Monyihan Train Hall
May 2, 2021
No longer do you exit the train and enter a dingy Penn Station. The new Monyihan Train Hall is bright, open and beautiful. Here’s a description by one of the contractors:
SOM has had a leading role in the design of the monumental civic project to convert McKim, Mead & White’s 1913 Beaux-Arts James A. Farley Post Office into a 21st-century train station. Situated across Eighth Avenue from Pennsylvania Station, the new Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall will be a critical part of a redevelopment of the entire Penn Station complex, and it will anchor the burgeoning development of Manhattan’s Far West Side, creating a public space that offers a tangible link to New York’s grand history while adding much-needed capacity to the region’s rail system. This state-of-the-art transportation facility will increase the concourse space of the station complex significantly, relieve platform congestion, and transform the travel experience for hundreds of thousands of Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, and Metro-North riders.
New York’s original Pennsylvania Station came to symbolize the lost grandeur of rail travel and public space in the United States after its demolition in 1963. The new Moynihan Train Hall will reestablish this sense of civic monumentality with SOM’s design for a light-filled atrium in the Farley Post Office building. Shrouded during World War II, the vast space at the center of the historic building, which once served as the Post Office’s mail sorting room, will be restored to its original sky-lit state. An iconic new skylight will enclose the new boarding concourse, arching up from massive original steel trusses that span the internal courtyard. Melding old and new, SOM’s design establishes a grand civic space that celebrates the unique history of the Farley Building while evoking the vaulted concourse of the original Penn Station.
At mid-block, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, another glass-vaulted atrium encloses a new central corridor extending from 31st Street to 33rd Street and offering additional access to the Train Hall as well as retail and dining amenities. The new West End Concourse, with significantly expanded Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road access, opened in June 2017, and the Moynihan Train Hall is anticipated to open in 2020.
A word of caution. If you are going to use Uber, wait until you are outside to reserve a ride. If you do so inside the hall, the driver will not be sure where to pick you up. ☹️