By Paul Riegler
NEW YORK—Without much fanfare, officials inaugurated the new Long Island Rail Road concourse inside the James A. Farley Post Office Building in what is soon to be a reimagined Penn Station.
The new concourse is the first phase of the Moynihan Station project. The second phase will consist of a new train hall in the renovated Farley Building that includes a skylighted atrium approximately the size of the Main Hall of Grand Central Terminal, a new Metropolitan Lounge for Acela passengers, new shops, and a waiting area with high-top tables and charging points.
The project is expected to be completed by December 2020 and will serve Amtrak passengers in addition to those traveling on the LIRR.
Located directly across the street from the current, and rather dilapidated, Penn Station at the intersection of Eighth Avenue and West 33rd Street, the new terminal features an ambience not seen in this part of the city since the original Penn Station was razed in 1962. It is bright, airy, perhaps even cheerful. The signage is modern and stands in stark contrast to the rest of Penn Station.
The classical century-old Post Office Building was designed by the same architecture firm, McKim, Mead, and White, as the original, iconic Pennsylvania Station. Its monumental façade on Eighth Avenue was meant to match the colonnade of the firm’s 1910 Pennsylvania Station building that, at the time, faced it across the avenue.
Penn Station, which is also the terminal for New Jersey Transit, serves more than 600,000 passengers per day. It is the busiest transportation facility in the Western Hemisphere and has 21 tracks fed by seven tunnels. Owned by Amtrak, it is at the center of the Northeast Corridor, a passenger rail line linking New York with Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.