a prominent real-estate family himself, added, "I agree with the Senator that the focus has to be on lower Manhattan. For downtown, it’s critical to get these things done now. The West Side will happen down the road."

The Mayor is not so sure. Later in the day, spokesman Ed Skyler said Mayor Bloomberg is moving ahead with both the No. 7 extension and the tax incentives. "We share the Senator’s beliefs that public money should not be wasted on unnecessary tax breaks," Mr. Skyler said. "These are targeted incentives approved 45 to two by the City Council and designed to provide jobs, affordable housing, park land and tax revenues. We have no plans to scale back the incentives."

How much of a difference the $600 million Farley makeover—not counting the money the developer will spend preparing office and retail space—is going to make on the West Side depends on when, or even whether, it gets made over. The Farley building—call it Moynihan Station if you are optimistic—has become the poster child of a bureaucracy that moves about as fast as the M23 bus. But it’s also an example of a project pushed from above with little support from below. It is easy to see how a pretty building can instill civic spirit and please the public, but will it get people to take more trains? Many agencies are involved, and it’s not clear how many of them are really excited about it to pay for it (though almost all of the money has already been committed). Contrast that to the Grand Central Terminal renovation, which was certainly primed and prodded from outside, but fell squarely in the M.T.A.’s hands. The renovation of Union Station in Washington, D.C.—the other major template—was created by and for Amtrak.

The U.S. Postal Service, after first balking, finally came around as a partner in the project after the state offered to buy the building and lease back a portion. (The post office will still operate there, but in a smaller space.)

Amtrak, for whom this new station supposedly was being built, bailed out on the project a year ago, battered fiscally and politically. But from the get-go, the technical parameters of subterranean space would have limited how much good Amtrak would have gotten out of it. Passengers could have entered the tracks from Moynihan, according to Amtrak spokesman Clifford Black, but for the most part they would have ended up backtracking east toward Penn Station. That’s because the project never called for moving the tracks or the platforms, just the entrances to them.

A state official involved in the project counters that it was Amtrak that came up with the idea of redoing Farley in the first place, and it did so to relieve crowding on the eastern ends of the platforms most accessible from Penn Station. Amtrak, according to the official, was planning to keep Penn Station open even if it followed through on Farley.

Still, according to an individual familiar with the layout of the tracks, just nine of Amtrak’s 21 tracks have platforms that extend more than 200 feet below Farley. The longest ones, which measure a total of 1,600 feet, have about a quarter of their length actually below Farley.

New Jersey Transit is the leading contender to replace Amtrak, and the state hopes to sign an agreement about how much the commuter rail will contribute to the project by July 31. Yet New Jersey Transit, which uses Amtrak’s tracks, will find itself in a similar position, and is still expected to retain facilities in Penn Station as well. Still, with traffic growing quickly on its tracks, New Jersey Transit needs all the space it can get its hands on.

The Long Island Rail Road may also use Moynihan—but again, primarily as an access point. The LIRR’s parent agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has committed $35 million to extend a concourse below Farley’s Eighth Avenue steps that will connect its various tracks, according to a state official.

There are those, including Senator Moynihan’s daughter Maura, who believe that the technical difficulties of conforming to one user or another is something that can be overcome, given enough willpower, and that such willpower will increase exponentially once a developer comes on board.

"The reason the choice of developer is so important is that we will have all that energy and talent that the private sector brings with it," says Ms. Moynihan, who has founded the Moynihan Station Citizens Group to advocate completion. "The stadium debate consumed everyone’s attention. Now we can refocus on Moynihan Station."

Hold out those fingers again, Mr. Mosler. How many do you see?

June 22nd, 2005, 09:31 AM
My guess of the winning Vornado/Related proposal:


TLOZ Link5
June 22nd, 2005, 11:59 AM
What's the likelihood of moving Amtrak to Grand Central once Moynihan is completed? At least then, MSG can be demolished and replaced with something worthwhile.

June 22nd, 2005, 12:11 PM
Who is the architect of the winning scheme?

June 22nd, 2005, 12:24 PM
What's the likelihood of moving Amtrak to Grand Central once Moynihan is completed? At least then, MSG can be demolished and replaced with something worthwhile.

Remote. The tracks have nowhere else to go and Amtrak is certainly not going to pay for any tunneling to replace them.

My guess is that by the time this gets moving, Amtrak (or the state) will reconsider and be included in the plan. It is insane not to have Amtrak (or its successor) included in this train station...even though their actual ridership levels are far under NJtransit's. Maybe once the Acela gets back up and running.

