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The New Penn Station Will Inherit an Old Problem

Governor Andrew Cuomo has a bold plan for the $3 billion transit hub—but is it a complete one?
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Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

What’s left to say about New York’s dreadful Penn Station that hasn’t already been said about the post-iceberg Titanic? The Western hemisphere’s busiest transit hub is notorious for its balance beam-narrow platforms, claustrophobic passenger concourses, limited and uninspired retail options, and uncivilized late track announcements that make the Running of the Bulls look like tea time. Like being party to the great ship’s end, the best you can hope about the experience is that it’s brief.

So take that general hatred of Penn Station, and add a pretty drawing of what it might become, and you’ve got a development offer no sane New Yorker is going to refuse. Governor Andrew Cuomo capitalized on that knowledge this week when he announced a plan to transform America’s most-despised train hall into an angelic Empire Station Complex. If the vision holds true to the renderings, the new Penn will be filled with light, air, and the end of all rudeness and haste.