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Pennsylvaina Station-Airplane-1929-Amelia Earhart-Air Rail service-NYC-LAFrom the collection of Ron Ziel, photo by Bettina Winston from Trans World Airlines. Shared by Justin Rivers, The Eternal Space

We’ve been preparing for our upcoming tour, The Remnants of Penn Station, led by Tamara Agins of New York City Department of City Planning and Justin Rivers, of the play The Eternal SpaceIn addition to tracking down remnants of the original Pennsylvania Station, rarely shown photographs of the station and its demolition from personal collections will be shown, like the above. While many people are familiar with the Redstone rocket that was displayed in Grand Central Terminal, this is the first we’ve seen of the airplane in Penn Station. And the story gets even better…

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Penn Station-Door to Nowhere-Amtrak Terminal-Auntie Anne Pretzels-NYC

Penn Station, even the current incarnation, is full of fun secrets–the subject of our upcoming tour on the Remnants of the Original Penn Station. Yesterday, we discovered a new curiosity: this door to nowhere in the Amtrak terminal. This is a question for all you intrepid Untapped readers out there. What is this door for?

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Grand Central Empty-Blizzard Storm Juno-MTA Photo-2015-NYCPhotos of Grand Central: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin

Proving that man is no match for the hype surrounding potentially disruptive weather forecasts, here is a beautiful shot of Grand Central Terminal utterly empty this morning following the transportation shut down by Governor Cuomo in anticipation of Juno. The MTA released photos of Grand Central and Penn Station, devoid of people on their Flickr feed this morning:

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In partnership with The Eternal Space, a play about an untold story of the destruction of Penn Station, we are hosting a special tour of the remnants of Penn Station with Tamara Agins, tour guide, project manager at NYC Department of City Planning, and author of our popular article on the Secrets of Grand Central. Update: We’ll be hosting the tour again on April 11th at  12pm and 2pm. Get tickets here:

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Color_Penn-Station-Demolition_New-York-City-Untapped CitiesPenn Station demolition. Image via wirednewyork.com.

Editor’s note: The following is a piece by Justin Rivers, who has been working for 10 years on a play about the demolition of Penn Station which previewed at the Center for Architecture last fall. The project, titled The Eternal Space, is currently in Kickstarter fundraiser to bring it to fruition. 

Fifty-one years ago today, construction crews pulled up to the 33rd Street entrance of New York City’s Beaux-Arts marvel, Pennsylvania Station, with orders to begin its three-year demolition. The station was only 53 years old at the time. It covered two full city blocks, making it the largest indoor public space in the world. Penn’s demolition was precipitated by the bankrupting of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who was forced to sell its air rights and move its rail operation down into an ill-conceived basement station barely one-third the original station’s size. Among many things, Penn Station’s destruction was a symbolic torch passing from the grandiose appreciation of the past to the austere simplicity of the future. As the New York Times so aptly put it in 1961, “The Age of Elegance bowed to the Age of Plastic.”

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Penn Station-Ron Ziel-Photoshop-Then and Now-NYCImage by Ron Ziel

The original Pennsylvania Station was a marvel of architecture from its Beaux-Arts exterior that stood like an imposing entrance to New York City’s west side to its lofty steel interior that harkened back to the Belle Époque of France. Its loss, which was one of the clinching demolitions that cemented the preservation movement, is still felt in New York City’s historical consciousness today. Architectural competitions seek to return the station to its glory, while better serving the population. And now, a play called The Eternal Space is in the works about an untold story from the demolition.

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