Jul
17

A (w)hole idea for Penn Station; weekend service changes for 15 subway lines

By

With the Gateway Tunnel project back in the news (more on that next week), the idea of a new Penn Station, a seemingly inseparable part of that plan, is creeping through the coverage. At some point in the not-to-distant future, various stakeholders will have to start having serious conversations about these plans, but for now, we’re still in that stage where ideas are being tossed around left and right.

One intriguing thought comes to us from Alon Levy. He first suggested doing away with the Penn Station South element of the Gateway proposal all together and simply running trains through to Grand Central. And then, earlier this week, he offered up his take on the debate over the future of the current Penn Station: Turn into a hole in the ground.

His idea is fairly simple: The street would serve as a mezzanine, and there’s no real need for the anachronistic amenities of a head house. This ain’t, in other words, the 1930s. Despite his intentions as admittedly trollish at the start, Levy later offered up a technical defense of his plan, and it’s well worth your read. The problem is one of politics. Our region’s politicians prefer monuments to themselves and often eschew practical and less costly approaches. A covered hole in the ground wouldn’t lend itself to a fanciful ribbon-cutting, and those calling for a new Penn Station will say Levy’s idea is hardly worth the Moynihan Station name. What a shame.

Meanwhile, it’s Friday night, and you know what that means. Click through for the service changes.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, 1 trains are suspended in both directions between 14 St and South Ferry. Take 23 trains and free shuttle buses instead.

  • Uptown trains skip 18 St, 23 St, and 28 St.
  • Downtown trains skip 28 St, 23 St, and 18 St, days and evenings.
  • Free shuttle buses provide alternate service between Chambers St and South Ferry. Transfer between 23 trains and shuttle buses at Chambers St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Van Cortlandt Park-242 St bound 1 trains run express from 96 St to 145 St.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, 2 trains run local between Chambers St and 34 St-Penn Station.


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, July 18 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, July 19, 2 trains are suspended in both directions between E 180 St and 3 Av-149 St. Free shuttle buses operate along two routes:

  • Express shuttle buses run between E 180 St and 3 Av-149 St, stopping at the Hunts Point Av 6 station.
  • Local shuttle buses make all stops between E 180 St and 3 Av-149 St.
  • Transfer between trains and free shuttle buses at E 180 St and/or 3 Av-149 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College bound 2 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 6:30 a.m. to 12 Midnight, Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, 3 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 6:30 a.m. to 12 Midnight, Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, 3 trains run local between Chambers St and 34 St-Penn Station.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 7:30 a.m. Sunday, July 19, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, July 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Crown Hts-Utica Av bound 4 trains run express from 125 St to Grand Central-42 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 7:30 a.m. Sunday, July 19, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, July 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Woodlawn-bound 4 trains run express from Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall to 14 St-Union Sq.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 7:30 a.m. Sunday, July 19, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, July 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, New Lots Av-bound 4 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, 5 service is suspended. Take the 246 and free shuttle buses instead. Free shuttle buses operate along two routes:

  • Limited shuttle buses make all stops between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St, and run express to 3 Av-149 St, stopping at the Hunts Point Av 6 station (from 3:30 AM Sat to 10 PM Sun).
  • Dyre Av Local shuttle buses make all stops between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St only.
  • For Lexington Av service, transfer between free shuttle buses and 6 trains at Hunts Point Av. Or, transfer between 2 and 4 trains at 149 St-Grand Concourse.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall bound 6 trains run express from 125 St to Grand Central-42 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Pelham Bay Park bound 6 trains run express from Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall to 14 St-Union Sq.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Inwood-207 St-bound A trains are rerouted via the F line from Jay St-MetroTech to W 4 St-Wash Sq, and run local to 59 St-Columbus Circle.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, A trains are suspended between Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd and Rockaway Blvd. Brooklyn-bound A trains skip 88 St. Free shuttle buses operate between 80 St and Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd. Transfer between shuttle buses and A trains at 80 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, July 19, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, July 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Brooklyn-bound A trains skip 50 St, 23 St, and Spring St. Inwood-207 St bound A trains run express from 59 St-Columbus Circle to 125 St.


