Courtesy of Amtrak
Courtesy of Amtrak
It’s been more than half a century since “beautiful” and “Penn Station” were used in the same sentence.
New York’s maligned train station just got a major upgrade.
Unless you visited New York City before the 1960s, traveling through Penn Station meant navigating a dismal subterranean maze below Madison Square Garden. Now, more than a half century after the original Beaux-Arts style train station was razed, Penn Station has regained some of its former splendor with the opening of the new Moynihan Train Hall on January 1, 2021.
Located inside the old Farley Post Office building, the new train hall is named after the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who championed this project as early as the 1990s. The former postal building—built in 1912 by the same architects as the original Penn Station—is located just across from Madison Square Garden and connects to Penn Station underneath Eighth Avenue.
The 255,000-square-foot boarding concourse features a nearly 100-foot-high skylight underneath which passengers will be able to catch both Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Amtrak trains, including the new Acela fleet set to debut in late 2021. Commuters using New Jersey Transit can also access those trains through connected passageways underneath Eighth Avenue to the existing parts of Penn Station.
Additionally, Amtrak has opened new ticket offices, baggage areas, and customer waiting rooms, including its flagship Metropolitan Lounge for passengers traveling in Amtrak premium cabins like Acela First Class or sleeping cars. Even if you’re not catching a train, the new concourse is worth visiting to admire installations by such renowned artists as Kehinde Wiley, Stan Douglas, and Elmgreen & Dragset.
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By adding Moynihan Train Hall, the entire Penn Station complex will stretch underground from Ninth Avenue to Seventh Avenue, giving passengers more room to spread out while they wait to catch their trains. And if lockdown means you won’t be catching a train to New York anytime soon, you can still take a virtual tour of the new space at vimeo.com.
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