5. Gimbels and Hilton Passageways
Photograph by Michael DiMaio
Penn Station has many corridors that once connected the transit hub to nearby destinations such as the New Yorker Hotel and other subway stations. However, after budget cuts in the 1970s, it was difficult to maintain safety and cleanliness within those tunnels. One of Penn Station’s most famous hidden corridors is the Gimbels Passageway which shuttered in the 1980s. The Gimbels Passageway stretched 800 feet under 33rd Street, connecting Penn Station’s 7th Avenue subway lines to the 6th Avenue lines accessible at the Herald Square Station under the former Gimbels Department Store, now the Manhattan Mall.
Entry to the Gimbel’s Passageway is now blocked off in Penn Station. Some improvement plans for Penn Station include widening and re-opening the narrow passageway, but it remains off-limits for now. One convenient passage that does still exist, at least in part, is the Hilton Passageway. The passageway used to connect the 1,2,3 trains in Penn Station to the Hotel Pennsylvania. Today, it serves as a corridor that connects the lower Amtrak concourse, the Long Island Rail Road, and New Jersey Transit to the 1,2,3 trains. Grand Central Terminal also has a complex tunnel system that was built to connect the train terminal to the buildings of Terminal City. While many of the tunnels are blocked off, such as the one that connects to The Roosevelt Hotel, you can see remnants of others, and one was recently re-opened!