Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
Pennsylvania Station—known as New York Penn Station or just Penn Station—is a major intercity train station and commuter rail hub in New York City. Serving over 600,000 passengers a day (compared to 700,000 across town at Grand Central Terminal) at a rate of up to a thousand every 90 seconds, it is one of the busiest passenger transportation facilities in the United States and in North America.
The station is located in the underground levels of Pennsylvania Plaza, an urban complex between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue and between 31st and 33rd Streets in Midtown Manhattan. It is located underneath Madison Square Garden and lies in proximity to other Manhattan landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Koreatown, and Macy's at Herald Square.
Penn Station is at the center of the Northeast Corridor, an electrified passenger rail line extending southward from the New York metropolitan area to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and northward to Boston. Intercity trains are operated by Amtrak which owns the entire station, while commuter rail services are operated by the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit. The station has twenty-one tracks fed by seven tunnels—the North River Tunnels, the East River Tunnels, and the Empire Connection tunnel.
Penn Station saw 8.4 million Amtrak passenger arrivals and departures in 2010, about double the traffic at the next busiest station, Union Station in Washington, D.C. Penn Station's assigned IATA airport code is ZYP. Its Amtrak and NJ Transit station code is NYP.
Connections are available within the complex to two stations of the New York City Subway, and to many bus services at street level. The two subway stations are at opposite ends of the complex (Eighth Avenue Line & Seventh Avenue Line) and otherwise unconnected.
Future plans for Pennsylvania Station include the possibility of ending Madison Square Garden's permit to operate at Penn Plaza, allowing for the development of a new above-ground station house. Amtrak and New Jersey Transit are also considering renovating and relocating into the Farley Post Office adjacent to Penn Station, a building designed by the same architects as the original 1910 Pennsylvania Station structure, which would be known as Moynihan Station. A new concourse is currently being constructed beneath the front steps of the Farley Building to access the tracks below, slated to open in 2016.
- 1 Services
- 2 Station layout
- 3 History
- 4 Future
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Amtrak owns the station and uses it for the following services:
- Acela Express to Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington
- Adirondack to Montréal
- Cardinal to Philadelphia, Washington, Cincinnati, and Chicago
- Carolinian to Philadelphia, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, and Charlotte
- Crescent to Philadelphia, Washington, Greensboro, Atlanta, and New Orleans
- Empire Service to Yonkers, Croton-Harmon, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Hudson, Albany, Schenectady, Amsterdam, Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls
- Ethan Allen Express to Albany and Rutland
- Keystone Service to Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Harrisburg
- Lake Shore Limited to Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, and Chicago
- Maple Leaf to Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Toronto
- Pennsylvanian to Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh
- Northeast Regional to Boston, Providence, New Haven, Trenton, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, and Newport News
- Palmetto, Silver Meteor and Silver Star to Philadelphia, Washington, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami
- Vermonter to New Haven, Hartford, Springfield, and St. Albans
Amtrak normally uses tracks 5–16 alongside New Jersey Transit as well as the LIRR for 13–16.
Long Island Rail Road
- Babylon Branch to Babylon with connecting service to Montauk
- Belmont Park Branch seasonal service to Belmont Park
- City Terminal Zone with connecting service at Jamaica station
- Far Rockaway Branch to Far Rockaway, Queens in New York City
- Hempstead Branch to Hempstead
- Long Beach Branch to Long Beach
- Montauk Branch to Babylon and Montauk
- Oyster Bay Branch to Oyster Bay
- Port Jefferson Branch to Huntington and Port Jefferson
- Port Washington Branch to Great Neck and Port Washington
- Ronkonkoma Branch to Ronkonkoma and Long Island MacArthur Airport with connecting service to Greenport
- West Hempstead Branch to Hempstead
All branches connect at Jamaica station except the Port Washington Branch.
Normally, the LIRR uses tracks 17–21 exclusively and shares 13–16 with Amtrak and NJT.
