Good news for those pining for the old Penn Station (which should be just about everybody who's encountered the awful thing that is its replacement): a new book of photographs of the Beaux Arts masterpiece hit stores this week (h/t Atlas Obscura). "Penn Station, New York" by Louis Stettner puts on display Stettner's late 1950's photographs of the erstwhile station's breathtaking interiors, and what daily life looked like inside of its walls. For Stettner, the station was a "spacious and dramatic arena where people in the act of traveling went through a mixture of excitement, a silent patience of waiting, and an honest fatigue."
While much remembering of the old Penn Station focuses on the building itself, Stettner's photographs memorialize the space in a different way. They depict the melancholy and isolation and excitement and small delights that played out in its users on a day-to-day basis. The first photograph Stettner took inside the station was in 1957, of a girl in a party dress stepping between patches of sunlight splayed across the vast interior. As per Adam Gopnick in the book's introduction, ""All of these echoes, however truly they ring in these pictures—echoes of a lost time, echoes of changing classes, the reverberation of the loss of great public architecture—can't conceal the truest bell that sounds when we look at these photographs, and that is the bell of the one right person caught in the single telling moment." Stettner's photographs put on display the experience of the place, which is a whole other level of remembering.
· Photos From the Lost Penn Station, Where Commuting Was Infinitely More Beautiful [Atlas Obscura]
· Bold Designer Aims To Make Penn Station Less Terrible [Curbed]
· What Would It Take To Rebuild The Original Penn Station? [Curbed]
· 50 Years Later, Relive the Destruction of Old Penn Station [Curbed]