16. Pennsylvania Station

Image via Wikimedia Commons,  Detroit Publishing Co. collection at the Library of Congress

The original McKim, Mead and White designed station built for the Pennsylvania Railroad opened in phases and was officially completed in 1910. The massive Beaux-Arts structure was an architectural wonder that spanned two city blocks and 8 acres of land making it the largest indoor public space in the world at the time. The station served as the Manhattan terminus for Long Island Railroad riders who now had direct access to the city via the new and innovative East River Tunnels. Trains also came in on the Pennsylvania Railroad, New Haven and the Lehigh Valley Railroad lines.

The colossal station boasted large windows and a stunning glass atrium which let in natural light that Penn Station commuters today can only dream of. The front exterior was adorned with a colonnade of Roman columns modeled after landmarks such as the Acropolis of Athens while the other sides were inspired by St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, as well as from the Bank of England headquarters. Despite fervent attempts to preserve the station, it was demolished in the mid-1960s to make way for the present Madison Square Garden and Pennsylvania Plaza. We are left only to wonder what could have been if the original structure were still here today. However, there are still many remnants of the original which can still be found in the current station. You can explore these remnants for yourself on our walking tour of Penn Station! 

Tour of the Remnants of Penn Station