NY PENN and WASHINGTON DC
Various Scenarios of Tentatively Planned Improvements
PENN STATION NEW YORK
In 2014 the Municipal Arts Society sponsored a late entry in a sort of contest to find the best course to take with Penn Station and there was one clear winner, in terms both conceptual and practical - since all the other designs were based on relocating Madison Square Garden, only a year after a $1-billion renovation of the MSG property was completed. Woods Bagot's brilliant idea of axing the Hulu Theater (previously the Paramount, which had been greatly expanded per Paramount Communication's wishes starting in 1990) remains the high standard of all proposals regarding both aesthetics and practicality, since all the supernumerary further iterations of proposed Penn Station re-vamps have taken after it, except as to removal of the theater. We currently have two vaguely defined options being contested: one with the theater and one without.
Woods Bagot, 2014
The 2014 design also included a "Green" roof garden surmounting the glass station surround as a public amenity.
No one but the Dolans (who acquired full control of the MSG property in 1997) has ever been able to make the Paramount Theater solvent; and while Hulu might have stood a chance taking over in 2018 the COVID virus put an end to that, putting operation of the theater back in the hands of the Dolans. With its improbable and oversized 90-foot-high blind wall extending over 400 feet around the outside of the original MSG edifice, and still farther out on the sidewalk, going up and down 8th Avenue in obstructive wise, the theater, as vastly enlarged circa 1990 simply involves too much obstruction for too little gain. While Paramount's dreams for the enlarged theater never materialized, its extreme dimensions, forced-in under the MSG Arena, limit the possible options for providing high volume passenger access to Penn Station, because its quasi-theater-in-the-round setup cannibalizes all the space, extending around to the existing corner entrances now used by about half the passengers who access the station from the surface, mostly at 33rd Street, and necessitating the entrances' steep, cramped, narrow and "claustrophobic" atmosphere so bitterly lamented by both journalists and the MTA.
With the Woods Bagot solution and its rightly delineated offspring the problem of restricted passenger access is nicely solved, by allowing unobstructed access all along the 8th Avenue frontage inclusive of the two corners, for both passengers and MSG attendees, whereby the attendees move towards the corners and up, upon entering, as the passengers move towards the center and down.
LOOKING WEST TOWARDS THE POST OFFICE
While this relatively recent interior rendering by HOK Architects captures somewhat the idea of how to get unobstructed access for both passengers and MSG attendees, none of the more recent drawings - which began emerging as early as 2015 - seem to have concerned themselves very much with issues of circulation within the arena-and-train-station combine, which is largely all that matters. Most of the very numerous drawings from this period tend to be vague and conceptual, including a large body of drawings which included part of the station re-vamp already realized, which were produced under auspices of the Empire State Development Corporation and clearly in a much more defined form as to the already-realized parts than ever appeared facing the public. These, along with certain others drawings, seem to have largely disappeared from the internet now, and it looks as if some interested parties have called on architects to retract their drawings based on copyright grounds, in order to achieve emphasis on one or another of the drawings preferred or desired for promotion at the current time on the internet.
A large body of drawings in a stark and rather off-putting grey-scale International Style, with large rectangular columns and no people around, followed a year or so after the Woods Bagot entry, and has now almost completely disappeared. Likewise, some of the drawings produced for ASTM - the Italian developer/contractor attempting to promote the version without the theater - have also disappeared, notably one engaging view showing a glass surround with permeable access all around a la Woods Bagot, which has been substituted in all public facing instances by a surprising marble-clad Brutalist exterior produced by HOK, which likely predates it. Finally, a recent set of drawings evidently produced for Governor Hochul shortly after the Empire State Development Corporation's chosen developer Vornado backed out, creates a very pleasing though fantastic view of what might be expected to develop, albeit with the physical impossibility of combining both the theater and the permeable glass surround in a single design.
33RD STREET PASSAGE, BEFORE AND AFTER, AS ENVISIONED ABOUT 2015
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The type of ceiling is recognizable to a lot of us as subject to random destruction. Luckily this one was too high up and public to be conveniently vandalized.
Possibly the only surviving example from the "grey-scale International" rash of drawings. The columns haven't yet been written in.
UNINSPIRED BREUER-INSPIRED BRUTALIST
Not that I don't like Breuer, but it looks like a library built in the '60s that's already been torn down. It's center-centricity also defeats the multi-permeable glass surround purpose - fuhgeddaboudit
THE ISSUE OF MSG LOADING
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Empire State Development, with loading dock - recent drawing toned down, as pedestrian as possible, FX Collaborative WSP John McAslan & Partners
Whereas Empire State Development et al didn't seem much interested in addressing loading dock issues, ASTM consulted with MSG about it.
