There’s an Opportunity to Rebuild Penn Station the Way it Once Was

Penn Station in New York City (Image: Jeff Stikeman / Rebuild Penn Station)

There are many reasons for doing one’s best to avoid New York City’s Penn Station, but after finding myself there once again last month, it brought to mind the ongoing debate over the transport hub’s future. Our favourite proposal, by far, which Treehugger has covered over the last few years, is to build a new station that’s the same as the old one. That is, use modern technologies to recreate the original Pennsylvania Station in all its elegant glory.

The elegant facade of the original Penn Station in New York City could be rebuilt (Image: Jeff Stikeman / Rebuild Penn Station)

Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter revisited the topic earlier this week, referencing a response from the National Civic Art Society:

Reconstructing Penn Station will not just dramatically improve the experience of travelers and visitors. Ranking with Grand Central Terminal and other great national landmarks, a rebuilt Penn Station will have a significant direct economic impact on the Midtown West/Hudson Yards/Upper Highline area. While the reconstruction we propose will rigorously respect our architectural heritage, we seek to improve upon the original station, providing not just a transportation facility but a civic focal point with amenities that will invite the public to visit and linger.

A vision of the inside of NYC's original Pennsylvania Railway Station - rebuilt (Image: Jeff Stikeman / Rebuild Penn Station)

Over the years a great many beautiful buildings have been torn down and replaced by modernist structures that have arguably failed to stand the test of time. Could there now be a place for a small number of sympathetically recreated landmarks to compliment the bold designs of the present and future? Though it was never demolished, the renovation of St Pancras Station in London demonstrates how a rundown transport hub can become a grand destination in its own right.

The original Pennsylvania Station in NYC before demolition (Image: via Wikipedia)

Alter sums up: “I usually dislike reproductions and reconstructions, and believe that one can mix new and old. But Penn Station is a different case; it is righting a wrong, giving us back something that should never have been taken away.” Read his full article here.

Read Next: 10 Abandoned (& Repurposed) Railway Stations of the World

 
 
 

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