Editor's Note

Editor’s Note: As Penn Station redevelopment plan moves forward, Moynihan Train Hall shouldn’t be taken for granted

The building evokes the grandeur of the original Penn Station, which was demolished 60 years ago this month.

Moynihan Train Hall across the street from Penn Station

Moynihan Train Hall across the street from Penn Station Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Advocates for Penn Station have been calling for a bolder redevelopment plan for the nation’s busiest rail hub than what is currently in the works. That includes Rethink Penn Station NYC’s and the Grand Penn Community Alliance’s push for moving Madison Square Garden to allow for a new aboveground station. Some also have been receptive to outside proposals like that of ASTM North America, which removes The Theater at the Garden for a new Eighth Avenue entrance that would allow more sunlight into the station.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is moving forward with a plan to install a glass roof over an unused taxiway that also would allow more daylight into the station, among other major improvements that include new accessible entrances on Eighth Avenue. “It solves the problems for the everyday commuter,” Jamie Torres-Springer, the president of MTA Construction & Development, told me last week. About 94% of the 600,000 people using Penn Station are subway and commuter rail riders, according to the MTA. They show up, board a train and go. Plus, the redevelopment needs to be completed by 2027, when Metro-North Railroad begins its Penn Station Access service.

That doesn’t leave much hope for the advocates that they’ll get anything even close to what they want. At least they have the James A. Farley Building, now serving as the Moynihan Train Hall, which provides intercity rail service via Amtrak. Given the MTA’s priorities, Moynihan is the closest New York will come to reliving the grandeur of Penn Station’s past, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted.