Like a mystical Stargate beckoning humankind into a spectacular new dimension or a fragrant Auntie Anne's, a new entrance coming to Penn Station next year will transport weary explorers straight down to the Long Island Railroad concourse. Located at the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue, the new "main entrance" is expected to open in 2020, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who made by far the biggest news splash in NYC today with the release of these renderings. 2020's gonna be a big year for Cuomo.
The new "East End Gateway," which is part of a $600 million renovation project, will give commuters a second way to directly access the LIRR concourse (the only other direct entrance to the LIRR level is at 34th Street).
In addition to its Xandar-esque aesthetic improvements, the new entrance and expansion of the concourse is intended to ease pedestrian congestion in and out of Penn Station. According to today's announcement, 250,000 people "take the LIRR every day, along with 235,000 daily customers who use New Jersey Transit. In addition, 115,000 people use the station each day solely to enter or leave the A/C/E and 1/2/3 subways or to patronize the on-site retail." As every savvy New Yorker knows, you don't need to buy a train ticket to join the party at Kabooz's, a destination in and of itself.
Other upgrades to come from the $600 million project—which is part of a larger $1.6 billion Penn Station redevelopment, including transforming the old Farley Post Office building into the new Moynihan Train Hall—include improved lighting, new retail and dining, widening part of the LIRR Concourse from its current 30 feet to 57 feet "to reduce potentially dangerous crowding," and raising the ceiling height to 18 feet across the entire Concourse, thus "eliminating the 7 and 8-foot high areas that have, for decades, made the station experience feel cramped and less spacious."
Construction on the new entrance will begin in June and is expected to be completed some time in 2020. According to today's announcement, $170 million of the project's cost is being paid through the current 2015-19 MTA capital plan, with the rest paid by New York State, which as it happens still owes the MTA $7.3 billion Cuomo pledged for the current capital plan.
We the Commuters is a weekly newsletter about transportation from WNYC and Gothamist. Sign up below for essential commuting coverage delivered to your inbox every Thursday.