Credit: SOM/ Office of Governor Cuomo on Flickr
The long-awaited new Moynihan Train Hall will be completed on December 31 with trains operating the next day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday. The $1.6 billion project expands the existing Penn Station into the historic James A. Farley Post Office Building on Eighth Avenue and is part of a new mixed-use transit hub with office space and retail at the site. Named for the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the new train hall is expected to increase the cramped concourse space at Penn Station by 50 percent.
Photo of the train hall’s skylight under construction in 2018; Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office on Flickr
“New Yorkers have known for decades that Penn Station needed to be reimagined — and after years of work, the Moynihan Train Hall will open on time and on budget at the end of 2020,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“This monumental accomplishment is a shot of hope as we come out of one of darkest periods in our history and sends a clear message to the world that while we suffered greatly as a result of this once-in-a-century health crisis, the pandemic did not stop us from dreaming big and building for the future. The new Moynihan Train Hall is the embodiment of New York Tough.”
Along with the state’s Empire State Development, a team made up of Vornado Realty Trust, Related Companies, Skanska USA, and architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill kicked off construction of the project in 2017, transforming the Midtown landmark into a mixed-use site with commercial space and the new transit hub. Moynihan Train Hall is connected to Penn Station by passageways underground and houses Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road.
The main hall’s 92-foot-high skylight is a restoration of the structure’s original 1912 steel trusses. When the structure was built in 1913, the postal workers sorting mail needed natural light to see what they were doing, explaining why the entire ceiling was a skylight, as 6sqft previously noted.
Measuring over 255,000 square feet, the train hall will be larger than Grand Central’s main concourse. There are dining and retail on its second-story mezzanine, expanded waiting areas, free public WiFi throughout the transit center, and a dedicated lounge for nursing mothers.
Renderings of Facebook’s future office space at the Farley Building courtesy of Vornado Realty Trust
In August, Vornado announced that Facebook signed a lease for all 730,000 square feet of office space at the Farley Building. In response to the news, Cuomo said the deal represents New York’s resilience as it continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. “Vornado’s and Facebook’s investment in New York and commitment to further putting down roots here – even in the midst of a global pandemic – is a signal to the world that our brightest days are still ahead and we are open for business,” Cuomo said in August.
During his 2020 State of the State address in January, Cuomo announced a proposal to revamp Penn Station further by expanding Penn Station southward to create the Empire Station District. The plan, first introduced by the governor in 2016, would create a new terminal south of the existing site and add eight new tracks, increasing train capacity by 40 percent at the station. The expansion would be the first at the station since its foundation was completed in 1910, according to the governor.
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