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.