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.
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.
I’m looking to coming back and exploring more soon.
Growing up, I always wanted a really nice globe but the only one we could afford was a cheap metal version that had a big raised seam at the equator. The seam was so big it looked like the Earth had a Saturn-like ring.
I was a little embarrassed that our globe was not as nice as the ones some of my friends owned, and certainly not as nice as the ones in school.
It’s hard to describe how much better Columbus Circle is today compared to just about any time in living memory. It’s actually a place you’d want to visit and even linger instead of just pass through as quickly as possible.
I feel really lucky that I get to walk through GCT on my way to work each day. The beauty and bustle of the place lifts me up on even the toughest of days. The endless supply of good things to eat there doesn’t hurt either.
It’s very sobering to pass by St. Vincent’s during its demolition. You can’t help but think about all the human experiences that must have taken place there. They’re ghosts now, and the building is following them.
I don’t know nearly enough about the situation to say whether it’s good or bad that St. Vincent’s Hospital is being replaced with (very pricey) housing. But I can say I have a definite emotional reaction every time I pass by this site.
This is from the south side of the rail yards, looking east.That pointy building in the distance looks kind of familiar. The building on the right is one of those filing cabinets for widows and young professionals that Manhattan is especially good at manufacturing lately.
Bloomberg Tower has a really cool mid-block space, but it’s too bad there’s not more to entice the public to come in. Hard to believe that beneath this uber-urban block development lies a (rather nice) Home Depot.
(Bloomberg Tower, 58 St & Lexington Av, Manhattan)
But the forlorn platforms are nothing compared to the crypt-like pedestrian underpass that connects them. On a recent ride around Brooklyn, I used the underpass to get across Atlantic Avenue. It was deserted and and full of blind corners, and frankly, I was scared shitless and wondering what I was doing in that maze with a Bike Friday, an iPhone, and no weapons of any kind (except my razor wit, of course).
As it turns out, the Chinese geek with the funny bike was the scariest — and only — thing in that tunnel while I was down there. Other than my imagination. I memorialized the moment with my iPhone and got the heck out of there.
I’m a Times addict. I look at the site at least a dozen times on an average day, a figure that’s only gotten larger now that I’ve gone iPhone. Their new headquarters looks awesome, and I hope someday to go inside and check it out.