IN THE LATEST DRAWING THE BLIND WALL MOVES INDOORS
Assuming the glass surround is located 20 feet from the blind wall (now lit in a pleasing white vertical motif) the surround and the columns (which support the roof) would be based in the travel lanes of 8th Avenue. Perhaps we're looking at a potential enclosed taxi stand here, but I don't know about building columns in 8th Avenue. This simply leaves out any provision for vertical movement, by passengers or MSG attendees, and its easy to see how squeezing it into this scenario would be problematic. Courtesy of FX Collaborative WSP John McAslan + Partners
AN EARLIER RENDERING OF THE 33RD STREET CORNER ENTRANCE
If anything, the architect is trying to say that the theater's got to go. In an effort to make it more spacious they run the 33rd Street entrance out over the corner plaza, but still intend to keep the narrow provisions for vertical movement necessitated by the theater, as shown here within the extended entrance. This is one of the most embarrassing drawings of the whole lot, but the previous version, now unavailable, was worse. Both have the perspective distorted for forward emphasis, and it's clear the issues of blind corners and potential hangouts were not considered. It all amounts to the architects telling the MTA to get a life and get rid of the theater.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON PENN STATION REDEVELOPMENT 7/19/23
To: the MTA Board
Re. Amtrak: their History, and Effects on MTA Project Planning
I. Penn Station. Amtrak, though not precisely a freight carrier, in many ways represents the epitome of the Freight Carrier Railroad Engineering FRA Revolving Door Cabal in its current form.
Amtrak doesn't have a good record with train stations, and they or their immediate predecessors have ruined or irreversibly damaged a great many of our finest stations: See Grand Central (it's future was still precarious when Amtrak moved out, and THERE IS NO CAPACITY PROBLEM AT GCT: the capacity problem is - or occurred in - Mott Haven. Thus, the train station with the highest train capacity ever achieved was deliberately disabled.) Albany, Schenectady, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo Central, Michigan Central, St. Louis (probably our second-greatest station still surviving BUT IT'S BLOCKED) Cincinnati, Columbus, Springfield, Dayton, Kansas City, Joplin, Birmingham, TWO in Milwaukee, Madison: by Frank Lloyd Wright, South Bend, and 3rd & Townsend in San Francisco to name a few - all wrecked during my lifetime.
In the case of Washington Union Station (WUS: to use their nomenclature) Amtrak has been engaged in planning of an inexplicably misnamed endeavor called the Washington Union Station "Expansion" Project (my quotes) for the past 12 years. The longstanding most-successful and lucrative mall property in the the world now lays abjectly prostrate, owning to fall-out from the bankruptcy-with-fraud-accusations of a developer chosen by Amtrak and another quasi-government entity to lead this project. (Sound Familiar?) In the current gigantic and misguided, yet highly ambitious and expensive project, they intend to reduce the number of platform tracks from 33 to 19, while at the same time shortening the station tracks still further - after an earlier truncation prior to mid-century - by about 250 feet, making them about 250 feet farther from the curb than they already are: this following additional inconvenience already achieved in the '80s, by chopping off 62.5 feet from either end of the Concourse supposedly protected under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The area of the truncated concourse ends has since been boxed in, though for a long time they could have been easily restored, along with the convenience of access they once provided. The station was designed with much foresight to have two possible 1750' tracks on the west, and two 1500' through tracks. There is in the current plans a great deal of painstaking work that would result in no appreciable benefit - some of which appears as conspiracy to outright fraud - and too much else wrong with it to describe here.
But that's why I'm telling you: The only reason Amtrak (and probably your advisors) want Madison Square Garden removed from Penn Station is to create a tabula rasa rearrangement of the columns at track level SO THEY CAN LAY IT PERMANENTLY LAME. Just as the only reason Vornado wanted to build yet another chimney-shaped super-scraper at 33rd & 7th was to get rid of the historic hotel - it was a multi-decades ambition of that company. Tell me that any hotel of such dimensions and room configuration wouldn't be a goldmine if properly looked after at that location opposite Penn Station. You don't see streets with 30-story buildings as far as the eye can see, anywhere else, ever. They somehow kept it out of Wikipedia - and off the National Register - till their opponents were thoroughly worn down - then reneged on the entire project - at which point the Wikipedia article blossomed with all kinds of new historical info - and then suddenly demolition was under way!
