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This past weekend I took a tour of the NYC Penn Station entitled "Remnants of Penn Station."  It was a tour of the 1968 Penn Station that showed the few remaining accessible items from the 1910 Penn Station and with the opening of the New Moynihan Train Hall it included a walk through of that.  While it wasn't a "Back Stage" tour many items remain visible from the 1910 version of the station.    I took the Staten Island Ferry (which I rode to work every day for 27 years) into Manhattan so I included a few pre and post-tour harbor shots.

I took the tour through Untapped New York.

Here are some photos I thought you might enjoy.

Pre-Tour Harbor Shots

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The Last Remaining Original Penn Station Track Level Entrance Staircase



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One of the Last Remaining Track Level Exit Staircases

Notice the original Exit Sign arch in the 4th photo



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A View From Underneath of the Original Concourse Level Glass Brick Floor.

The original concourse had a glass brick floor to let sunlight into the track levels.  It's still there underneath the terrazzo in the 1968 concourse.

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Hilton Passageway Sign

The Hilton Passageway goes from Penn Station to the Hotel Pennsylvania (which is closed) across 7th Avenue.  The Hotel was operated by Hilton.

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The Last Remaining Original Double Wide Track Level Exit Staircase

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Original Concourse Entrance Way Arch with Woodwork Detail



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The Arches of Old Penn Station

A current art work invoking the original station waiting room arches.

The Arches of Old Penn Station

Original Station Railing

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Last Original Hand Painted Penn RR Sign

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New 7th Avenue Station Entrance

With the Empire State Building down 33rd street

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New NJ Transit Entrance With Homage Arches and Murals to the Original Penn Station

Please forgive the angles.  I was riding down an escalator.

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Original Power Plant for Penn Station Electricity

The plant on 31st street across from Penn Station was coal fired and provided the non-track power for Penn Station.

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Columns Outside the New Moynihan Train Hall.

This hall was originally (and still partially is) a Post Office.  The Post Office unofficial motto is emblazed above the columns.  Interestingly it was not the motto when it was built.  It harkens back to ancient Greece but the Post Office liked it so much they adopted it.

https://about.usps.com/who-we-...ry/mission-motto.pdf

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Inside the Moynihan Train Hall

Notice there are no seats (except in the ticketed waiting areas.)  It was done intentionally.  Why do you think that is?

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/0...ain-hall-review.html

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The Hive

Original artwork on the ceiling in the Moynihan Train Hall

The Hive

Moynihan Train Hall Original Post Office Views

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Acela Level Below the Moynihan Train Hall

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Post-Tour Harbor Shots

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  • The Arches of Old Penn Station
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Last edited by Chris Lord
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My memories of the Old Penn Station date back to 1955. My dad & I were returning from Jones Beach after taking the LIRR back to Penn Station. While riding up on the escalator to the main level my sneaker got caught in the escalator step as you step off. My dad & another man were trying to pull me off as the sneaker started to shred apart with my foot in it. Finally got free with my foot still in tact. The entire toe section of the sneaker got chewed off. Got a lot of strange looks from passengers on the 8th Ave subway (“A” train) on the way home to Washington Heights.

Thanks for posting the pictures Chris.

Chris,

  Very nice. Thanks for posting. Nice to see that some remnants survive. Maybe I can add my Penn Station porcelain subway sign to your post...I bought it at the White Plains Toy & Train Show several years ago. I had in in my hands, almost lost it when someone grabbed it--but he put it down. I then started breathing again and bought it at a very reasonable price. I think it was around $40-60.

Penn Station subway sign

Tom

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  • Penn Station subway sign
Last edited by MNCW
@Hudson J1e posted:

Great pictures Chris. Just an FYI, but the motto on the Post Office building is not and never has been an official motto of the Post Office. Official Post Office policy is that Letter Carriers are told not to deliver mail in snowstorms or in darkness.

