Transit Tuesday: More Griping about Penn Station

Inari sushi – sweetened deep fried tofu skin stuffed with rice dressed with rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. Photo by miwa_in_oz

There is one redeeming thing about the current New York Penn Station – it’s Penn Sushi. They have great inari sushi. I always stop in to see the very friendly staff and pick up sushi whenever I travel by train. As for the rail station, it’s a joke.

The large photographs of the original New York Penn Station posted around today’s Main Concourse just baffle me. One shows the original Main Concourse, with its steel and glass vaulted ceiling, the stairways down to the tracks portals to adventure. Another shows the entry hall off of Seventh Avenue. I wonder whose decision it was to place those photos there, and what were they thinking. Was the idea to undo the destruction, to remind people that they should consider themselves in a place of great architectural history – but so sorry we let it go? The demolition of Penn Station in 1963 was known at the time to be an irretrievable loss to the fabric of New York, and it paved the way for the preservation of Grand Central Terminal (which rail building would you have rather saved?). How long did it take for  the modernism of the new train station to lose its sheen? Are those photographs supposed to make us feel better about our temporary rat-like existence in the current building bearing the name Penn Station?

RL Fifield 2012.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.