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Should Penn Station Be Restored To Former Beauty?

Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan used to be a beautiful terminal. It was designed by the preeminent architectural firm, McKim, Mead & White.

It was destroyed and redeveloped in 1963 into the Pennsylvania Plaza, which includes Madison Square Garden.

The main concourse of the original Pennsylvania Station in New York is pictured on April 24, 1962. (Library of Congress/Cervin Robinson)

The main concourse of the original Pennsylvania Station in New York is pictured on April 24, 1962. (Library of Congress/Cervin Robinson)

With Madison Square Garden’s permit to operate in the above-ground space over the station expiring, the owners want it renewed in perpetuity.

The opponents, including the Municipal Art Society of New York City, want to restore Penn Station to its former beauty.

They won a round in the debate when the City Planning Commission voted last week to limit Madison Square Garden’s permit to 15 years.

Four architectural firms will unveil their design for a new Penn Station Wednesday.

And the New York City Council is expected to vote on Penn Station’s future within two months.

Here & Now host Robin Young tours both Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station with Vin Cipolla, president of the MASNYC.

As New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman says, to pass through one is a gift, the other, a humiliation.


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