The eagles from the original Penn Station are near and dear to our hearts here at Untapped Cities. We’ve taken road trips to see nearly all of them, which are scattered along the east coast from Virginia to Maine. But the two that have remained at Penn Station are particularly special, standing guard along 7th Avenue as reminders of what was lost in the demolition in 1963. Our “eagle” eye Penn Station scout, Justin Rivers, who leads our tour of the Remnants of Penn Station, informed us last night that the eagles are now missing from their pedestals. In fact, both pedestals have also been replaced by a pile of concrete blocks.
The eagle and pedestal on the northern side of the Madison Square Garden entrance has been replaced by a pile of concrete blocks.
In mid-June, we learned that these eagles actually belong to Vornado, not the MTA, when we reported on the construction of the new overhang coming off Madison Square Garden. With a new pedestrian plaza en route, we predicted that these eagles might get relocated. At the time, we reached out to Vornado for comment on plans for the eagle but did not get a response. We are requesting comment this morning and will update this article as more information comes in (if any). [Update: Good news – a spokesperson for Vornado let us know that the company hired a specialist to securely crate the eagles, which are being stored on site during the redevelopment. They will return back to Penn Station once redevelopment is done.]
The eagle and pedestal on the southern side of the Madison Square Garden closer to 31st Street has also been replaced by a pile of concrete blocks.
When the original Pennsylvania Station was demolished in 1963, much of the once glorious station was dumped into the Meadowlands in New Jersey. The 22 eagles of the station facade have remained an object of fascination, with at least 18 whole eagles that still exist scattered around the country. Many were saved by those distressed by the demolition of the station, ranging from school teachers, to educational institutions, art associations, philanthropists, even a railroad administrator. From the Smithsonian Museum to the Merchant Marine Academy and high up on a terrace of Cooper Union, the eagles are displayed in prominent locations in their adopted homes.
Join us for an upcoming tour of the Remnants of Penn Station, where we reveal new parts of the original station that have come to light in the construction work, what has disappeared, and our favorite remnants inside: