Free The Rise And Fall Of Penn Station Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Station, Railroad, City, New York, Air, Rail, Structure, Building

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/16


The Pennsylvania station was a one of the historic railroads in the history of America designed by McKim, White, and Mead. The original station was perceived a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style (Solomon, 2013). The Pennsylvania railroad in the 1900 was one of the largest corporations in the world led by President Cassatt. The architectural masterpiece completed in 1910 occupied two city blocks from the seventh avenue to the eighth avenue. The original station was 784 by 430 feet, and it covered about 8 acres. The station was the first to separate the terminals for the departing and the arriving passengers. In 1910, the rail station accomplished the colossal engineering act of constructing tunnels under the East Rivers that connected the railroad to New England and New York thus, knitting the eastern part of the US and the area around New York City Hudson. The tunnels constructed terminated in what appeared as one of the greatest architectural achievements of that time. The unthinkable however happened about 53 years later after the construction of such a magnificent structure.
Visitors to the station experienced the classic and the grandeur architecture of the ancient Rome while in the waiting room of the station (Solomon, 2013). The windows of the station had a future learning look and were lined with steel. The station was a celebration and a great gift to the New York City. The designers, in order to accommodate the future needs of the station, constructed an enormous structure that was able to carry up to 200,000 passengers. The number of passengers using the station rose steadily from about 10 million in 1911 to about 109 million in 1945. Penn station was greatly used during the Second World War, as it was essential for the transportation of the troops and the various suppliers that they needed. The rise of air and automobile travel in 1960 however led to the reduction of the rail travel by about 27 percent. Because of the decline of the railroad industry, it became difficult for the Pennsylvania railroad station to maintain the terminals in one of the most expensive real estate market. Due to the falling market, the executives of the railroad saw it wise to search for alternative means of income and decided to rent the air space.
The railroad station optioned its air rights in 1950, and this covered the exteriors and the interiors. This option called for the demolition of the train shed and the head house that was replaced by a new sports and an office complex. The plans for Madison square garden and Penn Plaza were announced in 1962 by Felt, who had bought the air rights to the station. The station was demolished since the executives argued that the maintenance of the old structure was becoming prohibitive. Questions as to whether to preserve the building that was one of the functional pieces of the city’s infrastructure was raised in defense of the station to avoid demolishing it.


The station was one of the greatest gifts that New York had and should not have been demolished. Pennsylvania Station was a monumental building and was supposed to last forever in order to herald and fully represent the American empire. According to me, demolishing the rail station was like destroying a treasure.


Solomon, B. (2013). North American railroad family trees: An infographic history of the industry's mergers and evolution. Minneapolis, MN: Voyageur Press.

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