After running our popular Remnants of Penn Station tour for over a year now, we can safely say that it’s a station that keeps on giving, very unexpectedly. We discover new remnants of the original McKim, Mead & White masterpiece inside the much-maligned current station every day, which helps make the whole experience of traversing through Penn Station all the more pleasant when you know what to look for. Today, we have yet a new remnant to share with you: original glass and unique fencing that descends along an original staircase on Track 17 in the Long Island Railroad concourse.
Discovered by Untapped Cities contributors Alex Wallach and Remnants of Penn Station tour guide Justin Rivers, we believe that these spade shaped decorative pieces originally extended up to the concourse level, which you’ll see in the below photographs. The spade motif used to be “everywhere on the old concourse,” Rivers says but most of them have been lost in the demolition. Track 17 is a rare spot where they’ve managed to remain. Don’t forget also that one of the reasons we have so many remnants to share on our tour is that Penn Station stayed in operation during the entire demolition – and one way that was made possible was by keeping the staircases and flooring.
Photo via Library of Congress
You can see these decorative elements in the background of vintage photographs, as well as on this illustration from the book Old Penn Station by William Low.
Join us for our upcoming Remnants of Penn Station tour where you will see over a dozen remnants from the original Pennsylvania Station:
Next, check out 5 More Remnants of the Original Penn Station and the Top 10 Secrets of the Original Pennsylvania Station