This week, Governor Cuomo called on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide Long Island Rail Road riders a discounted fare for “enduring the inconvenience of a disrupted commute.” In response, the MTA said on Tuesday that the LIRR will offer fare discounts to commuters during Penn Station’s major repairs set to begin this July. The discount will average roughly 25 percent for those traveling to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Hunters Point Avenue in Queens. Plus, according to Crain’s, commuters will receive free morning rush hour subway transfers from those two stations. Starting this week, discounted monthly tickets can be purchased at station vending machines.
Just a day after Penn Station‘s long-awaited West End Concourse revealed itself to the public, for the first time allowing Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, and NJ Transit passengers to enter and board trains through the historic James A. Farley Post Office across 8th Avenue, Governor Cuomo has announced that Empire State Development signed the final financial agreement with Related Companies, Vornado Realty LP, and Skanska AB for the $1.6 billion Penn-Farley Complex. After decades of delays, construction will now begin to transform the historic post office into the Moynihan Train Hall, a new 255,000-square-foot train hall housing both Amtrak and LIRR ticketing and waiting areas, as well as 70,000 square feet of new commercial, retail, and dining space. But a development announcement from the Governor is never complete without a fresh set of renderings, and Cuomo did not disappoint this time.
As of today, Penn Station‘s long-awaited West End Concourse–the first tangible step towards Governor Cuomo’s ambitious plan to transform the James A. Farley Post Office into the new Moynihan Train Hall–is open for business, for the first time allowing Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, and NJ Transit passengers to enter and board trains through the historic building across 8th Avenue. In addition to landscaped entryways, the sparkling new concourse is chock full of LED screens, artwork, and, in true Cuomo fashion, bright, open, and high-tech spaces.
With six weeks of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station beginning in July, the “summer of hell” for commuters is quickly approaching. In response, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has finally announced its plan to deal with Amtrak’s plan to close some of the station’s 21 tracks for renovations. As Crain’s reported, the MTA will shift three nighttime trains to rush hour and add about 36 cars, while also offering transit alternatives like ferry and bus services. The shutdown will force the MTA to cancel or divert 15-weekday trains between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., affecting nearly 9,600 LIRR morning commuters, set to begin July 10.
Seeking innovative solutions to fix the mess that is the New York City transit system, Governor Cuomo on Tuesday launched a competition called the “MTA Genius Transit Challenge.” Just one of the governor’s recently proposed ideas to fix the subway, the international competition challenges participants to develop ideas for better signaling, new car designs, and WiFi throughout the system, including in tunnels. The winner of each category will receive $1 million and a possible contract deal with the state. In addition to the challenge, Cuomo announced he has created a Penn Station Task Force to devise alternative transportation solutions during Amtrak’s track work at the station this summer.
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As his administration finalizes its budget plan, Governor Cuomo wrote a letter Sunday to President Trump asking for emergency federal funds to lessen what he called Penn Station’s “summer of agony,” reports the Daily News. With six weeks of infrastructure repairs coming to the transit hub this July and August, the governor said the station’s daily flow of 600,000 passengers will face a 20 percent reduction in service during peak hours while Amtrak shuts down some of its tracks, which will then have a ripple effect on the subway system and regional transit.
With major infrastructure repairs taking place at Penn Station this summer, state officials have suggested rerouting some Amtrak trains to Grand Central Terminal to ease train congestion. While no plans have been finalized, and it’s still unclear how long the switch would take to begin, crews are already training for the new path down Park Avenue into Grand Central, as Politico NY reports. Swapping stations, however, could cause temporary problems at the 42nd Street transit hub, which currently serves 750,000 passengers per day on four commuter lines via Metro-North.
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Via ReThink Studio
With its constant delays and malfunctions, Penn Station is becoming a worse and worse nightmare for countless commuters and visitors. Last year, Governor Cuomo revealed a plan to redevelop the train hub, one of the busiest in the country, by building a new train hall with restaurants and shops, but while the artful renovation will make Penn Station more attractive, it will do little to address the passenger congestion problem, according to think tank, ReThink Studio (h/t Crain’s). In response, the group came up with an idea called ReThinkNYC that would create a new transit hub in Sunnyside, Queens, to connect commuter lines with the subway system. Instead of making Penn Station the final stop for NJ Transit and LIRR commuters, trains would pass through instead of stopping and turning around.
