by Andrew Grahl and Robert L. Sartain/photos as noted
The long-awaited $1.6 Billion Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall at New York Pennsylvania Station opened to the public on New Year’s Day 2021. Named for an early champion of the project, the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from New York, the Hall was the site of speeches by prominent officials, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo two days earlier, but January 1 marked the facility’s opening day for the public.
Railfans are all too familiar with the sad history of the original Pennsylvania Station, the dream of Pennsylvania Railroad president Alexander Cassatt. Cassatt’s vision was realized after his passing, but was demolished in 1963. Few would argue that the cramped basement quarters of Penn Station under Madison Square Garden that Amtrak inherited were befitting the railroad in New York City. The new elegant and spacious Hall is highlighted by a 255,000-square foot passenger concourse, an atrium with a magnificent 92-foot glass skylight, which provides natural daylight and an Art Deco clock. The facility also provides sleek waiting areas, an additional 120,000-square feet of retail space, mostly still under construction, a food hall, also still under construction and scheduled to open in Fall 2021, and artwork.
A view of the corridor extending from the 33rd Street entrance. Stairs and an escalator lead down to the Moynihan Train Hall. The corridor seen in the center of the photo leading to 9th Avenue, including the food hall, is scheduled to open in Fall 2021. This view was taken a few hours after opening January 1, 2021. Andrew Grahl
The James A. Farley Building, located across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station, was designed by the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the same organization that designed PRR’s 1910 Pennsylvania Station. It opened as New York City’s general post office in 1914, four years after Pennsylvania Station opened. Designed in the same Beaux Arts style, it served as a graceful companion to the rail station, and mercifully survived into the 21st century.
Today the Farley Building offers 740,000 square feet of office space, primarily leased by Facebook, and 120,000 square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and public space in the Moynihan Train Hall.
The Train Hall
The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall now serves as the head house for Amtrak, the Long Island Railroad, and New Jersey Transit trains. The Hall provides direct passenger access to Amtrak, LIRR and NJT trains on tracks 5 through 16, and with corridors that connect to LIRR service on tracks 17-21. Access to the southern stub tracks 1 through 4 used by NJ Transit, and to the MTA subway system is not available directly from the Train Hall. There is no schedule info or train announcements for NJ Transit trains in the Moynihan Train Hall at this time. Penn Station will provide the only access to all trains during early morning hours when Moynihan Train Hall is closed between 1:00 and 5:00 a.m.
Opening Morning Outside Moynihan – A view of the Moynihan Train Hall entrance at 8th Avenue and West 31st Street in Manhattan on Opening Day, January 1, 2021. The $1.6 billion project included restoration of the 200,000-square foot façade of the former Farley Post Office building, now the Daniel Patrick Moynahan Train Hall. Andrew Grahl
The first construction phase started October 18, 2010, to build a new West End Concourse for the Long Island Rail Road a new entrance across 8th Avenue, and an expanded concourse within the James Farley Post Office, which opened in June 2017.
The second phase, to construct the new main train hall within the Farley Building, started construction two months afterward. Phase 2 also included restoration of the Farley Building’s 200,000-square foot façade. Governor Cuomo and other dignitaries held an opening ceremony on December 30, 2020…