June 22nd, 2005, 01:01 PM
What's the likelihood of moving Amtrak to Grand Central once Moynihan is completed? At least then, MSG can be demolished and replaced with something worthwhile.

What does MSG have to do with Amtrak? Amtrak can't go to Grand Central because there are no tracks from the Northeast Corridor to Grand Central. You would have to spend billions on a tunnel from Penn Station to Grand Central.

Keep in mind that Penn Station is being expanded, not replaced. The existing LIRR, NJ Transit and Amtrak concourses will all be incorporated into the new station. The tracks already run under the new site and the platforms will be lengthened.

June 22nd, 2005, 02:28 PM
Yes I don't think Amtrak will move to Grand Central. I think they should move to the New Penn Station. Just leave the Long Island Rail Road for MSG.

I take Amtrak sometimes and the ceiling in that tunnel is just horrible looking. It is the worst Amtrak platforms on a big city that I have seen.

Please this is NYC they should concider again to create a new platform on a new location as in the new Penn Station..

June 22nd, 2005, 02:48 PM
Yes I don't think Amtrak will move to Grand Central. I think they should move to the New Penn Station. Just leave the Long Island Rail Road for MSG.

I take Amtrak sometimes and the ceiling in that tunnel is just horrible looking. It is the worst Amtrak platforms on a big city that I have seen.

Please this is NYC they should concider again to create a new platform on a new location as in the new Penn Station..

Again, Penn Station is being expanded, not replaced. The current platforms are already under the Farley Building. MSG has nothing to do with the current or the expanded Penn Station. The current underground Penn Station will continue to exist, but will be expanded into the Farley Building.

June 22nd, 2005, 09:14 PM
The only train serving Grand Central is Metro North, correct? Penn has LIRR,AMTRAK,NJTransit and PATH, correct? Both have the subways, of course.

June 22nd, 2005, 09:30 PM
Path doesn't got to Penn. Its over on 6th Ave.

June 22nd, 2005, 09:49 PM
Oh okay, Gracias Senor Garcia!

June 23rd, 2005, 12:03 AM
Aschwartz- will the Penn Station concourses/waiting areas above the platforms also remain? If so, which railroads plan to use Penn station's facilities versus those across the street?

June 23rd, 2005, 10:13 AM
This project will affect the passenger areas of Penn Station only; no track work and very little platform work are involved. Instead of being directed eastward into the current Penn Station, NJ Transit passengers (and hopefully, eventually, Amtrak passengers) will be directed westward into the new Moynihan Station. For the most part, the trains themselves will stop in the same locations as they do currently.

Now, there are other proposed projects for Penn Station that may change some of this:

1. Long-term plan for new trans-Hudson tunnel ("Access to the Region's Core"). To increase NJ Transit and Amtrak capacity across the river, there are plans for a new tunnel. This would require a new station somewhere in Midtown. Many ideas have been floated for where this should be located... one leading proposal is a deep station under 34th Street, below and just north of the existing Penn Station tracks. More information on this project can be found here:

2. Short-term plan for new track capacity at Penn Station. As part of the ARC project above, several track reconfiguation proposals are being considered. One idea is to lengthen tracks 1-4 westward, which would also fit well the Moynihan project.

3. While it may not seem related, the project to connect the LIRR with Grand Central Station ("East Side Access") will also have implications for Penn. Most immediately, it will remove about half of the LIRR trains arriving there, freeing up a tremendous amount of track and passenger capacity for other purposes. One possible way to fill this capacity: begin running Metro-North trains to Penn Station. More about these projects can be found here:

4. Plans for direct Midtown/JFK Airport rail service, which were included in the original New Penn Station proposal, but seem to have fallen off the radar.

TLOZ Link5
June 23rd, 2005, 12:51 PM
What does MSG have to do with Amtrak? Amtrak can't go to Grand Central because there are no tracks from the Northeast Corridor to Grand Central. You would have to spend billions on a tunnel from Penn Station to Grand Central.

Keep in mind that Penn Station is being expanded, not replaced. The existing LIRR, NJ Transit and Amtrak concourses will all be incorporated into the new station. The tracks already run under the new site and the platforms will be lengthened.

Desperate pipe dream, is all :-)

But wouldn't trains out of Grand Central at the very least be able to run on the Empire Service route?

June 23rd, 2005, 12:58 PM
Desperate pipe dream, is all :-)

But wouldn't trains out of Grand Central at the very least be able to run on the Empire Service route?