While I'm glad to see Vornado has found some tenants for 33rd Street I don't see how it is they deserve to stay involved in any further agreements concerning the station. And now, ten years into this thing, the head of C & D has said to my face that THE MTA DOESN'T EVEN POSSESS WORKING DRAWINGS so they can at least negotiate effectively with MSG. It was Woods Bagot who produced the brilliant design in 2014: TO GET RID OF THE BLIND WALL. (that's approx. 80' tall by 400' wide - it stinks) and the Governor's new drawings - a no-doubt quickly (and nicely) produced act of desperation - strangely takes after the same Woods Bagot proposal, to the point where they show a physical impossibility, of having the nearly identical glass "surround" extend down 8th Avenue IN FRONT OF the said blind wall, where there's simply no room for it, or any entrance either.
Needless to say, I think you should be negotiating with ASTM (but skip the regressive Brutalist version by HOK, in favor of the less expensive glass surround.) ASTM will be incentivized to get the best results, including maintaining the property in top condition. Know that ONLY THE DOLANS (certainly not Paramount Pictures) were capable of making that theater work post-Felt Forum. It involved some dicey physical prestidigitation to suspend the giant balcony there (not unlike the private boxes) which extends around to the sides and serves to block the corner entrances to the station as well. Janno must be joking: the new drawing of the corner entrance with it's distorted perspective, again - is just as horrible - comically so - as the old one.
Of course I don't know how your existing contracts and relations with ASTM are going, but all things considered, believe that ASTM - and replacing the blind wall with an iconic entrance opposite the Post Office (which after all DOES have quite an entrance in its own right) is your best bet. Other than that, you're right about expanding the subway entrance on the lower level at 33rd & 8th - it's long overdue - and congrats on the 'soffit foil' over the big stair from the uptown local platform, with the inscription "Long Island Rail Road[sic.]" - since the stair beetles most frighteningly o'er the new higher space otherwise, with it's magnificent granite ashlar... bumpy stones don't match...
You're right about making the platforms "permeable" as much as possible - and that's been largely accomplished over the years through a sense of grinding necessity. But it isn't as though the manifold blockage of passenger circulation wasn't deliberately imposed: in order to promote East Side Access over the much more pressing need for a new trans-Hudson tunnel, and more platform tracks in Manhattan to serve it. At the time 'Access to the Region's Core' was being conceived the MTA was fee-simple OWNER of the Coliseum site, where the future Time-Warner Building would eventually rise. The OBVIOUS solution would have been to have a not-terribly-deep station there, roughly analogous to the current Whole Foods space, with the line dividing under Central Park into two 2-track lines, and a grade-separated connection to the Park Avenue Line running south. (In fact I have it drawn out - taking the route of least resistance in terms of real estate at Park Avenue, which would have been far less resistant then, with developers always willing to substitute the few nondescript pre-and-post-war buildings needed, to be sacrificed for more soaring skyscrapers.)
BUT NONE OF THAT WAS INCLUDED IN ANY OF THE EXTENSIVE AND EXPENSIVE EIS DOCUMENTS PRODUCED IN RE THE 1995-2010 ACCESS TO THE REGION'S CORE FIASCO - including the ludicrous deep-Hudson at-grade interlocking, to enable a spur to Penn Station with a 5% grade, involving a giant cofferdam. (Imagine traffic from both 34th St. and Penn Station converging under there!)
As for the troublesome obstruction-with-an-agenda at Penn Station, there was also the Arrivals/Departures Board opposite the entrance to K-Mart, where nasty passengers always gathered with open containers and open chewing mouths, threatening some kind of food fight if you tried to so much as walk through (and not MSG passengers either) ...where the big stair from the former Great Room used to be: speaking of permeability... and finally, The SNOTTY Private Waiting Room - smack in the central walkway/concourse:
Train stations are public places. They belong to everyone, but it's necessary to maintain order - and the police, just regular police (I doubt much effectiveness of long guns for the purpose) are better trained, highly experienced, and more capable than anyone ever has been at dealing with the kind of problems experienced with train stations. So if you have some NGO demanding loudly that soup lines and improvised shower facilities be placed, along with emergency sleeping accommodations, at various locations of their choosing within the station, then I'd say sue them - and instead, place a nice big and iconic well-lit waiting room "in with the general population." It's just as easy to police that way as with the contrived walls and barriers taking up space - having staffed and guarded ticket-counter-checkpoints with lethal force. There's no need to make further experiments in snotty juxtoppositions any more at Penn Station. The MTA (unlike Amtrak apparently) has always shown a good deal of realistic practical thinking in this regard, and at the height of what is hopefully now a waning degree of utter ridiculousness concerning this subject, Sarah Feinberg was heavily traduced for her actions, which it is now clear have stood us in good stead.
