Inside the Retro-Futuristic Moynihan Station: Newest Plans Are a Throwback to the Old Post Office

  • Back in May, Amtrak invited bigs from both sides of the Hudson, Albany and D.C. to come celebrate the start of phase one construction on Moynihan Station—even Rosario Dawson, train aficionado, was there. Yet more striking than the silver screen star were the new renderings for Moynihan Station that Amtrak showed off.

    Not just the banal concourses of Phase 1 that have bandied about before—nothing new there—but honest to god interiors of the grand train hall meant to restore Penn Station to its former glory inside the old Farley Post office. In a bid for both historical preservation and cost savings, the roof of the post office will no longer be ripped off and replaced with a new glass ceiling, but instead the existing one, with its massive steel trusses will be preserved.

    Naturally, the very next morning, The Observer was hot on the trail of those renderings. (Really, do we care about anything else?) Sadly, one bureaucrat or press handler after another said, well, those are preliminary designs, so we’re not really ready to reveal them.

    But Amtrak just did, even if it didn’t mean to, in its latest report on high-speed rail for the Northeast Corridor (coming someday, we promise, fingers crossed), which the fine folks over at WNYC’s Transportation Nation picked up. Therein lie the renderings we were after, along with a lot of other cool high-speed rail pics that will keep us dreaming until we can finally get on board.

    That is set for 2025, but if Moynihan timelines are any indication, not to mention the deaths of such projects as ARC, then 2055 does not seem unreasonable.

  • Charlie Rangel (Photo: MyFox New York)

  • The first phase of Moynihan Station will be limited largely to new entrances on the west side of Eighth Avenue.

  • The entrance on 33rd Street includes a new subway entrance.

  • Inside, everything is slick 20th Century airport chic.

  • The biggest changes will not be the entrances but new platforms underground and rejiggered tracks.

  • The swooping new concourse for the first phase, reminiscent of Santiago Calatrava's World Trade Center PATH station.

  • The real show stopper is the new train hall, which keeps the old Farley Post Office roof intact, a cost-saving and preservation-friendly move.

  • This is contrary to a 2006 proposal, seen here, that would have done away with the old roof and replaced it with a soaring new one.

  • A more historical approach was proposed in the original Moynihan plan, outlined in 2001.

  • New corridors will connect riders not only to trains but retail opportunities—much of the old post office will be converted into shops, like at Washington and San Fancisco's train stations.

  • This is all part of a bigger plan for high speed rail, which Amtrak presented at the post office in May. a huge new station would be built for this along 30th Street.

  • This would help accommodate new bullet trains traveling up and down the Northeast Corridor.

  • By Amtrak's own admission, this rollout will take not a few decades to complete.

  • But the opportunities for connectivity throughout the region are big.

  • Especially when you consider the congestion coming to the nation's highways. Beep, beep.

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