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(rshsdepot) Penn Station-New York

Moynihan to Help Recreate NYC Pennsylvania Station

August 27, 2002 06:57 PM ET

By Joan Gralla

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Calling ex-U.S. Sen. Patrick Moynihan the creative
force behind New York City's sweeping plans to recreate the famous old
Pennsylvania Station, Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday named the Democrat
to the agency board that will oversee the project. The original Pennsylvania
Station was "mindlessly" destroyed in 1963, Moynihan said at a City Hall
news conference, though the building, erected from 1905 to 1910, was seen by
architects as a jewel from the gilded age. The station that replaced the old
Pennsylvania Station, whose main marble-sheathed waiting room was 150 feet
high, has long been derided as a cramped and ugly terminal that the city
outgrew many years ago. Noting 600,000 people each day travel through the
current Pennsylvania Station, located in Manhattan's west midtown, the mayor
told City Hall reporters: "Judging by the constant crowds that go through
there, it's clear Pennsylvania Station just can't handle the volume any
more -- not to mention the fact that it's a dreary, subterranean failure."
The recreated Pennsylvania Station will be able to handle 30 percent more
people, according to the mayor. New York City will not be the only
beneficiary, he said, explaining the Northeast relies heavily on Amtrak's
rail service between Boston and Washington -- as was borne out when its
traffic rose dramatically when planes were grounded after Sept. 11.
Bloomberg, a Republican, on Tuesday also named ex-Rep. Susan Molinari,
another Republican, to the board of the Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment
Corp. The city's plan calls for moving the current Pennsylvania Station
across 8th Ave. to the James A. Farley Post Office Building -- a magnificent
sprawling structure built in 1911 and extended in the 1930s. Both Moynihan
and Bloomberg said the city had the federal funds to go ahead with the
ambitious plan. The cost of the overhaul has been estimated at $500 million
to nearly $800 million. Some 7,600 people will have to be hired to carry out
the renovation, and 1,600 permanent jobs will be created, Bloomberg said.
One stumbling block has been negotiations with the U.S. Post Office, which
faced budget constraints and had to find new locations for some of its staff
and operations. Charles Gargano, who chairs the Empire State Development
Corp., said he was confident his agency's talks with the Post Office would
be resolved in the early future, saying progress had been made. The
Pennsylvania Station Redevelopment Corp. whose board Moynihan and Molinari
will serve on is part of the Empire State Development Corp. Diane Todd, a
spokeswoman for the U.S. Post Office, told Reuters "We're moving in the
negotiations and things are going well." The Post Office's so-called lobby
or services for the public will stay in the Farley building, but a number of
administrative and other functions will be relocated to other areas in
Manhattan. Moynihan, who also helped Washington, D.C. renovate another Union
Station, also a marble architectural masterwork, said: "The Pennsylvania
Station was one of the great buildings of the United States of the World,"
Moynihan said. "That it was torn down in 1963, mindlessly, has been with the
city for a long while, how could we do that? We now have an opportunity to
recreate the building."

The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org


End of RSHSDepot Digest V1 #459

The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org