New Jersey Transit
- Montclair-Boonton Line to Montclair, with connecting service to Hackettstown
- Morris and Essex Lines to Summit and Dover or Gladstone
- Northeast Corridor Line to Trenton
- North Jersey Coast Line to Long Branch, with connecting service to Bay Head
- Raritan Valley Line to Raritan and High Bridge
NJT normally has the exclusive use of tracks 1–4, and shares tracks 5–16 with Amtrak and tracks 13–16 with the LIRR as well.
New York City Subway
- From Penn Station:
- A C E trains at 34th Street – Penn Station (IND Eighth Avenue Line) station
- 1 2 3 trains at 34th Street – Penn Station (IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line) station
- From Herald Square, one block east at Sixth Avenue:
Bus and coach
New York City Bus
- M4 (Fifth and Madison Avenues/Broadway/Fort Washington Avenue): Northbound only to West 193rd Street – Fort Washington Avenue, Washington Heights (or the Cloisters Museum in Fort Tryon Park).
- M7 (Lenox, Columbus, Amsterdam, Sixth and Seventh Avenues): southbound to West 14th Street – Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village, via Seventh Avenue; or northbound to West 147th Street – Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, Harlem, via Sixth Avenue.
- M20 (Seventh and Eighth Avenues/Varick and Hudson Streets): Northbound to Lincoln Center via Eighth Avenue; or southbound to South Ferry via Seventh Avenue.
- M34 Select Bus Service (34th Street Crosstown): Westbound to Jacob K. Javits Convention Center; or eastbound to FDR Drive.
- M34A Select Bus Service (34th Street Crosstown): Westbound to Port Authority Bus Terminal; or eastbound to Waterside Plaza, Kips Bay.
- Q32 (Fifth and Madison Avenues): Northbound only, to 81st Street and Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Queens.
BoltBus is a discount bus company owned and operated through a 50/50 partnership between Greyhound and Peter Pan bus lines. They operate intercity bus service from two stops at Pennsylvania Station (New York City).
Penn Station Bus Stop #1 (West 33rd Street and 7th Avenue)
- Service to Penn Station, Baltimore, Maryland
- Service to Greenbelt Metrorail Intermodal Station, Greenbelt, Maryland
- Service to Union Station, Washington, D.C.
- Service to 10th Street and H Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Penn Station Bus Stop #2 (West 34th Street and 8th Avenue)
- Service to South Station (Gate #9), Boston, Massachusetts
- Service to Cherry Hill Mall, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
- Service to 30th Street Station, 30th Street between Market & Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Vamoose Bus is a privately owned company providing transportation from their stop one block from Penn Station to the Washington DC area.
Penn Station bus stop (West 30th Street and 7th Avenue)
- Service to Bethesda Station, Bethesda, MD
- Service to Rosslyn Station, Arlington, VA
- Service to Lorton VRE Station, Lorton, VA
Tracks and surrounding infrastructure
Tracks 1-4 end at bumper blocks at the eastern end of the platform.
Due to the narrowness of platform I, trains on Track 18 will usually not open their doors on that platform. Trains on track 18 open their doors on Platform J, which is the station's widest platform.
Normally, the LIRR uses tracks 17–21 exclusively and shares 13–16 with Amtrak and NJT. NJT normally has the exclusive use of tracks 1–4, and shares tracks 5–16 with Amtrak and tracks 13–16 with the LIRR. Amtrak normally uses tracks 5–16 alongside New Jersey Transit, as well as 13–16 shared with the LIRR. Empire Connection trains along the Empire Corridor can only use tracks 5–8 due to the track layout.
The North River Tunnels cannot access tracks 20 and 21, but can access tracks 1–19. The Empire Connection can only access tracks 1–9, though the Empire Connection, which hosts through services, can operationally load and unload on tracks 5–8. The LIRR's West Side Yard can only access tracks 10–21. The East River Tunnels' lines 1 and 2 can only access tracks 5–17 and are mostly used by Amtrak and NJ Transit, while the East River Tunnels' lines 3 and 4 can only access tracks 14–21 and are mostly used by LIRR.