In conclusion, you should rightly be thankful for the 'captive audience' of MSG. They, more than any other discernible entity, feed the business in the station on which reliable MTA revenues depend. AND WHAT PORTION OF MTA AND NJ TRANSIT RIDERSHIP IS DIRECTLY POWERED BY MADISON SQUARE GARDEN? It's not something to be trifled with, as you are currently doing.
Best Regards, Bruce Hain
WASHINGTON UNION STATION
.If you had shown up at Washington Union Station in 1974 the above is what you would have seen. Intended as a small, below-grade theater to serve standing viewers of an audio-visual presentation about the Bicentennial, "the Pit" as it was locally known, never drew much attention, and closed shortly after it's July 4, 1976 debut. Shortly after the theater closed the station went into lockdown, after passengers complained of debris from the water damaged ceiling falling on their heads, and for the next 12 years passengers were required to follow confusing signage from the front of the station by way of some circuitous distance in order to reach Amtrak's new "Amshack" somewhere in back.
The grander attributes of Union Station remained disused and deteriorating till well after 1981, when President Reagan requested congressional concensus to undertake a major restoration, which resulted in legislation of the Union Station Redevelopment Act of 1981. In 1983 the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation was formed by the USDOT to enact the 1981 legislation, and requests were put out for private developers to undertake the improvements, which ultimately resulted in a revival beyond anyone's dreams, and the most lucrative and iconic indoor mall property ever, for 30 years running.
More recently though, things have fallen to pieces as the COVID epidemic took it's toll on businesses within the station, who broke their leases or parted amicably with the most recent developer to actually have a going concern at the station, whereupon the Development Corporation proprietors selected another developer to lease a hugely expanded property in accord with the current "Washington Union Station Expansion Project" - who promptly went bankrupt. And the mall property stands empty in the middle of Union Station.
So this is the stage we find ourselves at, with a mall property second to none (at least in the US) and some hugely expensive and overwrought plans to gut the station, which involve moving the tracks another 250 feet back from the curb than they already are - after being shortened earlier, pre-mid-century - and demolishing the existing mall property, with it's soaring flights of floating stairs and commodious balconies all clad in the finest marble ashlar that money could buy, showing no signs of wear whatsoever.
THE MARBLE APPOINTMENTS ARE CAMERA SHY
OUT-OF-THE-WAY STAIR FROM LOWER LEVEL
ON THE UPPER WALKWAY
TOP OF SAME STAIR
TWO CURVED FLOATING STAIRS FROM BEHIND
(view from front, as from Waiting Room, can't be found)
If they want a configuration that seduces visitors and passengers through to the concourse/mall and onto the platforms - as I believe has always been an intended quality of the station's layout - they should remove the obstructions, such as the Amtrak Ticket Counter, which is the superlative centerpiece of obstructions running most of the length of the concourse. Once past those obstructions it's like you had your Drawing Room downgraded to Amfleet I - as you enter the D.C. netherworld of "Amshack at Scale".
AMSHACK AT SCALE
Thanks to Sal Amadeo for the six preceding interior shots.
They'd be able to save a lot of money by just keeping all the marble and floating stairs, and perhaps building a set of platform gates that somehow take after the black metal banisters with solid mahogany railing, rather than demolishing them. Because they're not likely to stumble on anything more redolent of luxury and high style, set before the public inclusively, as the original mall conversion by architect Benjamin C. Thompson.
SOME DISTURBING MODIFICATIONS
Although the station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act in 1969, a few things inexplicably got by in the 1980s that should never have happened. The most disturbing of these was the shortening of the concourse, which not only spoils the massing of the building, but makes it less convenient for passengers approaching on foot from directions both facing and peripheral to the station. Prior to the 1980s revamp the concourse protruded about 62.5 feet on either side beyond the more massive main structure of the station.
"The New Union Station" circa 1907 shows the concourse at right, with its three giant entrance portals, extending beyond the main station building. No statuary, no fountain.
