Bitter irony

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On occasion, I take the south end of the A train which lets me off at Penn Station. I like to walk through, watching the people bound for other places knowing that I belong here, that this is my city. Then I am struck by the photos scattered about the place of the old Penn Station. A masterpiece of Beaux-Arts architecture and arguably the best building McKim, Mead & White built in their firm long and distinguished career, It was demolished in 1963 by the President of the Pennsyvania Railroad, Stuart T. Saunders, and replaced by the extant abortion “designed” by Charles Luckman.

One wonders what the thinking was that went into the hanging of pictures of the glorious old space in the universally loathed one now. To remind us not to repeat the mistakes of our past? A constant reminder that our public buildings are treasures we are responsible for maintaining? The demolition prompted the creation of the NYC landmark commission and saved Grand Central, already slated for destruction.

Whatever the reason, it always strikes me as eye poke in the eye and I wonder what the old place might have felt like.

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2 thoughts on “Bitter irony

  1. RG

    That was the station I would get off at to go to work and to get home. It was so ridiculous. You would never know where your train was going to end up. You would have a line of people on the platform leaning over to see if it was their train, then you would have a stampede to go back and back down the stairs to catch the train that arrived on a different platform. It was so ridiculous.

    Reply

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