A historian once bluntly assessed Penn Station's two incarnations as follows: "One entered the city like a god, one scuttles in now like a rat." It’s hard to imagine today, but the warren of ailing tunnels and musty passageways that moves over 600,000 passengers and 1,200 trains each day was once topped but by a “temple of transportation.” Where now sits the Madison Square Garden sports and entertainment complex, there once was a colossal Beaux-Arts marvel with a waiting room modeled after the Roman Baths of Caracalla; an airy concourse mimicking great European train sheds crowned by a 150-foot-tall vaulted ceiling of steel and glass; and arcades of shops modeled after those in Milan and Naples. The decline of rail transport after World War II spurred the Pennsylvania Railroad to sell the building’s valuable air rights, and in 1963 a demolition commenced that appalled preservationists and led to a law that eventually saved other landmarks. Despite recent upgrades to Amtrak’s and New Jersey Transit’s waiting areas and an ambitious plan that aims to restore the station’s glory by incorporating the Beaux-Arts post office across the street, Penn Station remains a somber time trap. The current structure serves as a drab, utilitarian, and often maddeningly congested hub for three rail companies: Amtrak shares tracks with New Jersey Transit, while downstairs the Long Island Railroad travels to Nassau and Suffolk counties. The 1, 2, 3 and A, C, E subway lines, on opposite ends of the terminal, connect to points in Manhattan.Historical Remnants
One of the 22 marble eagles (weighing 5,700 pounds each) that crowned the old station is perched on the ground near Seventh Avenue and 31st Street, and another is at Seventh Avenue and 33rd Street. At the West Gate of Tracks 5 and 6, an original brass-and-iron staircase remains.
Located on Seventh Ave. at 32nd St. and Eighth Ave. at 33rd St.