Pennsylvania Station, 370 Seventh Avenue, West Thirty-first, Thirty-first-Thirty-third Streets, New York, New York County, NY
Significance: The construction of Pennsylvania Station was one part of a large building program undertaken in 1903 by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Included in this program was the construction of tunnels under the North River, which enabled Pennsylvania Railroad trains to enter Manhattan directly from New Jersey for the first time.
Because the trains entered on tracks below ground level, the architects did not follow any of the more common architectural forms for a railway station and designed instead a rather low, colonnade facade...
The rich sequences of spaces in the terminal culminated in the great concourse with its glass and steel roof. The design of the main waiting room was reputedly based on the Roman Baths of Caraculla. From a planning standpoint, the station was important for its separation of various forms of transportation on different levels and for the convenience of its many entrances and exits to the city.
Pennsylvania Station was built during the Golden Age of railroading, when its owners intended the terminal not only to serve the specific needs of the railroad by also to embellish the city as a monumental gateway...
Survey number: HABS NY-5471
Building/structure dates: 1903 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1964 Demolished
The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), also known as the "Pennsy" was established in 1846 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By 1882 it had become the largest railroad, the largest transportation enterprise, and the largest corporation in the world. With 30,000 miles of track, it had longer mileage than any other country in the world, except Britain and France. Its budget was second only to the U.S. government. Its only formidable rival was the New York Central (NYC), which carried around three-quarters of PRR's ton-miles. Until the early 20th century, the PRR's rail network terminated on the western side of the Hudson River at Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey. Manhattan-bound passengers boarded ferries to cross the Hudson River. The rival New York Central Railroad's line ran down Manhattan from the north under Park Avenue and terminated at Grand Central Depot (later Grand Central Station, now Terminal) at 42nd Street. The development of the electric locomotive made tunnels feasible and on November 27, 1910, Penn Station was fully opened to the public. Penn Station head house that was demolished in 1963. The demolition was controversial and caused outrage internationally and became a catalyst for the architectural preservation movement in the United States. Within the decade, the Grand Central Terminal was protected under the NYC's new landmarks preservation act. The current 1968's Penn Station is completely underground and sits below Madison Square Garden, 33rd Street, and Two Penn Plaza.
The history of New York City's transportation system. New York City is distinguished from other U.S. cities for its low personal automobile ownership and its significant use of public transportation. New York is the only city in the United States where over half of all households do not own a car (Manhattan's non-ownership is even higher, around 75%; nationally, the rate is 8%). New York City has, by far, the highest rate of public transportation use of any American city. New York City also has the longest mean travel time for commuters (39 minutes) among major U.S. cities. The Second Industrial Revolution fundamentally changed the city – the port infrastructure grew at such a rapid pace after the 1825 completion of the Erie Canal that New York became the most important connection between all of Europe and the interior of the United States. Elevated trains and subterranean transportation ('El trains' and 'subways') were introduced between 1867 and 1904. Private automobiles brought an additional change for the city by around 1930, notably the 1927 Holland Tunnel.