WEST SIDE OF CONCOURSE ABOUT 30 YEARS APART
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Three giant portals are shortened by filling in the tops, with roll gates closed midday.
At L. is world's ugliest pedestrian bridge to the P.O. to supplement
the mail tunnel?
Full effect of concourse chopping, overseen by the ludicrous stilted parking garage, here significantly toned-down as against the original weirdness.
PARKING GARAGE MOTIVIC WEIRDNESS
As it turns out the so-called Union Station Expansion Project succeeds in advocating for expansion of everything except the train station, which in fact is to be curtailed: with it's platform tracks reduced to five sixths their original length, and their number reduced by more than one third of the original 33 - while being boxed in on every side including above and below so that no further changes can be made. This is to benefit peripheral needs such as a bus terminal, expanded parking, and high-rise real estate development, where there appears no real exigency that any of these be considered. While for 15 years after the 1988 reopening there remained ample space for a separate bus terminal and parking facilities, planners have delayed until all this now-choice property was gobbled up, largely through selling off former railroad property. Washington Union Station is not a suburban commuter stop; special provisions for public parking are not a priority, and are in fact rare in center-city train stations. The attempt to squeeze in expansion of the already misplaced bus terminal, plus parking, creates an insoluble demand for space that simply doesn't exist. These so-called professional planners have been going at this project in this wise since 2012, and yet not one of them has seen fit to say anything about it. They and their inept quasi-federal corporation-in-charge should be publicly sanctioned for these actions and removed from the project.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON UNION STATION SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 6/6/23
Here follows my comment on the Expansion Project, which actually entails significant contraction and curtailment. If you're going from 33 tracks down to 19, while shortening the platform length significantly owing to some unexplained exigency of building a SECOND main concourse completely at odds with the existing architecture, then you're climbing the rails. I'm not opposed to contrasting contemporary style with tradition: it has been the most successful means to expand and modify properties that need it, when undertaken in a sober way, but the "Train Hall" is dimensionally gargantuan viewed against the original concourse, and screams it's belittlement through its indulgence in thematic material possibly otherwise graceful, but in this case insulting to the original: everything is Bigger, Better, Airier, with so much more light, glass and breathing room! A better option, if you want a few wider platforms, is to take away some of the single tracks, and go from 33 down to 30, not 19. The longest platforms were intended to allow two 1750' trains, and two 1500' ones on the through tracks. That should be preserved, and the two sharp curves on the through track platforms removed. They are some kind of appeal for more money to waste, but were not included in the original design. The original drawing shows gentle curves such that raised platforms would be compatible with 85' cars - and not with 15" of space in between.
True, the existing concourse has not aged well, but it's operating with a handicap, as some of the geniuses who worked on the last revamp seem to have found the concourse undesirable. Why else would they chop off the ends?
Clearly, if preservation law means anything at all the first priority in this re-do is to at least start down a clear path of getting the original concourse right. That means the FRA begins negotiating with with the SEC, because their very grand entrance has been standing in the way since 2002. The concourse needs to be extended about 62.5' on each side - up to the walls with the globular lamps on top, and the FRA had an empty space there for at least a decade after the Reagan Administration improvements were completed. It was only a level parking lot, yet they never reconsidered, never thought to secure the necessary property needed to ensure the viability of their own building, supposedly protected under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. And it is a 'pattern' with this cabal since about 1945: selling off the main line and pleading poverty all the way, while paying exorbitant "dividends" as the system of transportation goes to hell. It's an issue of the environment, of living standards and of national defense, and there are laws in place that enjoin it.
It was the railroads in their deprecated state leading to collapse that decided passengers were no longer wanted or needed, or the lucrative government contracts - which they refused - to carry the mail, leaving air transport as the only option for mail and package express. What Percent of US Mail goes by Air? It's now certain the Harley Post Office opposite Penn Station in Manhattan, with it's giant pneumatic tubes running all over Manhattan, will never be used to move the mail again, and the same applies to the "National Postal Museum" - because the railroads and their spiritual heirs, Amtrak and the FRA, want it that way. The Pennsylvania Railroad was the head of this cabal, once the richest railroad in the world; the NY Central was as an innocent victim, but they soon learned. It was the PRR that introduced propaganda kinks on the Northeast Corridor, just in time for the Metroliner's benighted debut. The tactic (rather inexplicable on its face) lives on in the New York City Subway and Long Island Railroad, which carry the highest passenger volume in the country. What I call the Freight Carrier Railroad Engineering FRA Revolving Door Cabal tends to use this tactic for leverage when they want state transit boards to start forking out for make-work "improvements" such as the one currently under discussion - which often castrate rather than alleviate bottlenecks and capacity constraints, serving often to get them etched in stone and steel of practical permanence. These people have no business selling property rights to anyone, never mind self-interested developers who will grab every chance they can get to work an advantage. Frankly, I think they owe their prospective partners (if any) an apology, and maybe some compensation.
