A $1.6 billion transformation of the 1913 Beaux-Arts post office decades long project exceeded expectations of most visitors. The Moynihan Train Hall converts what used to be a mail-sorting hall inside the James A. Farley Building, formerly the General Post Office, across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station into a new home for Amtrak and LIRR trains. The post office was built during the early 1910s by McKim, Mead & White and sits over the end of several tracks that serve Penn Station. The second part of the project is to renovate Penn Station with better connections to the Moynihan Train Hall, which will be truly spectacular for train riders when it is completed. Governor Andrew Cuomo finally green lighted the project in 2016 with plans from Michael Evans, the team at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill led by Roger Duffy and Colin Koop and the engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann.
A bright point and another reason to visit the hall is the inclusion of art. The Public Art Fund has contributed first-rate art installations including ones by Kehinde Wiley and Elmgreen & Dragset at opposite entrances. Peter Pennoyer designed Moynihan Train Hall’s Art Deco inspired clock in the featured image.
The Hive is a 1:100 scaled architectural model that offers a vision of a global metropolis using dozens of illuminated high-rise buildings that descend toward visitors. Elmgreen & Dragset combined miniaturized skyscrapers of their imagination along with iconic high-rise buildings from around the world with a downturned orientation giving the viewer different perspectives as they move around the space. It combines landmarks from Chicago, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, London, Paris and New York City.
Kehinde Wiley’s hand-painted glass triptych Go, at the 33rd Street entrance celebrates bodies in motion through breakdancing of young Black New Yorkers. Breakdancing is a modern dance style originated on the streets of New York during the 1960s and 70s among African American and Latino youth. Combining this urban invention with a classical and traditional European art form of frescoed ceilings elevate both disciplines into something more relatable and modern bringing to light the beauty and power of Black bodies.