Last fall, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled plans to give Penn Station a desperately needed makeover, complete with a 70,000-square-foot balcony, magnificent skylights, and “giant LED screens displaying blue skies and clouds.”
On Wednesday, Long Island Rail Road riders got a preview of one potential new feature: a waterfall of sewage.
Water began streaming from the ceiling near tracks 18 and 19 around 9:30 a.m. and continued falling throughout the day. Video showed workers mopping feverishly as water overflowed from large trash receptacles placed under the leak.
The MTA said the liquid was coming from 2 Penn Plaza, the building that sits above the station. Vornado Realty Trust, which owns the building, said the situation was under control by around 3 p.m. Water continued to trickle from the ceiling, and as of 9 p.m. the flooded area was still blocked off.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by a leak from one of our building pipes,” said a Vornado spokesman. “The situation is now under control, and we are working to clean and restore the affected area prior to this evening’s rush hour.”
Vornado did not specify what type of pipe had burst, but commuters felt the filthy water was infused with more than the natural eau de Penn Station. “It just smelled like poop or rather sewage water,” Daniel Goodwin told Gothamist. “It was brownish but that could’ve been from rust or debris. As I was walking by a custodian said out loud that it smelled like sewage water — I imagine he has a better nose for these things than I — and was telling other passersby. You could smell it by the 1/2/3 subway entrance.”
There’s never a good time to find out sewage water has become part of your commute, but riders were particularly irritated since Amtrak announced last week that some Penn Station tracks will be closed for repairs this summer, which will likely cause extensive delays.
“Well, mostly, you can’t say on TV, but are you blanking kidding me?” ride Adam Grant told CBS News. “I mean, this experience gets worse every day. Our rates go up. My train goes up. The trains get slower, and now there’s apparently a natural disaster inside Penn Station. So it’s great.”