Well what do you know.  You're right!  Who knew?

https://about.usps.com/who-we-...ry/mission-motto.pdf

I pointed it out to the guy who ran the tour.

Thanks for the update.

Last edited by Chris Lord
@MNCW posted:

Chris,

  Vey nice. Thanks for posting. Nice to see that some remnants survive. Maybe I can add my Penn Station porcelain subway sign to your post...I bought it at the White Plains Toy & Train Show several years ago. I had in in my hands, almost lost it when someone grabbed it--but he put it down. I then started breathing again and bought it at a very reasonable price. I think it was around $40-60.

Penn Station subway sign

Tom

Very nice

I am glad they called it "Moynihan Train Hall" and not "Moynihan Rail Passenger Hall" or one of the similar monstrosities that have infected the English language in this age of affectations and gaseous, inflated titles for everything.  What was the matter with "train station" that some gasbag(s) had to come up with "rail passenger station" (two words and four syllables to replace a one-word, one syllable descriptor that had served well for over a hundred years)?  Maybe a "rail passenger station" should be where people go to be run on a rail out of town.

It is a small consolation that a few pieces of the original Pennsylvania Station still survive.  I took the attached photos in the New York City subway when I was there in October 2016.

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Last edited by PGentieu

Chris,

Thanks for the wonderful tour!  You took some really great photos.

I suppose that Amtrak passengers will have a better experience now that the new Moynihan Train Hall is open.  The last time I took a train from Penn Station to Washington was in the 1990s.

I remember taking the train from the old Penn Station to Washington DC in about 1955 when I was 10 years old.  I remember the high glass ceiling and that the station was very, very hot.  That glass amplified the heat of a New York summer just like a green house.  Of course, it didn't help that I had a little coat and tie on.  Everyone including kids dressed to travel in those days.  Those steps down to the train were really steep.  I doubt that they would be acceptable for a passenger station today.

My grandparents put me on the train.  My parents bought me a ticket in a parlor car since I was traveling alone.  My grandparents turned me over to the parlor car attendant.  I suppose that they tipped him to look after me but I don't know.  I know that I had small suitcase but I don't remember every handling it.  My grandfather probably gave it to the car attendant and he probably gave it to my father in Washington.

The parlor car was a modern streamlined car with air conditioning.  I had a big single swivel chair that swung around 360 degrees.  Each chair had a big ash tray on a pedestal next to it.  My legs weren't long enough to reach the floor of the car when I sat in the chair.  All the other passengers that I remember were men in business suits.  The car attendant kept them supplied with drinks and most of them were smoking cigars or cigaretts.  I think that I got a coke.  Of course, the train was pulled by a mighty GG-1.  

When I got a couple of years older I took the same trip between my grandparents house and Washington except it was in coach.  Young kids got a lot of responsibility early in those days.  

Thank you for your photos and bringing back memories of a time long gone.  NH Joe

@PGentieu posted:

I am glad they called it "Moynihan Train Hall" and not "Moynihan Rail Passenger Hall" or one of the similar monstrosities that have infected the English language in this age of affectations and gaseous, inflated titles for everything.  What was the matter with "train station" that some gasbag(s) had to come up with "rail passenger station" (two words and four syllables to replace a one-word, one syllable descriptor that had served well for over a hundred years)?  Maybe a "rail passenger station" should be where people go to be run on a rail out of town.

It is a small consolation that a few pieces of the original Pennsylvania Station still survive.  I took the attached photos in the New York City subway when I was there in October 2016.

20161028_21060520161028_210707

Thanks for adding the subway photos.  I took some also but forgot to add them.  Glad you did.

But mine points the other way!

