Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pennsylvania (Penn) Station

New York City is served by two main train stations: the Grand Central Station on the east side and the Pennsylvania (Penn) Station on the west side. Although Penn Station does not have the architectural beauty and pedigree of the Grand Central Station, it is nonetheless one of the most important and busiest train stations in United States. Penn Station is the center of the Northeast Corridor shuttle that connects Washington DC and Boston. It is also the main departure station for Amtrak, the New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad. In addition, there are six subway lines that connects the station to the rest of the city.

The current Penn Station is not visible from above ground because it is located under the Penn Plaza complex on 34th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenue. The original Penn Station, completed in 1910, was an above ground Beaux Arts structure. It was demolished in 1964 to make room a multipurpose urban complex. As a result, Penn Station was relegated to the space below it and to this day, there is no identifiable stucture to represent it.

This photo was taken during rush hour traffic at Penn Station. Notice the interesting tunnel structure overhead. On the left are a series of ticketing booths and terminals leading to the trains. And on the right are retail and dining facilities for the commuters.