Jill Jonnes to speak at the Museum of the City of New York. Image courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York

Here at Untapped Cities, we’ve been diligently researching the past, present, and future of New York City’s Penn Station. Today, the major transit hub plays host to 650,000 commuters a day — yet, few people know that buried underneath the current day structure are the still visible remnants of the original Beaux Arts station that was demolished in 1963.

Although sometimes forgotten, Penn Station’s rich history is very much alive today and it’s being examined at Trains, Tunnels & Trees, a talk hosted by the Museum of the City of New York on November 7th at 6:30pm. The event brings together historian Jill Jonnes and architect Vishaan Chakrabarti to discuss the origins and re-imagined future of Penn Station.

Old Penn Station. Image via Wikimedia Commons, Library of Congress

It’s no surprise that New York City was built upon the ingenuity of visionaries with grand visions for civic architecture. Such plans gave birth to the original Penn Station, which was completed in 1910 and reconstructed in the mid-1960s. But in the years since then, city leaders have struggled with maintaining the station’s 110-year-old tunnels along with other examples of “grey infrastructure. This is particularly difficult when we consider the need for sustainable “green” infrastructure, which affects the city’s future growth and livability.

In examining and discussing the past, present, and future of New York City infrastructure, Jonnes will be joined by architect and Columbia University professor Vishaan Chakrabarti, author of a new plan for Penn Station. The illustrated talk will be the inaugural event of the Museum’s Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Distinguished Lecture in Urban History, which brings together experts across various disciplines including history, archaeology, sociology, and architecture to examine the evolution of New York City.

A rendering of Vishaan Chakrabarti’s plan. Image by Practice for Architecture and Urbanism

Untapped Cities readers who are interested in attending can get a discount for the event by using the promo code UNTAPPED7. A reception and book signing will follow the discussion. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

If you want to take a deeper dive into the history of Penn Station and its impending rebirth, make sure to also join us for our upcoming Remnants of Penn Station tour, led by Justin Rivers.
Tour of the Remnants of Penn Station

Next, check out 5 Remnants of the Original Penn Station and discover 10 Fun Facts About the Current Penn Station.