Why is this building significant?
The Moynihan Train Hall returns grandeur and ceremony to entering New York City, attributes decidedly lost with the destruction of the adjacent Pennsylvania Station in the 1960s. Located in part of the Beaux-Arts James A. Farley Building, which served as New York’s main post office from its construction until the first decade of the 21st century, the train station now houses Amtrak and the Long Island Railroad. The 486,000-square-foot complex contains a spacious passenger concourse set beneath metal trusses and a glass skylight. In its center hangs an Art Deco-inspired clock designed by architect Peter Pennoyer. The complex also includes retail space and permanent artworks by Kehinde Wiley, Stan Douglas, and Elmgreen & Dragset. The Train Hall is named for New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who conceived the idea of transforming the post office into a train station.
What did the New York Landmarks Conservancy do?
We were involved in this project from its beginnings about 30 years ago. Our work included: helping to form a non-profit group to promote the project; lobbying in Washington for funding; joining the first committee tasked with bringing public art to the station; and supporting Governor George Pataki’s attempts to start work on it. We opposed moving Madison Square Garden into the back of the Farley Building because the new Garden would overwhelm the train station; construction would virtually stop train traffic; and bracing the Farley Building walls to support the Garden’s weight would be prohibitively expensive.