Thanks

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I remember years ago they were doing repairs in one part of the 'new' station, and they had taken down a wall, and you could see bricks and such from the original walls that had been covered (the old walls were partially knocked down in the demo, I guess, then covered)

It is funny, when it said remnants of Penn Station tour, I kind of envisioned what you see in articles, going to places like the Meadowland swamps or where people took demolished pieces and had them at their houses

@Chris Lord posted:

Here's a picture I found of the original staircases.  You can see that they had both exit (the shorter ones) and entrance staircases.  You can also see the the sign arches and the glass brick floor.

This view (looking to the south-west) also shows the worst effect of the 1960's Penn: to support Madison Square Garden, they had to sink HUGE supports into the middle of those mostly unobstructed platforms... creating a cramped, claustrophobic, and border-line dangerous experience for passengers.

Jon

So glad this thread was unlocked!  Lots of really cool pictures.  I spent many a day parked outside MSG doing TV and often would go into the station to grab something to eat or drink.

What was always a fun experience in NY and the "Garden" when we had CRTs in the truck was watching all the monitors go wonky when the subways traveled under the truck.  Like a giant degassing coil.  Newbies always panicked.

Last edited by MartyE
@MartyE posted:

So glad this thread was unlocked!  Lots of really cool pictures.  I spent many a day parked outside MSG doing TV and often would go into the station to grab something to eat or drink.

What was always a fun experience in NY and the "Garden" when we had CRTs in the truck was watching all the monitors go wonky when the subways traveled under the truck.  Like a giant degassing coil.  Newbies always panicked.

Hey Marty, thanks

  Question:  What were you referring to when you said "So glad this thread was unlocked?"  Was the thread locked for some reason?

@Chris Lord posted:

Hey Marty, thanks

  Question:  What were you referring to when you said "So glad this thread was unlocked?"  Was the thread locked for some reason?

I maybe wrong but I think it got locked yesterday at some point because Eddie G was asking about it being locked.  Maybe I got my threads mixed up.  No worries though.  It's not now if it ever was.  I love the old pictures and the knowledge!

@MartyE posted:

I maybe wrong but I think it got locked yesterday at some point because Eddie G was asking about it being locked.  Maybe I got my threads mixed up.  No worries though.  It's not now if it ever was.  I love the old pictures and the knowledge!

Marty, the thread you are thinking of is one started by Arnold. That one got closed down because it got off topic with the usual 2020 type comments that locked so many. It stinks because it was a great topic.

Question, I may be mistaken, but the airplane looks an awful lot like The Spirit of Saint Louis. Any idea if it is?

Chris: THANK YOU for the memories! I left Penn Station in the late Summer of 1962 after my Army basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey  to head to Ft. McClellan, Alabama to attend the US Army CBR School. When I arrived in Anniston, AL, I noticed my train had been pulled by Southern EMD F units. The changeover from the GGI occurred at Washington, DC. I travelled coach and it was a modern air conditioned car. The concourse of that station was incredible and it was only years later that I found out about the man, Alexander Cassatt, who was responsible for this amazing structure. His sister was the famous American impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt. Brother and sister obviously had strong artistic sensibilities. We shall likely never again see such a structure as grand as the original Penn Station! :-(

Last edited by Tinplate Art

Thankfully, my other favorite NYC railroad station survived! Grand Central Terminal was another ediface from which I departed on a number of occasions. My last encounter was December of 1964 when I rode a single RDC from Beacon, NY to GCT. My Army buddies and myself had just caught a USAF  hop from Colorado Springs to Stewart Air Force Base in Newburgh, NY, across the Hudson from Beacon. We arrived late in Newburgh and after arriving in Beacon, we slept in the station waiting room until the RDC arrived the next morning.

Last edited by Tinplate Art

While the old brick station is long gone, Metro-North still has a station stop  there. Here is some info mostly on the nearby Beacon Line of Metro-North (used for equipment moves last that I knew but it was in a state of disrepair for several years)... Beacon station appears at the end: https://www.iridetheharlemline.com/tag/beacon-line/

Info on the inclined railway can be found here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/At...Beacon_New_York.html

Tom

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