Anyone who has taken a day trip to New Jersey or the surrounding tri-state area can attest to the dismal existence that is New York Penn Station. Unlike its original, far more beautiful predecessor, the current Penn Station can often be thought of as a grey, stuffy, abnormally hot underground way-station that herds people like cattle and smells like tepid water.
Interestingly enough, though pay phones are nearly nonexistent in the city these days, one does remain in Penn Station’s Amtrak concourse and looks to be decades old. A sign above it reads ‘Amtrak House Phone.’ We were told of its existence by Not For Tourists, and upon exploring the station yesterday, found that it does indeed connect you directly to Amtrak.
Picking up the phone, which is located on the western side of the concourse near the Madison Square Garden station entrance, yields Julie, an automated Amtrak representative that offers to direct your call to a number of services including train schedules, fares, and service updates.
It’s hard to imagine, form the looks of the pay phone, how long it’s been since Julie’s had a call.
Next, read about our upcoming fall tours of the remnants of the original Penn Station. Get in touch with the author @jinwoochong.