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Architecture Design Transit Urban Planning

Moynihan Train Hall

The main waiting hall.

The new Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station opened to the public yesterday. It’s a project that was decades in the making.

I’ve been following the saga of the Farley Building redevelopment ever since I was an urban planning grad student in the late 90s and it’s a real thrill to finally see it in person. Frankly, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen in my lifetime.

Replacing Penn Station with Farley was a dream that had a perfectly poetic arc: Penn Station died so that Grand Central Terminal could be saved, then was reincarnated decades later in Farley, the adjacent McKim, Mead, and White palace that was spared Penn’s fate. All credit to Senator Moynihan, the project’s longtime sponsor and advocate.

No, the Moynihan Train Hall isn’t quite the full-on transformation of Penn Station that many urbanists had hoped for, But it’s a very good first step towards the goal of truly modernizing the infrastructure and operations at Penn.

Love seeing stairs from the platform that open into this huge space. It’s very OG Penn Station.

The location west of Eighth Avenue feels a bit lopsided today, but it points to the future of the Midtown CBD: westward expansion to Hudson Yards. In a decade or two, it’ll feel more central as the inevitable development happens around it.

I visited the site in 2017 before construction started but haven’t been back since. I only had 30 minutes today to check it out and was very pleasantly surprised at what I saw.

This is a nice clock and surprisingly subtle.
I really like these benches, which are a nod to the past without feeling overly retro. I just wish there were in the hall itself, not just the restricted waiting areas.
A nice transition to the West End Concourse and Eighth Avenue. I hope it ages well.
I think this is good v1 digital signage, but I’m hoping the designers will push further in later iterations. These are big, bright screens with lots of potential.
It’s easy to miss the mid-block arcade unless you’re headed to points west of the station but I’m glad the space doesn’t feel like an afterthought.

The 32 Street mid-block entrance is very nice. I love the artwork.

I’m looking to coming back and exploring more soon.