It’s hard to believe that Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station was once a masterpiece of pink granite, marble columns, and arched-glass windows.
In 1963, the above-ground portion of the station was demolished to make room for a massive sports arena, Madison Square Garden. Its reputation as an architectural masterpiece quickly faded. And most recently several incidents have boosted the station’s reputation as a subterranean hellscape.
A train derailment in April that spawned mass cancellations outraged travelers. Later in the month, stampedes and false rumors of an active shooter rippled through Penn after police tased a man. Then, in early May, foul-smelling sewage water rained down on commuters from the ceiling.
But things were not always this bad.
Take a look at these photos of the original Penn Station, one of the last structures of neo-classical architecture in New York City, before it was torn down.
The original Pennsylvania Station stood from 1910 until its destruction in 1963.
The station was named for the now-defunct Pennsylvania Railroad, the company that built it. For that same reason, there are also Pennsylvania Stations in cities like Newark and Baltimore.
Construction on the Beaux-Arts-style marvel began in 1901 and took nine years to complete. It was designed by the renowned architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, which also built Columbia University’s campus.