15 May - 2021

New Uses for Old Buildings: Moynihan Train Hall

The current attention to massive investment in American infrastructure has revived hopes of creating a tremendously improved transportation hub for the New York metropolitan area. The newly opened Moynihan Train Hall in the re-envisioned Farley Post Office building reflects the excitement that a grand welcoming space for local residents, commuters, long distance travelers, and tourists can generate. Moynihan Train Hall has already become a popular destination during the pandemic, for those drawn to see the tremendous scale of the majestic, light-filled central space which recalls the original Penn Station, demolished in 1963. Feats of modern architecture blend with the preservation of the original steel trusses and the dramatic skylights soar “like inverted nets or inflated glass balloons,” according to Michael Kimmelman, NYTimes architecture critic.

At a time when new symbols of inspiration and revitalization are so needed, it is especially moving to experience the spirit of public grandeur and hope represented by the great buildings of the first decades of the 1900’s, when the original Penn Station as well as the Farley Post Office and Grand Central Station were all built. This was architecture in the service of a vibrant city and a celebration of commerce, transportation and urban vitality, which we yearn for today.

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