Visions of Penn Station – In its Heyday Before Madison Square Garden (11 Photos)


new-york-penn-station-historic-3 (Image: top, bottom) via Wikipedia, public domain)

To many, Penn Station is the utilitarian underground plaza beneath New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden. But from 1910 to 1963, the site was occupied by a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by McKim, Mead & White that is still considered one of the architectural jewels of New York City.

Constructed of pink granite and marked by an imposing, classical colonnade, Pennsylvania Station was served by twin carriageways modeled after Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Its main waiting room was inspired by the Roman Baths of Caracalla and at 150 feet high, it was the largest indoor space in New York City and one of the largest indoor public spaces in the world.

Pennsylvania Station’s demolition in 1963 sparked international outrage, causing the New York Times to lament: “Until the first blow fell, no one was convinced that Penn Station really would be demolished, or that New York would permit this monumental act of vandalism against one of the largest and finest landmarks of its age of Roman elegance.”

This article revisits the original structure in pictures, highlighting the beginning of the end of American rail travel’s glory days.

new-york-penn-station-historic-5 (Image: Cervin Robinson, public domain)

new-york-penn-station-historic-2 (Image: Cervin Robinson, public domain)

new-york-penn-station-historic-4 (Image: Cervin Robinson, public domain)

new-york-penn-station-historic-6 (Image: via Wikipedia, public domain)

new-york-penn-station-historic-7 (Image: New York Public Library, public domain)

new-york-penn-station-historic-11 (Image: Bain News Service, public domain)

new-york-penn-station-historic-8 (Image: New York Public Library, public domain)

new-york-penn-station-historic-9 (Image: Image: Cervin Robinson, public domain)

new-york-penn-station-historic-10 (Image: Library of Congress, public domain)

Keep reading – explore 20 vintage railway scenes from the glory days of train travel.

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