Penn Station: Still Terrible But Hope is on the Horizon

Written By Olivia Smedley | October 03, 2013
2019%2f09%2f13%2f12%2f36%2f31%2f2e564c14 29c2 4162 bc16 f9611cfc6e3d%2ffile

Every day, around 600,000 commuters flow in and out of Penn Station, and boy do they hate it. Why is it so difficult to get in, around, and through Penn during peak hours (and even times in between)? It could be because the current station was built to accommodate only a third of the hundreds of thousands that arrive each morning. Any commuter knows how dismal, depressing, and downright annoying it is to simply be in the western world’s largest transportation hub, and for almost 20 years the city has been planning on its expansion. Plans have continuously been faced with opposition and failure. With the recent expiration of Madison Square Garden’s 50 year permit and its likelihood of being kicked out of its spot atop the boring basement terminal in 10 years, will concrete plans be made to bring Penn Station into the 21st century?

Pennsylvania Station can be found in the basement of “the world’s most famous arena”, however, it was not always there, nor was MSG. The old Penn was much larger, above ground, and much, much more aesthetically pleasing. With classical doric columns and marble all around, one can imagine that it was actually a great place to be. Light would stream in through large windows and waiting rooms were spacious. Unfortunately, it was demolished in the 1960s due to the lack of need for railroads at the time. Shortly after, The Garden was built and all of the luxury and grandeur went out the window.

The planning of one phase of a station renovation is currently underway. The James A. Farley Post Office, located on 8th Ave between 31st and 33rd St, will possibly be the new home of the Amtrak Concourse of Penn. Since it is actually across the street from the station’s home right now, it will act as a completely separate station, to be entitled Moynihan Station. The station is set to have retail shops, dining, and office space. For the extremely tiny percentage of Penn Station travelers that actually take Amtrak trains, this will be a wonderful thing. As of this moment, Amtrak has the most tracks in Penn and has the largest concourse, so moving it would free up much needed space for the miniscule NJ Transit and Long Island Railroad concourses to expand.

When Madison Square Garden changes locations, it will open up a world of opportunity for the boring, gritty, dirty station. It will expand up above ground, and tracks will most likely be added to make trains run smoothly. As of right now NJ Transit only has two tracks to call its own, and the rest of the tracks it uses are shared with Amtrak. LIRR has the same miserable accommodations with its 4 tracks.

Until then, a design firm has been called upon to make the stations a bit less bland. The firm is planning on creating better exits and entrances, as well as trying to add more fresh air and natural light. This will solve some superficial problems, but nothing will change unless the city says adios to MSG.

Blog Archive


This information is not verified for authenticity or accuracy and is not guaranteed and may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. © 2021 REBNY Listing Service, Inc. All rights reserved. RLS IDX Data display by Elegran LLC. IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers’ personal, non- commercial use and that it may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing.

Elegran LLC may or may not be the exclusive listing agent of the properties being displayed on All data displayed on is presented for informational purposes only and should be independently confirmed by all customers. All Information is compiled from both public and private sources including, but not limited to the RLS, MLS and ACRIS; each of which is assumed to be reliable. All information displayed is subject to errors and omissions regarding apartment specifications and final sale prices, and further, any unit listed may have had its listing withdrawn without notice subsequent to such information being compiled. No representation is made as to the accuracy of any description (ie: listing, close sale data, and/or building description) of any building or individual unit. All measurements and square footage are approximate and all information herein should be confirmed by customer and/or their attorney. Elegran LLC, its members, affiliates, and contributors adhere to New Your City, New York State, and United States Fair Housing Laws.