Penn Station so badly needed a complete overhaul that every minor task completed as part of the $22 billion renovation project is cause for celebration.
Last month, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled the (pretty underwhelming) ceiling at the transportation hub and, just a few days ago, the politician made it a point to invite the press to gaze at a wider, brighter Long Island Rail Road concourse at Penn Station.
Let’s start with the good: the renovated concourse—which stretches from the Seventh Avenue entrance near the 1/2/3 subway platform to the Eighth Avenue one by the A/C/E—is certainly brighter and not as much of an eyesore. The space has been widened from 30 feet to 47 feet, with ceilings reaching 18 feet in height. Commuters may also notice 9,500 square feet of programmable color changing LED ceiling lights.
Unfortunately, though: it all might not be enough. Penn Station, one of the most trafficked hubs in the nation, has been virtually ignored for decades now, turning into a nightmare for commuters both in terms of actual infrastructure quality and train timeliness. Whether the pretty massive repairs will finally turn it into something resembling a normal functioning public transportation option is yet to be seen, but, clearly, Governor Hochul is very excited about it all.
“Penn Station isn’t just the busiest transit hub in North America, it is also the beating heart of New York City, and for too long it hasn’t provided an experience worthy of New Yorkers,” the politician said in an official statement. “Today, we’re raising the roof on Penn Station—literally and figuratively—and paving the way for a better future as we unveil a wider, brighter Long Island Rail Road concourse. We’re one step closer to making Penn a world-class transit hub and making New York an even more livable, and lovable, city.”
In an official press release about the latest update, the Governor’s office confirmed that the entire project should be completed by early 2023 and that the customer experience at Penn Station will also benefit from a new mechanical system that will allow for better air circulation, enhanced accessibility options, intuitive wayfinding and additional retail and dining options.
Here’s to hoping we’ll actually (finally!) be proud of our midtown station.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.