Unlike most train stations, Penn Station does not have a unified design or floor plan but rather is divided into separate Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit concourses with each concourse maintained and styled differently by its respective operator. Amtrak and NJ Transit concourses are located on the first level below the street-level while the Long Island Rail Road concourse is two levels below street-level. The NJ Transit concourse near Seventh Avenue is the newest and opened in 2002 out of existing retail and Amtrak backoffice space. A new entrance to this concourse from West 31st Street opened in September 2009. Previously, NJ Transit shared space with the Amtrak concourse. The main LIRR concourse runs below West 33rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Significant renovations were made to this concourse over a three-year period ending in 1994, including the addition of a new entry pavilion on 34th street. The LIRR's West End Concourse, west of Eighth Avenue, opened in 1986. The Amtrak concourse, the largest in the station and originally built for the Pennsylvania Railroad maintain the original 1960s styling and have not been renovated since the new Penn Station was built.
Tracks 1–4 are used by NJ Transit, and tracks 5–12 are used by Amtrak and NJ Transit trains. The LIRR has the exclusive use of tracks 17–21 on the north side of the station and shares tracks 13–16 with Amtrak and NJ Transit.
As of April 3, 2011 the public timetables show 212 weekday LIRR departures, 164 weekday NJ Transit departures, 51 Amtrak departures west to New Jersey and beyond (plus the triweekly Cardinal), 13 Amtrak departures north up the Hudson, and 21 Amtrak departures eastward.
Although most Amtrak passengers board via the escalators in the main Amtrak boarding area, multiple entrances exist for each platform.
Platforms and tracks
|LIRR (21–13)||■Port Washington Branch||toward Port Washington (Woodside)
toward Great Neck (rush-hour local) (Woodside)
|■Main Line||toward Long Island (Woodside)|
|Amtrak westbound (16–9)||■Cardinal||toward Chicago (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Carolinian||toward Charlotte (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Crescent||toward New Orleans (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Keystone Service||toward Harrisburg (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Pennsylvanian||toward Pittsburgh (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Palmetto||toward Savannah (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Silver Meteor and Silver Star||toward Miami (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Acela Express||toward Washington, D.C. (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Vermonter||toward Washington, D.C. (Newark Penn Station)|
|■Northeast Regional||toward Norfolk, Newport News or Lynchburg (Newark Penn Station)|
|Amtrak eastbound (16–9)||■Acela Express||toward Boston South Station (Stamford)|
|■Vermonter||toward St. Albans (Stamford)|
|■Northeast Regional||toward Boston South Station or Springfield, Massachusetts (New Rochelle)|
|Amtrak via Empire Connection (8–5)||■Adirondack||toward Montreal (Yonkers)|
|■Empire Service||toward Niagara Falls, New York (Yonkers)|
|■Ethan Allen Express||toward Rutland (Yonkers)|
|■Maple Leaf||toward Toronto (Yonkers)|
|■Lake Shore Limited||toward Chicago (Croton–Harmon)|
|NJ Transit (16–1)||■Northeast Corridor Line||toward Trenton (Secaucus Junction)|
|■North Jersey Coast Line||toward Bay Head (Secaucus Junction)|
|■Montclair-Boonton Line||toward Hackettstown (Secaucus Junction)|
|■Morristown Line||toward Hackettstown (Secaucus Junction)|
|■Gladstone Branch||toward Gladstone (Secaucus Junction)|
|■Raritan Valley Line||toward High Bridge (Secaucus Junction)|
ClubAcela is a private lounge located on the Amtrak concourse (8th Avenue side of the station). Prior to December 2000 it was known as the Metropolitan Lounge. Guests are provided with comfortable seating, complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, newspapers, television sets and a conference room. Access to ClubAcela is restricted to the following passenger types:
- Amtrak Guest Rewards members with a valid Select Plus or Select Executive member card.