From 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, 168 St-bound C trains are rerouted via the F line from Jay St-MetroTech to W 4 St-Wash Sq.


From 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, Brooklyn-bound C trains skip 50 St, 23 St, and Spring St. To/from these stations, take the E instead. Transfer between trains at 42 St-Port Authority, 34 St, W 4 St-Wash Sq, or Canal St.


From 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, 168 St-bound C trains run express from 59 St-Columbus Circle to 125 St.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Coney Island-Stillwell Av bound D trains run local from 145 St to 59 St-Columbus Circle.


From 12:15 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, and from 12:15 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer bound E trains run express from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71 Av.


From 12:15 a.m. Saturday, July 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer bound E trains skip 75 Av and Briarwood.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, July 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, World Trade Center-bound E trains run local from Forest Hills-71 Av to Roosevelt Av.


From 12:15 a.m. Saturday, July 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Jamaica-179 St bound F trains skip 75 Av, Briarwood, and Sutphin Blvd.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, July 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Coney Island-Stillwell Av bound F trains run local from Forest Hills-71 Av to Roosevelt Av.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Coney Island-Stillwell Av bound F trains are rerouted via the E line from Roosevelt Av to W4 St-Wash Sq, and via the A line to Jay St-MetroTech.


From 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, L service operates in two sections.

  • Between 8 Av and Broadway Junction.
  • Between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Pkwy, every 24 minutes.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, N trains are rerouted via the D line in both directions between Coney Island-Stillwell Av and 36 St. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, downtown N trains skip 49 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, July 19, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, July 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Brooklyn-bound Q trains skip 49 St.


From 11:15 p.m. Friday, July 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, July 20, Manhattan-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.


From 6:30 a.m. to 12 Midnight, Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, Forest Hills-71 Av bound R trains run express in Queens.


From 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, Brooklyn-bound R trains skip 49 St.



34 Responses to “A (w)hole idea for Penn Station; weekend service changes for 15 subway lines”

  1. Nyland8 says:

    There seems to be some supernatural inclination to keep the name Penn Station, and for no good reason. There is no more Pennsylvania Rail Road, there is no more Penn-Central Rail Road, and there is no more Penn Station as we once knew it. In fact, it’s been gone for generations. So whatever is built, or unbuilt in its place, need no longer carry that moniker. It’s perfectly OK to name it after some political advocate, because it is political advocacy that seems to get things done. Witness Frank Lautenberg Station in Secaucus, which quite justifiable bears his name.

    The promise of that kind of immortality might be what’s needed to spur some governor, senator or billionaire mayor to dedicated action. And if it provokes a positive change, I wouldn’t care if they name it after their spouse. Or their dog.

    Or their turtle.

    • Alon Levy says:

      Penn is useful as a historic name. Same goes for Grand Central. It’s easier on the memory than making people remember a new name every time a politician wants credit for something.

      I normally don’t even care thaaaat much about names, but I think the only thing that should be named after Moynihan is an unrenovated burned-down Bronx building. Let’s not sugarcoat things: the guy was a huge racist and was instrumental in creating a version of racism that would be palatable to Northern middle-class moderates and liberals. Thanks to him, the city withdrew social services from black and Hispanic areas; South Bronx buildings burned to the ground because the fire department wouldn’t respond to 911 calls there.

      • Nathanael says:

        Hey, at least he wasn’t D’Amato.

        He did some pretty bad things in his early career. But he got a lot better starting in the late 1970s.

        Moynihan has a sterling environmental record and I still respect that. He also was strongly against Reagan-Bush-style proxy-war madness for most of his career. A train station is appropriate for him, as he was an advocate for train service.

        • Nathanael says:

          And he never ever advocated the city fire department behavior which you are ascribing to him. He’s made that quite clear.

