New York City’s nightmarish Penn Station is getting a much-needed makeover

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A rendering of the redesigned Penn Station in New York City.
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SOM

New York City’s Penn Station is a transit nightmare. It’s crowded, confusing to navigate, and frequently smells like a mix of Auntie Anne’s pretzels and body odor.

Traveling through Penn is a bit of a necessary evil that commuters just deal with. It’s an incredibly busy transportation hub, where roughly 650,000 people and 1,200 trains pass through each day.

Fortunately for commuters, the train station will soon get a much-needed makeover. In January, New York City Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Penn Station overhaul, which was projected at the time cost $3 billion. On September 27, he unveiled more specific plans and new renderings by the design firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM).

The new Penn Station, set to be completed in 2019, is now estimated to cost $1.6 billion. Check it out.


The Amtrak waiting area, currently on the first floor near the Eighth Avenue entrance, will be moved to the historic James A. Farley Post Office building across the street, Cuomo says.

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SOM

The new Farley Post Office will measure 250,000 square feet (larger than Grand Central Terminal), and will be renamed the Moynihan Train Hall.

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SOM

Amtrak and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) will service passengers there …

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SOM

… who can also shop and mingle in its forthcoming 700,000 square feet of retail and office space.

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SOM

A dramatic skylight harkens back to the old Penn Station, which was demolished and rebuilt in the 1960s.

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SOM

The LIRR concourses will be redeveloped by the MTA, which will triple the width of the 33rd Street Corridor — one of the busiest sections of Penn Station.

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SOM

The plan also calls for upgraded ticket stations, Wi-Fi, new escalators, signs that are easier to understand, and larger windows for more natural light.

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SOM

“Penn Station is the heart of New York’s economy and transportation network, but it has been outdated, overcrowded, and unworthy of the Empire State for far too long,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We want to build Penn Station to be better than it ever was, and that is exactly what we are going to do.”


This is not the first attempt to revive Penn Station. Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, proposed a similar plan in the 1980s, but funding fell through. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan later tried to rebuild the station, but Amtrak withdrew from the plan in 2001.

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Carlo Allegri/Reuters

In his 2016 State of the State Agenda, Cuomo also announced a $300 million allocation to NYC’s environmental protection fund and a $1 billion plan to expand the Jacob K. Javits Center by 1.2 million square feet.

In September, Cuomo unveiled five finalist designs for a redesigned Port Authority Bus Terminal.


It’s a long-overdue overhaul.

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Andrew Cuomo Administration/Flickr