- Amtrak passengers with a same-day ticket (departing) or ticket receipt (arriving) in First class or sleeping car accommodations.
- Complimentary ClubAcela Single-Day Pass holders.
- United Airlines United Club Members with a valid card or passengers with a same-day travel ticket on United GlobalFirst or United BusinessFirst.
- Private rail car owners/lessees. The PNR number must be given to a Club representative upon entry.
Enclosed Waiting Area
Amtrak also offers an enclosed waiting area for ticketed passengers with seats, outlets and WIFI.
Pennsylvania Station is named for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), its builder and original tenant, and shares its name with several stations in other cities. The current facility is the substantially remodeled underground remnant of a much grander station building designed by McKim, Mead, and White and completed in 1910. The original Pennsylvania Station was considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style, but was demolished in 1963. The station was moved underground, and the Pennsylvania Plaza complex, including the fourth and current Madison Square Garden, was completed in 1968.
Planning and construction (1901–1910)
Until the early 20th century, the PRR's rail network terminated on the western side of the Hudson River (once known locally as the North River) at Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey. Manhattan-bound passengers boarded ferries to cross the Hudson River for the final stretch of their journey. The rival New York Central Railroad's line ran down Manhattan from the north under Park Avenue and terminated at Grand Central Terminal at 42nd St.
The Pennsylvania Railroad considered building a rail bridge across the Hudson, but the state[which?] required such a bridge to be a joint project with other New Jersey railroads, who were not interested. The alternative was to tunnel under the river, but steam locomotives could not use such a tunnel due to the accumulation of pollution in a closed space; in any case the New York State Legislature had prohibited steam locomotives in Manhattan after July 1, 1908. The development of the electric locomotive at the turn of the 20th century made a tunnel feasible. On December 12, 1901 PRR president Alexander Cassatt announced the railroad's plan to enter New York City by tunneling under the Hudson and building a grand station on the West Side of Manhattan south of 34th Street. The land for the station was bought up and razed from Manhattan's Tenderloin district, a historical red-light district known for its proliferation of corruption and prostitution.
Beginning in June 1903 the North River Tunnels, two single-track tunnels, were bored from the west under the Hudson River and four single-track tunnels were bored from the east under the East River. This second set of tunnels linked the new station to Queens and the Long Island Rail Road, which came under PRR control (see East River Tunnels), and Sunnyside Yard in Queens, where trains would be maintained and assembled. Electrification was initially 600 volts DC–third rail, later changed to 11,000 volts AC–overhead catenary, when electrification of PRR's mainline was eventually extended to Washington, D.C. in the early 1930s.
The tunnel technology was so innovative that in 1907 the PRR shipped an actual 23-foot (7.0 m) diameter section of the new East River Tunnels to the Jamestown Exposition in Norfolk, Virginia, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the nearby founding of the colony at Jamestown. The same tube, with an inscription indicating that it had been displayed at the Exposition, was later installed under water and remains in use today. Construction was completed on the Hudson River tunnels on October 9, 1906, and on the East River tunnels March 18, 1908. Meanwhile, ground was broken for Pennsylvania Station on May 1, 1904. By the time of its completion and the inauguration of regular through train service on Sunday, November 27, 1910, the total project cost to the Pennsylvania Railroad for the station and associated tunnels was $114 million (approximately $2.7 billion in 2011 dollars), according to an Interstate Commerce Commission report.:156–7
Original structure (1910–1963)
Cassatt envisioned a grand terminal that would welcome passengers to New York at the new terminus of the Pennsylvania line. He enlisted the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White to design a massive station inspired by the grand train stations of Europe. The resulting structure was in the Beaux-Arts style and widely heralded as an architectural achievement. This station would stand for hardly more than fifty years, however; under financial pressure from declining train ridership by the 1950s, the Pennsylvania Railroad sold the air rights above the property, and demolition of the original station began in 1963.
