New York’s $7bn plan to right an act of cultural vandalism that changed America

Governor Kathy Hochul calls the plan ‘a Penn Station that meets the needs of New Yorkers.’ Others have called it ‘lipstick on a pig.’ Will the rebuilding of America’s busiest train hub bring back its former glory? Nathan Place reports

Friday 05 November 2021 23:00
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<p>An artist’s rendering of the entrance to the proposed new Penn Station, as unveiled by Governor Kathy Hochul</p>

An artist’s rendering of the entrance to the proposed new Penn Station, as unveiled by Governor Kathy Hochul

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For some, it was the greatest act of cultural vandalism in US history.

The 1963 demolition of New York’s majestic Penn Station – considered a masterpiece of Beaux Arts architecture – and the construction of the dark, cramped labyrinth that replaced it caused an international outcry, and served as the catalyst for an entire movement to preserve American landmarks.

“Through Pennsylvania Station, one entered the city like a god,” the architectural historian Vincent Scully once wrote. “One scuttles in now like a rat.”

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