Well, that confirms what I remember --plus some.
It sure took a long time. They removed the columns one by one without smashing them. Stored them in New Jersey, where --like Jimmy Hoffa-- they eventually vanished.
The picture I found most interesting is the on with the Ground Bus Station. Where exactly was that located? I work in the area and always walk around trying to place things the way they were and I would like to see where it was.
The photo that got your attention was taken by Bernice Abbott in 1936 and shows the Greyhound Bus Station against the background of the north (33rd Street) side of Pennsylvania Station. The bus station occupied part of the block bounded by 33rd-34th Streets and 7th-8th Avenues, most of which is now filled by the 1 Penn Plaza office building. Please shed a tear whenever passing by 1PP.
Last edited by ManhattanKnight; April 29th, 2008 at 12:12 PM.
Firstly, what fantastic photographs of an amazing building. I am seeking information and/or photographs relating to William H. "Big Bill" Egan, the first Station Master from 1910 until circa 1935 (He died in 1943.) Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Also, does anyone have photographs of the Station Master's office and know the location during the period 1910-1940?
What happened to those eagle sculptures?
Also, with the benefit of hindsight, what might Penn Railroad have done to become profitable without completely demolishing this station? Or was it a futile battle to begin with?
All of my architecture books are still at my (unsold) house on Long Island, so I don't have ready reference to what I have concerning Penn Station. I do know that some of the eagles were SAVED and moved around the country.
I believe one is outside the existing Penn Station. Another MAY be at Flushing Meadow Park. And I vaguely recall that another was moved to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Perhaps someone here can confirm some of this?
It will interest you to know that part of one of destroyed Day/Night sculptures from Penn Station resides in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum.
(PS - Long time viewers of WNY will note that your humble senior WNY member, Bob from Scottsdale, refrained from making a smarmy, cornball remark here about the "peaceful easy feeling" Eagles. )
Last edited by Bob; January 30th, 2009 at 11:55 PM. Reason: Good grammar in lieu of good taste!
(Pics at link ^^^ )
Lorraine B. Diehl, in her comprehensive history of Penn Station, The Late Great Pennsylvania Station:, writes:
... the first of the six stone eagles that guarded the entrance was coaxed from its aerie and lowered to the ground. The captive bird was surrounded by a group of officials wearing hard hats. They clustered about their trophy and smiled for photographers. Once the servants of the sun, symbols of immortality, the stone birds that had perched atop the station now squatted on a city street, penned in by sawhorses as their station came down around them.
In all there were twenty-two eagles crowning the station, each weighing fifty-seven hundred pounds, each given its form by the noted sculptor Adolph A. Weinman...
Two of the stone eagles were rescued and placed outside the new entrance.
This Penn Station eagle has found its way to the courtyard of a building on 3rd Avenue near St. Marks Place. (Note: This is a Cooper Union Building on the north side of Astor Place, sharing the block with the big Starbucks on the corner)
The Philadelphia eagles: Two of the Penn Station eagles have made their way to the western end of the Market Street bridge over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA. photos: Rochelle Rabin
Two more, meanwhile, flank the entrance to the main building at the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, Long Island.
It is easy to get nostalgic about a monumental structure you don't remember. In reality Penn Station in its last days was just like other big-city train stations: dirty, neglected, largely infested with bums, transients, largely nonwhite vagrants, with little of a wholesome class of people to redeem it. The whole place stank of lavatory disinfectant. When they wanted to get rid of Penn Station, they were really doing a Robert Moses—hoping to cleanse the city of those unforunate classes and types of people who presented an eyesore.
It was easier to tear down Penn Station than to clean it up. Just the political reality of the time.
I doubt it would have made a difference in public attitude if the building was squeaky clean.
The railroad was bleeding money; passenger rail travel was out of favor; and preservation was a minority opinion. Out with the old; in with the new.
A decade later, Grand Central Terminal was similarly smelly and infested with bums, and the city was in greater economic distress. But public opinion had begun to change.
Also, the architectural style was at the age when styles go out of favor.
In Boston, few rise to defend City Hall against calls for its demolition --and the ones who do are ovious eggheads. Brutalism is at its nadir of popularity, and the building is dirty. What do you expect?
The economic downturn is helping keep it alive; there are no funds for a new building. If it can survive till Brutalism becomes an object of veneration among the soi-disant cognoscenti...
To really preserve + save the Brutalist MSG (Penn's replacement) would mean that The Garden would have to be stripped of all the exterior additions (pimples and carbuncles) which have been added over the years.
In its pure & original cylindrical form MSG held some interest. But now it's an ugly mess.
"But now it's an ugly mess".
As is a team that currently occupies it
One of the most significant architectural assets of the Garden is it's descending roof, which is unlike any other professional sports arena
I agree Lofter that the current garden exterior is an eyesore, which is sad considering the majestic place that stood on this site before (which also was befelled by neglect on a much larger, almost criminal scale). Most have probably already seen the future interior renovations HERE. But I haven't seen much on any exterior plans. Hopefully any exterior renovations will retain the cylindrical shape that so defines it.
There'll never be a new Penn Station, will there?