Indeed, they used to but Amtrak recently spent a bit to bring them down the west side into Penn instead of Grand Central so that connections to the NE corridor trains would be convenient.

June 23rd, 2005, 02:08 PM
But wouldn't trains out of Grand Central at the very least be able to run on the Empire Service route?
They could also run to Boston.

June 24th, 2005, 02:33 PM
does anybody know when the station will actually be finished( tower + glass entrance thing)?

June 24th, 2005, 02:47 PM
No - go back to post #206 for the latest news on it.

June 24th, 2005, 07:30 PM
My guess of the winning Vornado/Related proposal:


That's the best from what we've seen. It works better with the new Penn Station design.

June 24th, 2005, 08:31 PM
This area is going to take off big time with new tall towers! I am so excited!

Also remember the Tower that Brookfield wants to built close by! With 2,500,000 Square Footage! :) I cant wait to see that design!

June 27th, 2005, 01:43 PM
Where did the tower come from? all of the previous designs had an entrance pavillion. Was the tower just added or was it hidden ?

June 27th, 2005, 02:33 PM
Where did the tower come from? all of the previous designs had an entrance pavillion. Was the tower just added or was it hidden ?

It was one of the several proposals that were released recently, not just added.

June 27th, 2005, 02:58 PM
That tower is a huge mistake. Noooo!

It makes the station look like a "facility" rather than a grand, "single-use" building. It looks like a compromise.... a "solution". The original Penn Station, Grand Central, the great stations of Europe are extravagant... a train station in the grand tradition is NO compromise.

I can understand grafting a tower onto a modern complex like the MOMA, but imagine Grand Central, the Public Library, The Metropolitain Museum with high-rises grafted on to their sides. They would no longer be great buildings.

This is heartbreaking.

TLOZ Link5
June 27th, 2005, 03:17 PM
Fab, perhaps you forget that the MetLife Building is grafted onto the north facade of Grand Central, and the Graybar Building and former Commodore Hotel are connected to its east facade.

Grand Central's true success was in its revolutionary urban planning as opposed to its architecture: it catalyzed the development of the area surrounding it, and is more responsible for the emergence of Midtown over Downtown as a prime business center than Penn Station was. The "old" Penn's ultimate weakness was that McKim, Mead & White refused to allow a similar complex to develop around their terminal around that same time because they considered skyscrapers antiurban. The area around Penn was lowrise until the "modernization" in the '60s, when in addition to suffering the loss of McKim's masterpiece we got the insipidness of Penn Plaza compared to the refinement of Terminal City, sans MetLife.

If you ask me, this tower looks infinitely less intrusive than MetLife.

June 27th, 2005, 03:47 PM
Was the Metlife building "grafted" on to GCentral destroying part of the building, or is it set along side of GCentral with a connecting entrance?

Even so...

Ask any NYer: " What´s your least favorite building in Manhattan?"

9 out of 10 will mention the MetLife and MANY site the building´s postion for their negative opinion.

So why pull a "MetLifer" on the new Penn Station?

The refinement of Terminal City complex (GC, Graybar and the hotels) was that the buildings stood "alone" or were at least visually "read" that way, even though connected ....and there was a similarity in materials and architectural styles.

This tower looks, from the rendering, like an alien eating a BIG chunk out of the post office.

And... and perhaps most importantly... these classic-style buildings were ALL about symmetry.

At least the despised Metlife allows GCentral to maintain this important element to it´s design.

This tower destroy´s the symmetric integrity of the roman inspired post office.

June 27th, 2005, 04:12 PM
Fabrizio - Grand Central has no north nor east facade - both have buildings abutting them, which is a shame, because the beaux-arts architecture is so beautiful. Functionally, TLOZ is correct that it's Grand Central's planning that made it such as success - buildings have touted their direct access to the terminal since it was built, and I think a tower would only add to the appeal of the facility. Met life is one of the most desirable addresses because of it's proximity to metro north and all those suburbanites, and density will only make the new terminal more alive. The function is great, the form is what people have a beef with (and its siting as TLOZ said in the ugliest building thread)

That said, I hope they don't destroy any of the farley building's facade in the final design... they should preserve it as with the new Hearst Building.

June 27th, 2005, 04:27 PM
Ryan: let´s do it this way. Let me take TLOZ´s quote from the "ugly building" thread about the MetLife:

"An excellent tower, but in the worst possible spot, walking up Park Avenue and severely diminishing the gracious urbanity of the Helmsley Building by overshadowing it".

