Also excited that, especially as a lover of trains (and, of course, train stations), I got a chance to check out the new Moynihan Train Hall! The destruction and demolition of Pennsylvania Station in NYC is, by this point, the stuff of legends.* And what remained of Penn Station was… not great.**
But sitting across the street is the James A Farley building, a post office designed by McKim, Mead & White, the same architects and in a similar Beaux-Arts style to the original station. It too languished over time, with a central atrium that was later filled in. Fortunately, as luck (and a lot of hard work) would have it come to pass, the atrium was once again opened up and the building brought into use as a new hall for Penn Station.
It’s a great work of adaptive reuse. The main trusses that grace the hall have a very expressionist feel of early steel structures, with rivets and small cross-members galore. But the vaults of glass that span them are decidedly modern, bulbous and leaping away from the trusses to open the sky above.
It’s an open and very inviting space, with all the grandeur that a grand station deserves. And whether it could ever match the original or not (and to that I have no inkling nor idea), it is still mighty fine.
The Moynihan Train Hall by SOM in a building originally by McKim, Mead & White.
* The short of it is that Pennsylvania Station was an amazing and, from nearly all accounts, beautiful structure, all reduced to rubble to build Madison Square Gardens. It was an event that catalyzed the development of the historical preservation movement in North America.
** For decades afterwards, the still-active train tracks were nothing more than an 8’ high ceilinged bunker underground. “One [had] entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat,” was the description given by historian Vincent Scully.