Though assorted protests took place, there was little organized resistance to the demolition of Pennsylvania Station. The destruction was a catalyzing factor in the development of the modern historic preservation movement. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was created in 1965, and is credited with preventing a similar fate for Grand Central Terminal.
Current structure (1968–present day)
The option of the air rights over the property in the 1950s called for the demolition of the head-house and train shed, to be replaced by an office complex and a new sports complex. The tracks of the station, perhaps fifty feet below street level, would remain untouched. Plans for the new Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden were announced in 1962. In exchange for the air-rights to Penn Station, the Pennsylvania Railroad would get a brand-new, air-conditioned, smaller station completely below street level at no cost, and a 25% stake in the new Madison Square Garden Complex.
The current Penn Station is situated completely underground and is located underneath Madison Square Garden, 33rd Street, and Two Penn Plaza. The station spans three levels underground with the concourses located on the upper two levels with the train platforms located on the lowest level. The two levels of concourses, while original to the 1910 station, were extensively renovated during the construction of Madison Square Garden, and expanded in subsequent decades. The tracks and platforms are also largely original, except for some work connecting the station to the West Side Rail Yard and the Amtrak Empire Corridor serving Albany and Buffalo, New York.
In the 1990s, the current Pennsylvania Station was renovated by Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and New Jersey Transit, to improve the appearance of the waiting and concession areas, sharpen the station information systems (audio and visual) and remove much of the grime. Recalling the erstwhile grandeur of the bygone Penn Station, an old four-sided clock from the original depot was installed at the 34th Street Long Island Rail Road entrance. The walkway from that entrance's escalator also has a mural depicting elements of the old Penn Station's architecture.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, passenger flow through the Penn Station Complex was curtailed. The taxiway under Madison Square Garden, which ran from 31st Street north to 33rd Street half way between 7th and 8th Avenues, was closed off with concrete Jersey barriers. A covered walkway from the taxiway was constructed to guide arriving passengers to a new taxi-stand on 31st Street.
Despite the improvements, Penn Station continues to be criticized as a low-ceilinged "catacomb" lacking charm, especially when compared to New York's much larger and ornate Grand Central Terminal. The New York Times, in a November 2007 editorial supporting development of an enlarged railroad terminal, said that "Amtrak's beleaguered customers...now scurry through underground rooms bereft of light or character." Times transit reporter Michael M. Grynbaum later called Penn Station "the ugly stepchild of the city’s two great rail terminals."
Resurgence of train ridership in the 21st century has pushed the current Pennsylvania Station structure to capacity, leading to several proposals to renovate or rebuild the station.
In the early 1990s, U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan began to champion a plan to rebuild the historic Penn Station, in which he had shined shoes during the Great Depression. He proposed building it in the James Farley Post Office building, which occupies the block across Eighth Avenue from the current Penn Station and was designed by the same McKim, Mead & White architectural firm as the original station. After Moynihan's death in 2003, New York Governor George Pataki and Senator Charles Schumer proposed naming the facility "Moynihan Station" in his honor.
Initial design proposals were laid out by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 2001. Designs saw several iterations by multiple architectural firms, and Amtrak withdrew from the plan for a period of time. Support also grew for "Plan B," an expansion of the project's scope, under which Madison Square Garden would have been relocated to the west flank of the Farley Building, allowing Vornado Realty Trust to construct an office complex on the current Garden site. By 2009, the Garden's owner Cablevision had decided not to move Madison Square Garden, but to renovate its current location instead, and Amtrak had returned as a potential tenant.
$83.4 million of federal stimulus money was secured in February 2010, and the shovel-ready elements of the plan were broken off into "Phase 1," which, together with money from other sources, was fully funded at $267 million. This includes two new entrances to the existing Penn Stations platforms through the Farley Building on Eighth Avenue. Groundbreaking of Phase 1 was on October 18, 2010 and completion is expected in 2016. Phase 2 will consist of the new train hall in the fully renovated Farley Building. It is expected to cost up to $1.5 billion, the source of which has not yet been identified.
