Isn't it irritating how when you take the subway or PATH to Herald Square en route to Penn Station you have to clamber up to the street and wade through the mob scene just to schlep a block over to Seventh Avenue and go back underground again? Why can't there be a tunnel connecting the two stations? Turns out there is; it's just that it was closed sometime around 1990, possibly because nobody wanted to pay for its maintenance.
Called Gimbels Passageway, it's named for the old Gimbels department store that closed in 1986, which was replaced by Manhattan Mall. The draft scope of work (PDF) for the 15 Penn Plaza Project (which would replace the Hotel Pennsylvania with a commercial tower) states that a restoration of the passageway would be part of the proposed subway improvements.
Rail Fan Window blog has lovingly parsed the report, and finds that not only would one be able to walk from 32nd Street and Broadway "and not come back above ground until reaching the IND subway stairs on the west side of 8th Avenue at 33rd Street," but also:
Even better, if Moynihan Station gets built, you’ll be able to stay indoors and keep walking west another half-block towards 9th Avenue. And if Madison Square Garden gets built on the western half of the block, then maybe you’d be able to stay inside all the way to 9th Avenue!
And after that, a tunnel to Hoboken! We've contacted NYC Transit for more details, and though it's going to be a while until this happens (if ever!), a plan to avoid the Herald Square consumer crush when late for a train is definitely change we can believe in.