New Plans and Visionary Renderings For NYC’s Penn Station Renovation

Untapped Staff picks_Penn station demolition_NYC_Untapped CitiesWhat Penn Station could look like in the future according to Governor Cuomo’s plans. There would be no Madison Square Garden Paramount Theater, and instead an 8th avenue grand entrance with concourse, retail and commercial space. Image via New York Times

As reported by the New York Times, Governor Andrew Cuomo has revealed more about his ambitious plans to modernize New York City transportation and infrastructure, calling his proposals “the biggest construction program” in New York State history. His plans include new terminals, transit stations and a Hudson River rail tunnel. But one aspect of his plans especially caught the attention of New Yorkers: his renovation visions for Penn Station, called the Empire Station Complex.

Governor Cuomo has projects that would affect Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets (although we say good luck with relocating the Capuchin Monastery on 31st Street). According to the New York Times, he claimed the state would seek proposals from developers, whose “options would include the creation of a grand glass-walled entrance to Penn Station on Eighth Avenue.”

As a result, this could mean razing the theater that lies below Madison Square Garden, upgrading its shops and even adding entrances along Seventh Avenue or 33rd street.

New Plans and Visionary Renderings For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_33rd street entrance by night_Stephanie Geier_NYC_Untapped CitiesThe 33rd street entrance to the Empire Complex Station at night, with proposed skylights

It’s also worth noting what these plans would mean for the James A. McFarley Post Office, the main United States Postal Service building in New York City, which is located on Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets, right in the center of the area Governor Cuomo wants to change. According to the article, the state will solicit developers to turn the post office into a train station, a large Amtrak waiting room, and shops and offices, a rehash of an earlier redevelopment plan for the station.

New Plans and Visionary Renderings For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Farley Post Office Amtrak Station 2_Untapped Cities_NYC_Stephanie GeierThe McFarley post office redeveloped into an Amtrak train hall, which would be connected to Penn Station via an underground pedestrian concourse. The train hall would be almost the same size as Grand Central Terminal and include retail space, Wi-Fi and digital ticketing, stairs, and “iconic yet energy efficient architectural design.”

The Governor’s Office released more renderings of what Penn Station would look like, shown below.

New Plans and Visionary Renderings For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_33rd Street entrance_NYC_Untapped Cities_Stephanei GeierThe 33rd street entrance during the day, with natural light pouring into Penn Station

New Plans and Visionary Renderings For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Midblock Section_Empire Station Complex_Untapped Cities_NYC_Stephanie GeierThe mid block section of Empire Station Complex

New Plans and Visionary Renderings For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Exterior View_NYC_Untapped Cities_Stephanie GeierAnother view of the proposed 33rd street entrance to Penn Station

New Plans and Visionary Renderings For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Empire Station complex 2_Untapped Cities_NYC_Stephanie GeierAn aerial view of  the Empire Station Complex in completion

New Plans and Visionary Renderings For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_LIRR 33rd street concourse 2_Untapped Cities_NYC_Stephanie GeierThe Long Island Railroad 33rd Street Concourse at Penn Station

Before Governor Cuomo’s Wednesday announcement, developers proposed several different plans in a design challenge for a new Penn Station. You can see images from a previous Municipal Art Society competition, that solicited proposals from architecture firms like Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Architecture, SHoP Architects and SOM to reimagine Penn Station. See more about that here and in the images below. Which vision do you prefer, Cuomo’s or one of the below?

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Skidmore, Owings&Merrill_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie GeierRendering for a new Penn Station by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) 

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Skidmore, Owings&Merrill 2_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie GeierSkidmore, Owings & Merrill’s renderings of Penn Station

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Diller Scoficio + Renfro 2_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie Geier

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Diller Scofidio+Renfro_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie GeierVisions of Diller Scofio + Renfro’s plans for Penn Station

For instance, Vornado and Related, the same developers who transformed the McFarley Post Office building into Moynihan Station, had plans to actually move Madison Square Garden into the post office, allowing for the construction of a glass mall and skyscrapers in its place. However, these plans weren’t executed.

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_SHoP_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie Geier

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_SHoP 2_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie GeierShoP architects’ visions of what Penn Station should look like

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture 2_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie Geier

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie GeierH3 Hardy’s architectural plans for Penn Station

Governor Cuomo Announces New Plans For NYC's Penn Station Renovation_Revenue Capture District_New Penn Station_NYC_Municipal Art Society_Untapped Cities_Stephanie GeierThe Municipal Art Society’s proposed plans for a Penn Station Redevelopment and Revenue Capture District

Governor Cuomo is expected to release a financial plan for the expensive project, which would affect the more than 600,000 daily commuters at Penn Station (more than the three New York City airports combined), at next week’s State of the State speech.

On another note, here’s an image of the original Penn Station, designed by McKim Mead and White, which was demolished in 1963. As Governor Cuomo and the state develops plans, it should be interesting to see how Penn Station and the surrounding area continues evolving from their original states.

McKim Mead White Exterior Pennsylvania Station-NYC-Vintage PhotoThe original Penn Station, demolished in 1963. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Join our next tour of the Remnants of Penn Station that addresses the past, present and future of the station on a hunt for architectural pieces of the original building:

Tour of the Remnants of Penn Station

Next, read The Top 10 Secrets of the Original Pennsylvania Station in NYC, New Remnant of Original Pennsylvania Station Uncovered in Current Building, and The Forgotten Power Plant of the Original Pennsylvania Station NYC. Also, check out our upcoming tours of the remnants of Penn Station. Get in touch with the author @sgeier97

 Governor Andrew Cuomo, penn station

One Response
  1. Bradley Laing Reply

    Did anyone notice that the words “Penn Station” in the window look like the 3-Dimensional place names that appeared at different places in the sci-fi / horror TV show “Fringe”?

    The architect did not notice the resemblance?

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