Now for my sentiments about this new tower (judging from the rendering shown ) at the new Penn Station:

"An excellent tower, but in the worst possible spot, severely diminishing the gracious urbanity of the original post office building by overshadowing it and destroying it´s classic symmetry".

June 27th, 2005, 06:27 PM
I disagree. If the West Side market starts to heat up (as it seems to be) then the new Penn will most likely be overshadowed by many towers. However, 800 by 400 feet of classicism will not be easily subdued - I think to the average pedestrian the Farley will hold its weight among the towers. Straining my eyes to see this in the rendering, it looks like the tower sticks out past the existing wall on the north side (if I remember correctly there's about a 30 foot setback around most of the building), so it looks like at least a couple hundred feet of facade will come down. Then again I was squinting and that's a vague picture.

Speaking of which, what will become of the loading docks and such that surround the post office?

June 27th, 2005, 06:45 PM
Now for my sentiments about this new tower (judging from the rendering shown ) at the new Penn Station:

"An excellent tower, but in the worst possible spot, severely diminishing the gracious urbanity of the original post office building by overshadowing it and destroying it´s classic symmetry".

Not a very useful comparison... MetLife's siting astride park ave is offensive because it blocks miles of open vista, which would be so much more beautiful with only Helmsley and GC. Farley is mid block, so there is nothing to block. Granted, I liked the originial sketches with no tower best myself, but I don't think a tower done well will ruin the design. Again, I point to Hearst.

June 27th, 2005, 07:28 PM
Where did the tower come from? all of the previous designs had an entrance pavillion. Was the tower just added or was it hidden ?

It's still there, as it always has been. Regardless of the design of the tower, that's the one constant of the new Penn Station design.

June 27th, 2005, 09:01 PM
what will become of the loading docks and such that surround the post office?

It looks like they are maintaining the existing loading docks along 9th Ave. The plan is for Post Office business to remain on that side of the block, yes?

alex ballard
June 28th, 2005, 06:28 AM
Fabrizo: I understand your view on why there shouldn't be a tower there. But here's the part NO ONE here gets:

1) less office space equals more expense

2) More expense means companies leave NYC

3) When companies leave, reisdents leave

4) We go from 8 to 7 to 6 million...

5) LA is the new financial capital of the world! w00t!

Pack some shades guys, cause NY's over. It's LA all the way baby! ::cool::

June 28th, 2005, 07:37 AM
Alex: "less office space equals more expense". Alex would you please answer this: not including the loss of the WTC, isn´t there more office space in NYC now than ever before... and certainly more planned? Yet if "MORE office space means LESS expense" why on earth is the cost of living and doing business in NYC higher than ever before?

And following your logic: operating in LA must cost LESS now than ever before because there is more office space... is this true? Can you back that up with some facts? Are you telling us that office rents and cost of living in LA have come DOWN in the last 5 or 10 years? Just curious.


My objection to the glass tower as an appendage sprouting out of the right side of the roman inspired post office building is an aesthetic consideration. That the station will eventually be overshadowed by other towers, or that this tower makes economic sense is all well and good.... but guess what? It´s still an ugly solution that ruins the symmetry of the building.

This solution can´t be compared to the Hearst building. The original Hearst Building was actually the base of a skyscraper to come.

alex ballard
June 28th, 2005, 07:50 AM
You didn't clarify why.

In response, no, it doesn't seem to bright. I'm thinking a office buidling that reflects the station would be better.

My original response was crafted towards your recent views on building.

As for office space, evenutally, that will be the case.

June 28th, 2005, 08:20 AM
Alex, let me ask you again:

If "less office space equals more expense".....

Would you please answer this: not including the loss of the WTC, isn´t there more office space in NYC now than ever before... and certainly more planned?

Yet if "MORE office space means LESS expense" why on earth is the cost of living and doing business in NYC HIGHER than ever before?

Would you answer that please?

And following your logic: operating in LA must cost LESS now than ever before because there is more office space... is this true? Can you back that up with some facts? Are you telling us that office rents and cost of living in LA have come DOWN in the last 5 or 10 years? Just curious.

Thanks in advance.

alex ballard
June 28th, 2005, 08:23 AM
They're high for a variety of reasons.

I don't have to explain myself, for one reason:

In 20 years, when your buddies manage to wipe NYC off the economic map, everything I said will have been true. Everything.

Time will prove me right.

June 28th, 2005, 08:46 AM
I asked you some very simple questions about your "theory", but all I get is:

"I don't have to explain myself"

Funny, I kinda thought you´d give that sort of intelligent, well reasoned answer...

