If there were one train station to visit in Manhattan, most people would argue it's Grand Central. But after years of renovations, Penn Station on the west side gives the iconic east side hub a run for its money. That's because the new architecturally-stunning 255,000-square-foot space in the former James A. Farley Post Office features a hall filled with contemporary artwork.
The Moynihan Train Hall, the new hub for Long Island Railroad and Amtrak, just opened after $1.6 million worth of construction. Inside there are soaring 92-foot-high vaulted ceilings and an acre of skylights to brighten up the bustling transportation center. The space is also home to art installations by Stan Douglas, Kehinde Wiley, and creative partners, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.
The Hive by Elmgreen and Dragset features an upside-down, hanging cityscape with iconic buildings from around the world. Meanwhile, Go by Wiley is a hand-painted, stained-glass triptych that's backlit and takes over the ceiling near the 33rd Street midblock. It features images of black New Yorkers in breakdance poses. And Douglas's "Penn Station's Half-Century" photo series consists of four 22-foot-long panels on the walls of the central boarding concourse and waiting area. The photographer used models in period costumes to create the nine photos depicting scenes from the original Penn Station.
"This is a work of art in a way we don't build anymore," Governor Cuomo said during a press conference. "We build this as a statement for who we are, and who we believe we are, and who we aspire to be. Is it grand? Yes! Is it bold? Yes, because that is the spirit of New York, and that's the statement we want to make to our visitors, to our children, and to our future generations. And what this hall says to me...is yes, we can. Yes, we can learn. Yes, we can grow. As dark as 2020 was, to me, this hall brings the light literally and figuratively."
Empire State Development and the non-profit Public Art Fund commissioned all the art.