On December 4th, members of the Design Trust Council suited up in hard hats and work boots and went on a behind-the-scenes tour of Moynihan Train Hall. Now in the final stages of construction, the project has transformed the historic James A. Farley Post Office into a new concourse for Penn Station, NYC's busiest transit hub. The 1.6 billion dollar project, overseen by the Empire State Development, is funded by public and private entities including MTA, Amtrak and developers Skanska, Related, and Vornado. The revamped train hall is expected to be completed in 2020.
Our group of 15 was led by Michael J. Evans, President of Moynihan Station Development Corporation, who shared insights into how this brand new public space will celebrate New York's history of grand train stations while building capacity for the region's rail system. The project is immense, with greater square footage than the Empire State Building and construction costs totaling more than $40 million per month.
The 8-acre Farley building, located on 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Street, was designed in 1912 by McKim, Mead and White, the same architects who designed the original Pennsylvania Station.The Farley Building was one of the first structures to be protected under the Landmarks Commission in New York City, following the demolition of the old Penn Station in 1963. The project honors this heritage and restores many of the building’s historic Beaux-Arts features such as the majestic colonnades, terra cotta tiles, and arched windows, while adding state-of-the-art way-finding and amenities for LIRR and Amtrak passengers.
As we stood underneath a spectacular 92-foot skylight in what will become one of largest train concourses in the world, we were inspired and awe-struck by this undertaking. As one member of the group observed, “it was magnificent to hear about the history and challenges of design and construction of this amazing new public space and observe the creation of a place that will elevate travel and become the pride of NYC and its next big destination.”