New York's Pennsylvania Station is much more than a transit hub. It is the busiest transportation facility in the Western Hemisphere, it is at the heart of our city and region, and it is the lynchpin to reimagining its neglected surroundings. But beyond these significant concerns, Penn Station is also a symbol: from the extraordinary engineering feat it and its trans-Hudson tunnels represented in 1910, to the demolition of McKim, Mead & White's Beaux Arts spectacle in the 1960s, to its future disposition in the coming years. Penn Station symbolizes, for good or bad, who we are as a society. Its future asks whether we still believe in the idea of the public, whether we believe in a shared civil society, whether we can still come together to imagine a future as collective as it is bright. Our proposal imagines the station as a new public commons, a civic space both sober and soaring, an idea born out of architectural restraint during a time that asks us to do more with less. By proposing to recycle the superstructure and foundations of Madison Square Garden once the Garden has a beautiful new home at the west end of the Farley building, our proposed station creates a grand commuter pavilion at minimal public cost and disruption. This new commuter pavilion reinforces other proposals for the area, including an Amtrak station in the east end of the Farley building, improved entrances and concourses to the north and west, and, most importantly, the tracks and platforms proposed to be built to the south as part of the Gateway tunnel project. The definition of success is new capacity, a new station, and a new neighborhood. Beyond the specifics of the building, however, this proposal provides the opportunity to reimagine the entire neighborhood as a destination rather than a repellent, with a new Madison Square Garden, new office, housing and hotels, new eateries, and a small public park, all at the heart of our city. At the center of the new district will be a grand public space without a grand public price tag, a chance to reaffirm our belief in civic infrastructure and our shared public realm.


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