June 22, 2017
Summer officially began yesterday, but the “Summer of Hell” for LIRR commuters arrived weeks ago. Track work and high passenger volume have combined to create an ongoing crisis of cancelled or delayed trains and frustrated commuters. Into the mix was thrown, this week, a band-aid for the hemorrhaging Penn Station. The long awaited West End Concourse beneath the GPO on 8th opened for business with two new entrances bookending the iconic front steps of the James A. Farley Post Office as the main PO is officially known.
How much relief the new entrances and concourse provide will be subject to how much aggravation commuters face once inside the station. The new concourse doesn’t specifically address the problem on the minds of most commuters: delays. First impressions: zero trash receptacles; just a few screens with track info; a shiny, new concourse with greeters handing out cookies and bottled water.
From Gov. Cuomo’s Press Release:
“Fifty years after the loss of the original Penn Station structure, passengers will once again experience a world-class rail hub worthy of New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Farley Building’s Moynihan Train Hall is two decades in the making, and we are proud that this project is finally a reality. With better access to trains and subways and state-of-the-art infrastructure, the Moynihan Train Hall seamlessly joins history, architectural design and function, bringing the nation’s busiest rail station into the 21st century.”
The $1.6 billion project is being funded with $550 million from the state, $420 million from Amtrak, the MTA, the Port Authority and federal grants, and $630 million from the joint venture developers.
The Farley Building was designed by McKim, Mead and White as a sister to their masterpiece–the original Penn Station. Five decades after the loss of the original structure, the Moynihan Train Hall will once again provide New Yorkers a grand entrance in a McKim, Mead and White architectural marvel. The Farley Building’s train hall will bear the name of one of its great champions—the late Senator Patrick Moynihan.