Under a soaring skylight and a massive Art Deco clock, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially unveiled the new Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station on Wednesday with a groundbreaking – and socially distant – ceremony of the grand opening.
“It’s a work of art that we no longer build. It’s too amazing and ambitious to ask, “Can we really do this?” Many skeptics said it was too bold and daring, but we said we could, ”Cuomo said at the ceremony. “This is great public work. Another type of statement that says we understand and appreciate the importance of public works. ”
Rail operations at the Moynihan Train Hall are scheduled to begin on January 1. The $ 1.6 billion project turns the century-old James A. Farley Post Office building into a transit hub, increasing the size of Penn Station by 50%.
Construction began in 2017 in the lobby of the 255,000-square-foot train named after New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who has advocated for the project for years. The expansion plan has been talked about for decades and ridiculed as a “taxpayer-funded mall” that has done little to address rail service. In January, Cuomo unveiled a plan to add eight new tracks and increase Penn Station’s capacity by 40% by acquiring an entire block south of the Midtown transit hub for a new terminal.
According to architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, an acre of glass was used for the massive skylight in the new hall, which was designed to evoke the Beaux-Arts grandeur of the old Pennsylvania train station.
The hall also uses its origins in the Farley Post Office, which was designed by McKim, Mead and White after designing the original Pennsylvania station in 1910. The striking steel trusses that make up the four vaults are original, where the courier police used to patrol to inspect the sorting floor below. Art installations by Kehinde Wiley and Elmgreen & Dragset appear throughout the room.
Hostile architecture also appears, with blue benches in waiting rooms designed to deter sleeping people.
The new train hall is located across from Penn Station, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues and West 31st and 33rd Streets, and connects to the platforms and tracks of Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak, as well as the subway. There will be a Starbucks:
This @Starbucks, in Moynihan’s new train room, has at least 10 employees – but the store isn’t actually open today and nothing can be bought. Workers, tasked with showing what an open Starbucks would look like, leave shortly after the governor’s event ends. pic.twitter.com/VqPOY5dxht
– Matthew Chayes (@chayesmatthew) December 30, 2020
Check back later for more photos and full coverage of Tuesday’s opening.
With Annie Todd and Jake Dobkin