Penn Station-Vintage Photograph-McKim Mead White-Train Station-Remnants-Tour-NYCImage from Library of Congress

Yesterday, we put out an open call on our Facebook page with the question: “If you could bring back a long-gone building from the past in NYC, which would it be?” We received nearly a hundred comments and replies! Some even uploaded images of their choices, adding to the excitement of the feed. In one of our first-ever reader input article, we’re sharing the results of the informal poll.

1. The Original Penn Station

Image from Library of Congress

Bringing back the original Penn Station was the runaway favorite, garnering over 50% of the votes. Designed by Charles McKim of McKim, Mead & White, Penn Station is the poster child of what happens when a building isn’t landmarked, and is in fact, often credited with being the sacrifice that led to the creation of the New York City Landmarks Law. In reality, the loss of a number of other buildings combined with Penn Station led to the fever pitch call, but Penn Station was certainly the most high-profile. It was built in 1910 and torn down in 1963.

Penn Station is particularly dear to us at Untapped New York because of our long-running tour, the Remnants of Penn Station that our Chief Experience Officer Justin Rivers developed out of his off-Broadway play The Eternal Space. In fact, Justin met the Untapped New York team for the first time inside Penn Station, so yep…feelings. We are regularly tracking down where the eagles of Penn Station have gone, taking road trips around the East Coast. We even got a call from Kentucky recently, when a reader and landscape architect thought he may have found some lost eagles (sadly, we confirmed that they were not from Penn).

Our readers wrote comments like, “The real Penn Station, absolutely,” “Penn Station! It’s criminal it was demolished,” “Penn Station…’nuff said” and quoted Vincent Scully (“One entered the city like a god. One scuttles in now like a rat.”). Untapped New York writer Jeff Reuben added, “If I were to bring back a lost building, it would have to be one with some public access and it’s hard to think of anything that matches the original Penn Station.”

Although Penn Station’s demolition was a terrible loss, the current station is incredibly filled with relics that still remain from the original station if you know where to look! Join us on our next tour!


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7 thoughts on “12 Buildings That Should Be Brought Back in NYC

  1. I would add both the Roxy Theatre and the the RKO Roxy / Center Theatre at Rockefellr Center.

  2. wish I had known about this poll. I would certainly add the roxy theatre,

  3. The spectacular Navarro Spanish Flats on Central Park South, the most expensive in the City at the time are utterly forgotten in this list.

    1. LOVE that building and everything by George Post! Most of his buildings are gone.

  4. Rebuilding the magnificent, glorious, majestic Beaux Arts Penn Station, executed by McKim Mead and White, would be wonderful for the city of New York. 134 of the Station’s original drawings are in possession of the New City Historical Society, and they could be computer digitized and printed. The original foundations of the station are still there. 600,000 people a day travel though the Hell Hole which is now Penn Station. Commuters and visitors alike would be able to enter one of the world’s greatest cities in the dignified manner that would be provided by the original Penn Station. Sam Turvery is in charge of the Rebuild Penn Station movement. Cost would be about $3.5 Billion, which is less than what was spent revamping LaGuardia Airport and building the new World Trade Center train station. Madison Square Garden can be moved to another location instead of sitting over Penn Station.

  5. A chandelier which hangs from the ceiling of St. Joseph’s Church in Rossville, S. I. is originally from the Hotel Astor. When the hotel was being renovated in 1931, a parishoner on the demolition crew obtained the chandelier for the parish.

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