Untapped Guide to Penn Station

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In honor of April Fool’s Day, we’ve put together a guide to NYC’s most hated building, Penn Station. Most of the negativity around Penn Station focuses on its aesthetics, its confusing signage, and the fact that it replaced a soaring piece of McKim, Mead & White architecture. But we’ve always believed that one of its strengths was that it was extremely functional. We agree with Second Avenue Subway‘s Benjamin Kabak who writes, “While Penn Station is ugly and dingy and, at best, utilitarian, the problem with the station isn’t necessarily the way it looks.”

Today’s guide is thus about the hidden “gems” in this oft-traveled yet ignored space.

1. There are subtle reminders of the now lost Penn Station

On an escalator into the Long Island Railroad waiting area, a cross section of the old Penn Station notes “YOU ARE HERE,” beneath the main rotunda:

Old Penn Station Cross Section You Are Here-2

In the Amtrak area are framed photographs of the old Penn Station, ignored by passengers more interested in charging their cell phones:

Original Penn Station Photograph Amtrak

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 McKim Mead & White, penn station

4 Responses
  1. Kim Murphy Reply

    I’ve only had two stays in NYC, but Penn Station & K Mart have been the locations of my most negative experiences in the city. I’ve vowed to avoid them both in future visits, which is tough when traveling on Amtrak. The Amtrak service at (and out of) Penn Station was by far the worst in 10,000 miles on the rails last summer.

  2. Tyler Hill Reply

    The Hilton Tunnel was known as Gimble’s Tunnel to most people back in the day. TA cops came through once an hour or so to clean up after the muggers.

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