Any re-do of Washington Union station must be constrained within reasonable monetary and spacial dimensions; it cannot be used as a springboard to catapult an exorbitant rent roll, especially if every time there's a business reversal, or a virus, the transit-critical house catches on fire. Where once this station had the finest indoor mall property in the world, by revenue and every other measure - and by far - it all cascaded in the space of a few months. How much worse will it be, if the mall property is expanded twofold? Is that not what Amtrak and their non-existent developers have in mind?
As a practical matter, this expansion - which actually entails diminution of the rail infrastructure's usefulness and versatility, and thereby its fitness for the future - must be curtailed. Because: The only reason Amtrak and the FRA want so much development on top is to lock in their destructive modifications at track level, so that (again) they are etched in stone and steel of practical permanence. The three commodious entrance portals at either side, on the front of the concourse, were designed to allow quick access to the platforms for dashing commuters wanting to bypass an extended trek through the crowded station. They were designed as a boon to passengers arriving on foot, and for both environmental and aesthetic reasons the Concourse must be restored. I'm not sure about Chicago windows all the way around at either end, but they might look nice with a long banquette continuing past the corners. I'm sure a very beautiful and up-to-date treatment for the ends can be had, perhaps with more glass to set off the clocks if it should be decided to retain them. (Oh! It was already decided to trash them.)
But what happened at the waiting room/concourse roof interface? Someone determined that the need for more glorious airborne light was so severe they needed to truncate the giant arch lunettes of the waiting room in order to achieve it? So the lunettes on the front of the building extend lower than the ones up against the ineptly modified roof of the concourse - as a sort of snoot cock to Burnham I suppose. Obviously, the symmetry of the Waiting Room's upper windows must be restored, now.
I find it very improbable that the side entrances at H Street will attract many passengers or visitors, as the SDEIS so insistently advocates. Who wouldn't just approach from the front and walk down the platform if they had the choice? Also, something very desirable of avoidance would be more big subterranean halls of lengthy proportions, as the board of the NY MTA has so bitterly insisted on, while denigrating the very pleasant modifications made at Penn Station in the '90s incessantly... with crummy results, and no tenants, at about two billion dollars so far, and with no appreciable benefit.
Certainly H-Street is a eyesore, and it should run UNDER the tracks. But Pergamente has already made Herculean efforts to beautify the inconvenient interface of their new building. So get your "basics" - exigencies - worked out first, and don't lie in the papers that you can produce an even moderately pleasant set of side entrances there without rebuilding the bridge. The grade is too steep. The bridge is a relic. Get rid of it. Bury it. THEN set about making your plans for investing in development and developers.
And I'm telling you: the only reason they want Madison Square Garden moved off of Penn Stations is to create a tabula rasa rearranging of the columns at track level, SO THEY CAN LAY IT PERMANENTLY LAME - then develop the property over it so it's absolutely permanent. The same thing applies at Washington: Amtrak doesn't have a good record with historic train stations. They, or their direct predecessors - the Freight Carrier Railroad Engineering FRA Revolving Door Cabal - have trashed a huge number of strategically located train stations, designed by the brightest engineers and architects of their age to serve the public in sometimes stunning and luxurious settings of great architectural diversity and often great beauty, intended to last for a couple hundred years at least.
Amtrak has shown through many of their actions that They prefer "AmShack" - regardless of any inconvenience to the public, or the practical inefficiencies of track configurations that their preferred locations often entail. See: Penn Station, Grand Central, Albany, Schenectady, Utica, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo Central, Michigan Central, St. Louis (probably tied with Washington as our second-greatest station still surviving, BUT IT'S BLOCKED) Cincinnati, Columbus, Springfield, Dayton, Kansas City, Joplin, Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery, TWO in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Madison by Frank Lloyd Wright, South Bend, Phoenix, and 3rd &Townsend in San Francisco to name a few.
Please! Don't let them do that again.
Very Truly Yours,
Bruce W. Hain June 6, 2023
Queens, New York
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