On West 31st Street, wedged in between a Park 'n' Lock and DVD store, stands the only remaining trace of the glorious original Penn Station. Scouting NY's Nick Carr has turned his camera on the "granite behemoth" at 242 West 31st Street to discover that the building with curiously blacked-out windows and an industrial door is the original Penn Station's service building. Designed by Charles McKim of McKim, Mead, & White, with William Symmes Richardson, the granite-faced building is where "all of the critical powering services to the original Penn Station" were produced, including electricity, heat, light, elevator hydraulics, compressed air, and refrigeration, the Municipal Art Society says.
As of 2008, the building was included in plans for the Moynihan Station project to be used as a power house for some of Amtrak and New Jersey Transit's back-of-house operations. These days, the building sits largely abandoned with one control room in use. If the Moynihan Station plans never pan out, Times columnist Christopher Gray once suggested that the building be spruced up and used as a post-modern historical society or a crematorium, which is obviously what we would have suggested too.
↑ This 1911 photograph of Penn Station appears to show the service building peeking up from the rear. Image via Wikipedia.
↑ Good thing the new Penn Station took an architectural cue from the old Penn Station. Uh, or not. One thing all New Yorkers can probably agree on is that the city needs a new Penn Station.
· This Mysterious Building On West 31st Street Is the Last Remnant of Penn Station [Scouting NY]
· McKim, Mead and White's "Post-Modern Historical Society" [MAS]
· What Would It Take to Rebuild The Original Penn Station? [Curbed]
· 50 Years Later, Relive the Destruction of Old Penn Station [Curbed]