Feb
18

An evening of Arts for Transit and Penn Station on PBS

By

Fire up the old DVRs tonight because Channel 13 has some intriguing content on tap. Starting tonight at 8 p.m., New York’s public television station will be airing two hours of transit-related programming.

First, Treasures of New York heads underground for an hour-long look at Arts for Transit’s popular installations. The documentary is available online if you can’t wait until tonight, and it explores 25 years of Arts for Transit, with interviews with artists Faith Ringgold, Tom Otterness, Milton Glaser, Bill Brand (and his popular Masstransiscope), Andrea Dezsö, and Elizabeth Murray.

After that, take a step back in history while reliving one of the most famous gut-punches New York has ever endured. American Experience is debuting The Rise and Fall of Penn Station tonight at 9 p.m. Here’s the blurb:

In 1910, the Pennsylvania Railroad successfully accomplished the enormous engineering feat of building tunnels under New York City’s Hudson and East Rivers, connecting the railroad to New York and New England, knitting together the entire eastern half of the United States. The tunnels terminated in what was one of the greatest architectural achievements of its time, Pennsylvania Station. Penn Station covered nearly eight acres, extended two city blocks, and housed one of the largest public spaces in the world. But just 53 years after the station’s opening, the monumental building that was supposed to last forever, to herald and represent the American Empire, was slated to be destroyed.

We’re still living with the decision to destroy old Penn Station, and architects and transit advocates are forever fighting over the future of the rail station that currently carries the lost structure’s name. Tonight’s show provides a great opportunity to appreciate the grandeur of old Penn Station and mourn what we lost amidst the wrecking ball. If anything, it’s a welcome break from wall-to-wall Olympics broadcasts.



2 Responses to “An evening of Arts for Transit and Penn Station on PBS”

  1. BruceNY says:

    I enjoyed this program thoroughly. I found it ironic that tunneling two tubes beneath the Hudson proved to be far easier than the four tubes under the East River (due to geological conditions, not the number of tubes). Oh, if only they had done four tubes beneath the Hudson how different might things be today! If only the Erie, or the Lackawanna, had done the same!
    If only we had the will today to build new infrastructure…

    • al says:

      A little concrete, some organization, and lots of electronics and equipment. Modernize signals, rebuild the curves, replace the bridges, and upgrade the electrification on NEC between Newark Penn and New Haven. New EMU train sets for NJT, and Amtrak. They will cut ~5 minutes off the trip between NY Penn and Newark Penn/Newark Broad St. You’ll also get 25-33% (24tph->30/32tph) increase in capacity and much more reliable service.

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