Penn Station

Architecture, Construction Update, Major Developments, Midtown West

After starting construction last summerSkidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM)‘s reimagined Moynihan Train Hall is now beginning to take shape. Part of Governor Cuomo’s Empire Station Complex revamp of Penn Station, the old James A. Farley Post Office will be transformed into a crystal palace-esque boarding concourse with a 92-foot high skylight atop the 1913 building’s original steel trusses. CityRealty recently got an exclusive aerial look at how construction is progressing on the glass skylights ahead of the Train Hall’s anticipated 2020 opening.

See more construction shots

Transportation

grand central terminal, amtrak, intercity rail service

Grand Central Terminal; image via Wikimedia

Last year, when Amtrak first announced eight weeks of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station, all hell broke loose. Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted the planned work would cause a “summer of hell” for commuters and even asked President Donald Trump for emergency federal funds. But, to the surprise of many, the disruption proved to be mild and the repairs even finished ahead of schedule. Promising another painless process, Amtrak announced on Tuesday plans for track work at Penn Station again this summer. From May 26 to Sept. 4, trains that run along the Hudson River will be routed from Penn Station to Grand Central. Schedules for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains will remain unaffected.

More details here

Major Developments, Midtown West

Penn-Farley Complex, Moynihan Station, Farley Post Office, Moynihan Train Hall

Rendering courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill via Gov. Cuomo’s office

Recognizing life sciences as New York City’s next largest growth sector, Vornado Realty Trust and Related Companies hope to attract tech companies to the redevelopment of the James A. Farley Post Office. The joint venture will develop 850,000 square feet of commercial space, with roughly 730,000 square feet set aside for office space. The developers, which have a 99-year lease, are seeking biotechnology and pharmaceutical businesses as tenants, according to the Wall Street Journal. The team has hired a Boston-based broker with experience in the life-sciences real-estate market and has also created a brochure with possible designs for laboratory and office space. The brochure is titled “Moynihan Research Center at Farley.”

Find out more

Midtown West, Policy, Transportation

Photo outside Penn Station via Maciek Lulko/Flickr

Less than one week before the state’s deadline to adopt its budget, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the “New York Pennsylvania Station Area Redevelopment Project,” a state-controlled development area around Penn Station. In the constant one-upmanship between Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, this would give Cuomo control over one of Manhattan’s top name-brand landmarks, according to a draft proposal acquired by Politico.

More details ahead

City Living, Technology, Transportation

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

If you’ve ever found yourself lost in a maze of corridors or trampled in a boarding stampede at Penn Station, help may have arrived in the form of yet another useful mobile app. Beginning this week, Amtrak will offer a free app, FindYourWay, that helps travelers–65,000 of whom pass through the station each day–find their way through the station and avoid the crush of crowds that form around electronic boards announcing train departures, the New York Times reports.

Find out more

Architecture, Midtown West, Transportation, Urban Design

Drawing of the original Penn Station, re-created. Credit: Jeff Stikeman for Rebuild Penn Station

In August 6sqft reported that major work was underway in the $1.6 billion transformation of Penn Station’s James A. Farley Building into a state-of-the-art, 225,000-square-foot “world-class 21st century transportation hub” called Moynihan Train Hall. That hasn’t stopped the flow of suggestions for how to best make use of New Yorkers’ un-favorite transport hub, which have included Practice for Architecture and Urbanism founder Vishaan Chakrabarti’s proposal to repurpose, then move the old building to create a neighborhood gathering spot and a plan by Columbia University’s DeathLab  to turn the the station into a landscaped cemetery. Among those voices-with-a-vision is Rebuild Penn Station, a group of architects and preservationists whose intent is to recreate the original McKim, Mead and White-designed Penn Station, and a new ad campaign aims to get commuters on board (h/t Curbed).

Find out more

Policy, Transportation

amtrak, penn station, summer of hell

Amtrak workers setting concrete on track 10 at Penn Station this summer, image via Amtrak

Amtrak announced on Monday its plan for the second phase of track renewal projects for Penn Station, set to begin this winter. Between January 5 and May 28 of next year, there will be continuous single-track closures, affecting Amtrak and commuter train operation at the Midtown transit hub. While similar to the infrastructure repairs that took place for eight weeks this past June, dubbed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as the “summer of hell,” the impact will be less severe for commuters and most of the work will take place on the weekends.

More here

Green Design, Midtown West, Urban Design

MSG reimagined as a cemetery (L); Memorial walls in the subway stations (R). Via DeathLab

The rant that traveling via Penn Station is enough to kill you just took on a whole new meaning. Untapped Cities shared this vision from Columbia University’s DeathLab (yes, this is a group dedicated to dealing with death in the city) that reimagines Penn Station and Madison Square Garden as a giant cemetery and public space. The general idea is to be more eco-friendly and accessible. Not only will the human remains be used to fertilize the gardens, but family members and the general public will be able to record digital memories to be stored on a central server.

Learn more about this proposal

Midtown West

Penn-Farley Complex, Moynihan Station, Farley Post Office, Moynihan Train Hall

Earlier this month, New York City officially pitched four neighborhoods to house Amazon’s HQ2: Long Island City, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, Lower Manhattan and Midtown West. During its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday, Vornado Realty Trust said the Moynihan Train Hall remains at the forefront of the city’s Midtown West bid, citing the project’s proposed 730,000 square feet of office space and 120,000 square feet of retail as meeting the retailer’s key requirements (h/t Commercial Observer). Vornado, along with Related Companies, Skanska USA, and architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is converting the former James A. Farley Post Office into the Moynihan Train Hall, an effort led by Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a world-class transit center.

More this way

Featured Story

Features, History, Midtown West, photography, The urban lens

Photography, Penn Station, Art, Zach Gross

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, photographer Zach Gross presents his series “Penn Station.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

The original Penn Station, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece completed by McKim, Mead & White in 1910, evoked the kind of grandeur one would expect upon arriving in one of the greatest cities in the world, complete with a grand facade made of massive Corinthian columns and a 15-story waiting room with a steel and glass roof. This structure was demolished in 1964 and replaced with our present version, lacking any of the architectural merit or civic design of its predecessor. But recent years have sparked a renewed interest in transforming the station into an updated and better functional transit hub, falling under a $1.6 billion plan from Governor Cuomo.

Well aware of both the history and future of Penn Station, photographer Zach Gross recently completed a unique series that layers historic imagery of the site with contemporary photos. He feels that, though the station is currently dysfunctional, “there’s still hope for a grand, more unified and uplifting structure,” and it’s this hopeful sentiment that shines through in his work.

Hear more from Zach and see his photo series

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