Alliance for a New Penn Station
In 2013, the Regional Plan Association and Municipal Art Society formed the Alliance for a New Penn Station. Citing overcrowding and the limited capacity of the current station under Madison Square Garden, the Alliance began to advocate for limiting the extension of Madison Square Garden's operating permit to 10 years.
In June 2013, the New York City Council Committee on Land Use voted unanimously to give the Garden a ten year permit, at the end of which period the owners will either have to relocate, or go back through the permission process. On July 24, 2013, the New York City Council voted to give the Garden a ten year operating permit by a vote of 47 to 1. "This is the first step in finding a new home for Madison Square Garden and building a new Penn Station that is as great as New York and suitable for the 21st century," said City Council speaker Christine Quinn. "This is an opportunity to reimagine and redevelop Penn Station as a world-class transportation destination."
New Jersey Transit ALP-45DP locomotive at the platform
Looking west from Ninth Ave. Counting from the left, the fourth track leads to the Empire Service tunnel that turns northward, 6 to 11 converge into the North River Tunnels, and 12 to 15 carry LIRR trains to West Side Yard. This is the only portion of the Penn Station track layout that is open to the sky.
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- Amtrak National Facts, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, accessed November 8, 2009. In 2008, Penn Station saw 8,739,345 boardings.
- Full list of US Airports Three Letter Codes – N, accessed August 1, 2006
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- "U.S. and Canada Reservations Contact Information". United Airlines. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
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- Different Diagrams of Penn Station
- NY Penn, Track by Track: Tracks 1-4 (The Stub Platforms)
- NY Penn, Track by Track: Tracks 5-8 (The Empire Platforms)
- NY Penn, Track by Track: Tracks 9-14 (The Long Platforms)
- NY Penn, Track by Track: Tracks 15-16 (The Utility Platform)
- NY Penn, Track by Track: Tracks 17-19 (The Narrow & Wide Platforms)
- NY Penn, Track by Track: Tracks 20-21 (The Rapid Transit Platform)
- The History of Platform J
- The Mail Platform
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- Schaer, Sidney C. (October 23, 1994). "As LIRR Renovation Ends, Who's Laughing Now?". Newsday.
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- * Keys, C. M. (July 1910). "Cassatt and His Vision: Half a Billion Dollars Spent in Ten Years to Improve a Single Railroad – The End of a Forty-Year Effort to Cross the Hudson". The World's Work: A History of Our Time XX: 13187–13204. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
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- The Rise and Fall of Penn Station. American Masters. Directed and written by Randall MacLowery. PBS. 18 Feb. 2014.
- Droege, John A. (1916). Passenger Terminals and Trains. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- The Railway and Engineering Review article says at their highest the station tracks were nine feet below sea level.
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- Friends of Moynihan Station. Moynihanstation.org (August 24, 2005). Retrieved on July 26, 2013.
- Randolph, Eleanor (June 2013). "Bit by Bit, Evicting Madison Square Garden". New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Bagli, Charles (July 24, 2013). "Madison Square Garden Is Told to Move". New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pennsylvania Station (New York City).|
- NJT rail station information page for Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
- DepartureVision real time train information for Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
- Diagram of New York Penn Station
- "New Penn Station" – Municipal Art Society of New York
- Photos and commentary documenting the demolition, by Norman McGrath
- Remnants of the old Penn Station
- Penn Station Eagles (TrainAreFun.com)
- Pages related to Pennsylvania Station (The LIRR Today)
- American Society of Civil Engineers paper 1157: The New York tunnel extension of the Pennsylvania Railroad describes
- A short featuring 3D model of old New York Penn Station.
- Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Eighth Avenue and 31st Street entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Promotional booklet about the original Penn Station from 1910