It's been nine months since Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his plans for an all-new, all-glass Penn Station (and it's been six months since the unveiling of plans for the even newer, even glassier Two Penn Plaza). But 2016 has been a hell of a year, and a lot has changed in that time, including Cuomo's vision for the future Penn Station, which he officially presented today. And it now looks like it is an airport where everyone from Lost could meet up after dying.
The latest new plan which is definitely happening this time, we swear, is to transform the James A. Farley Post Office on the west side of Eighth Avenue into the 255,000-square-foot Farley Train Hall; it will accommodate both Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road passengers. There will be 112,000 square feet of retail and nearly 588,000 square feet of office space. And, the kicker: construction is set to start this fall, and be completed by December 2020.
At the same time, Cuomo said that the MTA will initiate the comprehensive redesign of the LIRR’s existing 33rd Street concourse at Penn Station and an extensive renovation to the adjacent Seventh and Eighth Avenue subway stations. In a press release, he says, "The redesign will include nearly tripling the width of the existing corridor, which will significantly decrease congestion and result in notably higher ceilings—providing bright lighting, new way-finding, ticketing and informational systems."
Below, you can watch Cuomo's full presentation of the new plan, which was made at a luncheon for the Association for a Better New York.
“This plan is smarter and better for people who will use the complex,” Cuomo said in an interview with the Times, “and it will actually happen.”
As for critics who might bring up the fact that there have been many gubernatorial plans to transform Penn Station over the last 20 years that have fallen by the wayside, Cuomo said: "With more than twice the passengers of all JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports combined, the current Penn Station is overcrowded, decrepit, and claustrophobic. The Moynihan Train Hall will have more space than Grand Central’s main concourse, housing both Amtrak and LIRR ticketing and waiting areas, along with state-of-the-art security features, a modern, digital passenger experience, and a host of dining and retail options. This is not a plan—this is what’s going to happen. People are going to walk through this station and recognize that this is New York."