A rendering of the Pelli Clarke Pelli design for 15 Penn Plaza, courtesy of Vornado
Plans to replace the century-old Hotel Pennsylvania with a 1,216-foot office building have surfaced again. Financial firms Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank are reportedly contemplating a move to Vornado Realty Trust’s planned supertall skyscraper, 15 Penn Plaza, according to the Post. Vornado first won the city’s approval in 2007 to build a supertall at the location of Hotel Pennsylvania on Seventh Avenue and nearly signed a deal with Merrill Lynch to be a tenant until the financial crisis dissolved the agreement. This design, by Pelli Clarke Pelli, is being presented to the firms along with new options says a source.
This spring, the 650,000 commuters who travel through Penn Station daily may finally start to witness Governor Cuomo’s $1.6 billion plan to revamp what he called the “overcrowded, decrepit and claustrophobic” station into a more spacious and high-tech transit hub. As the Daily News reports, the first phase of the overall Moynihan Station Development Project will begin soon, extending Penn Station’s West End Concourse to reduce congestion. The second phase will transform the James A. Farley Post Office into the new Moynihan Train Hall, which will hold more than 112,000 square feet of retail and 588,000 square feet of office space, in addition to new ticketing and waiting areas for Amtrak and Long Island Railroad passengers.
Following the recent Penn Station train derailment and subsequent delays during the busy weekday commute, NY Waterway launched an extra ferry route running from Hoboken to Midtown Manhattan. Now, NJ.com reports, that ferry service will become permanent starting in September of this year. The new ferry will run between between West 39th Street and Hoboken terminal according to NY Waterway president and founder Arthur Imperatore Sr.
Back in January, Amtrak unveiled its $24B Gateway Program, a plan that would overhaul the Hudson River rail tunnels by building a brand new tunnel and repairing another that is currently in disrepair. Work under the plan would also encompass expanding Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan and replacing rail bridges in New Jersey. While details on the course of construction were previously thin, according to draft proposals obtained by Reuters, we now know that work on the new tunnel will begin in 2019, and the West Side Highway could be subject to three years of traffic jams as a result.
When developers at Brooklyn Capital Partners and designers at AE Superlab revealed their proposal to erect the world’s tallest free-fall ride atop Penn Station, it seemed like perhaps a commentary on Governor Cuomo’s big-ticket overhaul of the station. But in fact, the team hoped their 1,200-foot Halo, as it’s being called, would rise along with the renovations, serving as “an interactive beacon for the city.” As 6sqft reported, “the ride’s 11 cars… could be modified to move as quickly as 100 miles per hour giving it a top-to-base free fall of about six seconds.” A freshly uncovered video shows this in action, and a new project website provides more details on the logistical components, 20-month construction time period, and $130 million in annual projected revenue.
When Governor Cuomo revealed his plans for a new Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex early last week, things seemed to be moving full steam towards a 2020 completion date thanks to flashy renderings and the selection of a high-profile developer-builder team. But architect Vishaan Chakrabarti was not convinced, and he and his firm the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism decided to create their own vision, one that repurposes Madison Square Garden, a facet of the plan he feels Cuomo failed to address.
Vishaan Chakrabarti reveals idea to repurpose Madison Square Garden as part of the Penn Station overhaul, Fri, September 30, 2016
Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo revealed plans to transform a revamped Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex into a “world-class 21st century transportation hub.” Despite the flashy new renderings and promise of a 2020 completion date, not everyone is sold on the plan, including Vishaan Chakrabarti, former principal of SHoP Architects and founder of the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism. As outlined in the Times, he feels that Cuomo’s scheme has one glaring omission–Madison Square Garden. Instead of demolishing the arena, as earlier plans had called for, Chakrabarti proposes repurposing it and “using its stripped skeleton to make a glass pavilion, which becomes a neighborhood gathering spot, not just a station.” The venue would then move to the west end of the Farley Building.