Moynihan Train Hall— Art at Pennsylvania Station

The $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall is the new expansion of the Penn Station and a permanent art exhibit for three of the world’s most celebrated artists.


In the new expansion of New York’s Pennsylvania Station, a ninety-two feet high skylight ceiling and permanent art installations by some of the most renowned artists in the world make up the Moynihan Train Hall. Designed by the architecture firm SOM, and named after Senator Daniel P. Moynihan who had introduced plans for renovating Penn Station in the early 1990s, the 255,000-square-foot hall now stands inside the James A. Farley postal building, reported Dionne Searcey of The New York Times.

Aerial view of the Moynihan Train Hall. Copyright image by Andrew Moore for The New York Times.

Made out of an acre of glass, the skylight ceiling takes away from the “dingy basement vibe” by allowing sunlight to seep into the formerly “doomed” Pennsylvania Station, noted Searcey. While the hall opened at the time of a global pandemic and commuters are very low in numbers, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called it “deeply hopeful” in terms of “renewal and rebirth of civic life in New York.”

Designed by Peter Pennoyer Architects, this clock hangs 25 feet above the floor. Copyright image by Andrew Moore for The New York Times.

The work for the project began in 2017 after a restoration of the building. The Moynihan Train Hall now houses a waiting area for ticketed passengers, free Wi-Fi, a nursing mothers’ lounge, and a twelve-foot-tall clock designed by Peter Pennoyer Architects hangs twenty-five feet above the floor. In addition, the Train Hall exhibits artworks worth $6.7 million which were commissioned by the Public Art Fund, the Empire State Development, and New York’s agency of economic development reported Sarah Cascone of Artnet News.

The ceiling at the West 33rd Street entrance exhibits Kehinde Wiley’s hand-painted glass triptych, Go. A derivative of the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, Wiley showcase a woman pointing her finger amidst young Black New Yorkers frozen in their breakdancing poses. 


At the West 31st Street entrance, The Hive by Elmgreen & Dragset is a 30,000-pound of ninety-one miniature skyscrapers hanging upside down from the ceiling, their windows aglow with the lights of 72,000 LEDs.

Elmgreen & Dragset’s “The Hive”. Copyright image by Andrew Moore for The New York Times.

Stan Douglas’ Penn Station’s Half Century recreated Penn Station’s history in nine moments. Douglas cast 400 actors dressed in period costumes and after the shoot, he digitally recreated the interiors based on old photographs. 

“22 April 1924” & “7 August 1934” by Stan Douglas from “Penn Station’s Half Century”. Copyright image by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the artist, Victoria Miro, David Zwirner, Empire State Development, and Public Art Fund, New York.

As per the official press release by SOM, the Moynihan Train Hall was a $1.6 billion project of which $550 million was contributed by the state of New York, $420 million came in from Amtrak, the Port Authority, the MTA, and federal grants, and the remaining $630 million were covered by joint venture developers, Skanska USA, Related Companies, and Vornado Realty LP.



Featured Image Via Pexels

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