Today, the station is a dismal subterranean affair that looks like a garage and smells like a urinal. Steve Parissien's Pennsylvania Station (Phaidon, pounds 19.99, 19 September) is a glamorous way of imagining yourself back in the heyday of the American railroad, and of understanding how modern and ancient architecture can work to the betterment of both.
New Yorkers are fond of talking about the reconstruction, one day, of Pennsylvania Station, which, demolished in 1966, was one of the greatest buildings of this century. The magnificent terminus combined the baths of Diocletian, ultra-modern space planning and the latest in steel-frame technology. It was too good to last.