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Monday, February 13, 2012

NYC's Penn Station - Return to Dignity badly needed


The New York Times ran a splendid opinion piece last Wednesday that stoked the fire in our bell. Entitled “Restore a Gateway to Dignity", the article focused largely on the condition and future of our considerably-less glorious long-distancetrain station. 

"It’s time to address the calamity that is Penn Station." A-men. The Big Adventure could not agree more.

It breaks our heart every time we think about the egregiousness of the situation. New York City lays claim to one of the busiest train stations in the world in terms of foot traffic (over half a million daily passengers when you combine Amtrak, LIRR, NJ Transit and NY Subway ridership.) Yet Penn Station looks like a mutated cross between a shabby second-rate, tired, regional airport and an underground shopping mall that no one would ever want to visit. Only more depressing is that years ago, before Madison Square Garden IV moved in, a beautiful station once stood in that exact location. 

Best line of the article “To pass through Grand Central Terminal..is an ennobling experience, a gift. To commute via the bowels of Penn Station, just a few blocks away, is a humiliation.”

This is really an amazing read. The author proposes moving MSG to make space for a true train station, but beyond that the context, history and future of train travel in NYC is eye-opening and humbling: 


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