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Why NY Penn Station is so awful

ChairmanMeow

Cyburbian
Messages
220
Points
8
This article talks about why we can't have nice things in the NY metro.


No one had ever traced the full sweep of the efforts to remake the station, and why they always failed. Trying to make sense of the swirl, I built a timeline on a spreadsheet, which grew to nearly 600 entries. After years of research, a picture began to emerge—one that, beyond the scope of any given anecdote, told a dispiriting story about the futility of present-day American government, and reshaped my view of progressive politics.

Full disclosure - I'm also still really bitter about the ARC tunnel not happening. It'd make my ride to NYC shorter.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,436
Points
39
I love the line of Moynihan, that America has "lost the touch for famous things". I think it captures a feeling I've had since the space program went the way of the drive-in theater.

As for Penn Station, it's been more than 35 years since I was passed through, and even then, it was mostly avoided like the plague even if it meant walking a fair piece out of my way.

I think the article gives short shrift to the effects on the Interstate Highway Program, especially on low income and minority neighborhoods, and Progressive attempts to see that they can't be railroaded like that again.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,685
Points
50
I read this the other day. It is really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Personally, I think our country doesn't value the iconic things like we used to. I know we love the historic buildings, but we don't value "new historic" things. Things that are unique and built well to last into the next century where they will protect it as historical.
 

kjel

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,436
Points
40
I commuted from my house in Newark (2 blocks from Broad Street Station) to NYC for a year. I hated every damn minute of it because a 22 minute ride with one stop took on average 45 minutes and getting home every day was a crap shoot of cancelled trains, delays, the Portal Bridge stuck open, the Summer of Hell that took two tracks out of service for months and diverted me to Hoboken. I was happy to get a job offer in Jersey City that came with a parking spot!

One of the best redesign plans I've seen was put forth by Vishaan Chakrabarti. It is premised upon relocating Madison Square Garden (which is aging and somewhat obsolete). This op-ed in the NYT has some visuals which help you understand the layout of Penn Station and just how bad it sucks. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/09/30/opinion/penn-station-reborn.html

The ARC tunnel cancellation was tragic. Perhaps the Gateway will be built someday.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,396
Points
27
"Now, by trying to move Manhattan’s preeminent train hall into the Farley Building, New York state was essentially asking a federally owned railroad (Amtrak) to abandon real estate it already owned (Penn Station) to lease space in a building (Farley) that the state of New York was planning to purchase from yet another federal agency (the U.S. Postal Service). And, as David Gunn, Amtrak’s then-CEO was quick to point out, Amtrak wasn’t even poised to get much more than a nicer waiting room out of the move—the project would not provide additional platform space or tunnels."

Sounds easy enough.
 
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