No Alex... it doesn´t work that way. That´s not how to debate an issue. If your statements are true, then you back them up. Obviously you can´t. You can´t ....because your theory is full of holes.

alex ballard
June 28th, 2005, 09:18 AM
...like swiss cheese, baby!

No, seriously. Your fighting basic supply and demand. Any numbers from "Forbes" or "Inc" is not going to talk about that. I'm talking about office space.

Right now, you win. There is a lot of office space. According to Newyorkbiz.com, Midtown is running at a 10% vacany. But we're in a bad economy. We need room to expand for the good economy.

It's all economics. Proff? Go to howstuffworks.com and type in "Economy". It will tell you right there.

More Apartments=less price
Less Apartments=more price

Ready for more facts?

Look at Tribeca and Soho. Pricy right? How many new units of housing are being built there. Now look at Brooklyn and Queens. Less expensive? More housing.

There's all the proof you need.

June 28th, 2005, 09:20 AM
Not a very useful comparison... MetLife's siting astride park ave is offensive because it blocks miles of open vista, which would be so much more beautiful with only Helmsley and GC. Farley is mid block, so there is nothing to block. Granted, I liked the originial sketches with no tower best myself, but I don't think a tower done well will ruin the design. Again, I point to Hearst.

The metlife building has become this cliche that everyone loves to hate -- it destroys the views, yada, yada, yada... but let's be honest you get straight shot views up and down every avenue -- only park avenue takes on that special quality precisely because it is blocked by metlife -- as the buildings get taller towards to GC super-clump it's like the whole city of glass towers, those icons of global capitalism are rising in this crazy crescendo that is the metlife tower. Also, in its colossal flatness the metlife doesn't diminish the helmsley or the GC but provides a great backdrop -- look at it... without the GC the helmesly, though nice, would be a narrow object with space rushing around it and the GC would be too low to make an impact from far down park avenue south... with the metlife building their the entire area has a far more defined spatial character. I'm an architect, and I walk around that area all the time with friends who tell me they hate the metlife building-- when i ask them why the always give the same reasons, and after i make them aware of these points and ask them to look again they start to realize that it ain't so bad... it's the nouveau-post-modern-fake brick monstrosity's on the upper east side we should be complaining about.

June 28th, 2005, 09:34 AM
Again you´ve completely ignored my simple questions to your original post. Not a good sign Alex.

Further more:

If the: "More Apartments=less price....Less Apartments=more price" theory is true, why do apartment prices just keep rising? Do you HONESTLY expect Manhattan to become a cheaper place to live now that more housing is being built there?


"Look at Tribeca and Soho. Pricy right? How many new units of housing are being built there. Now look at Brooklyn and Queens. Less expensive? More housing".

Brooklyn and Queens are not less expensive than Soho because there is more housing there. LOL. They are less expensive because they are less desirable.

And yet even so, there is much, much more living space in Soho and Tribeca than 5 or 10 years ago...why have´t prices gone down?

alex ballard
June 28th, 2005, 11:22 AM
You want proff costs are hurting NYC's position as a world leader?:



Go ahead and tell me it's not "costs". What else could it be? And it specifclly says LA is doing better too.

Now what do you say?

June 28th, 2005, 11:25 AM
They're high for a variety of reasons.

I don't have to explain myself, for one reason:

In 20 years, when your buddies manage to wipe NYC off the economic map, everything I said will have been true. Everything.

Time will prove me right.

Alex, you do have to explain yourself - that's the whole point of this forum - we all post our ideas and make arguments to support them. Your argumentative posts are detracting from other people's experience of this forum, and I'd ask you to stop. Look how off topic you took this thread - you're talking about LA replacing NYC the financial capital, yadda yadda when this is about the farley building conversion.

Please contribute more thoughtful posts that add to the forum.

alex ballard
June 28th, 2005, 11:26 AM
As for your above post: Housing prices are high becasue that's what people are using to invest. It's called a housing bubble. When it bursts, my theroy will prove true.

Also, You're in Tuscany. How can you relate to growth when Italy is losing people? I heard the average Italian has 0.8 kids. That's stagnation if you ask me. Which is why Europe is dying.

June 28th, 2005, 11:43 AM
The metlife building has become this cliche that everyone loves to hate -- it destroys the views, yada, yada, yada...

It's a commendably optimistic point of view to appreciate the metlife for the contrast it provides to the other buildings. I'll use that next time I feel like playing devil's advocate...

June 28th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Please stay on topic.

Alex, check your PMs.