    • Stephen says:

      My fervent wish is that there be no naming rights deal. I despise the practice. I am glad my travels do not take me to the brooklyn joint with that bank name. (I hate the fact that every time an act is announced, they get free advertising just for having their name all over the place). And I am especially pleased that the bank in queens didn’t pay for the rights for the station next to their stadium joint.

      I agree with Alon Levy that keeping the Penn Station name allows for easy recall as to the place’s name. As I get older my CRS problem forces me to waste time trying to recall something. So, the less new things, the better.

      CRS = Can’t Remember Stuff.

      • adirondacker12800 says:

        …Times Square… Herald Square too. Extra points if you know where Greeley Square is and what relationship it has to newspapers.

      • SomeGuy32 says:

        “free”?

      • Nathanael says:

        The best name for the station? 34th Street Station, most likely.

      • Jeff says:

        Agreed. I use my own stubborn names for the new venues: “New Mets Stadium” and “Atlantic Yards Arena”. The venues simply don’t have names as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t feel inclined to randomly inject advertisements into my speech. I would feel much the same (even more strongly) about naming rights deals for transit stations.

    • Chris says:

      Nyland –

      You make a great point about politicians. If putting a name on a building makes something good happen, why not do it?

      The only reason I want to keep the name “Penn Station” is historical. Everybody calls that place Penn Station, and I don’t want to see fiascoes such as the renaming of our bridges and tunnels creating confusion. How many true New Yorkers call 6th Ave, Avenue of the Americas, except when sending snail mail? It takes generations for a place name to change (such as the use of “Hudson River” instead of “North River” that took place during the 20th century.) Why bother here?

      Given that Moynihan once championed the use of the PO Building does not mean his name should be on it. Here is where some current politician could put his name on a plaque, and then be forgotten to history. (People will likely still call the place the Penn Station annex. And just as well.)

      Chris

      • Nyland8 says:

        Chris … “Everybody calls that place Penn Station, and I don’t want to see fiascoes such as the renaming of our bridges and tunnels creating confusion.”

        There’s no confusion to create. The train is either going to that station, or it isn’t. If you’re on Amtrak, and you’re going to New York City, that’s the station you’ll be arriving at no matter what it is named. Same with New Jersey Transit.

        If you’re riding MetroNorth, you’ll be going to Grand Central Terminal – If you’re riding the LIRR, you’ll be going to Grand Central, OR you’ll be going to “the other station”. Those will be your only options for the next hundred years. There isn’t any other commuter or passenger rail system that is going to build a new hub or terminal in NY, NY.

        Unlike the renaming of bridges, tunnels and streets, it has nothing to do with directions, and there isn’t anything to be confused about. For as long as we live, for as long as our grandchildren live, there will still only be two major stations for commuter rails to come into Manhattan. One of them will be Grand Central Terminal – and the other won’t be – no matter what you call it.

        And if you insist on calling it Penn Station, then you will still have to distinguish it by calling it Penn Station New York City. If anything, changing the name actually makes it EASIER. Everyone will find it clearer to know what you’re talking about, because it eliminates any confusion with Penn Station Newark.

        • adirondacker12800 says:

          Metro North is going to be running trains to 34th Street as soon as they can. The guesstimate on railroad.net is 18 months/2 years after East Side Access opens. Every passenger they divert to the West Side is space freed up to haul a different passenger to the East Side.

        • adirondacker12800 says:

          Metro North is going to be running trains to the station on 34th Street as soon as possible after the LIRR starts running to the station on 42nd Street.

          Or Penn Station Baltimore. Or New-ark Delaware. pity that Providence tore down Union Station. There’d be a third one between Boston and Alexandria. Union Station New Haven. Tough Baltimore was a Union Station.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Union_stations_in_the_United_States

  2. Nyland8 says:

    As I suspected, nobody addressed the central concept of political or financial advocacy. If the train goes from Baltimore, or Buffalo, or Boston to New York City, it doesn’t matter what the name of the station is – the train isn’t getting lost. If the train comes in from New Jersey, or in from Long Island, it doesn’t matter what the station name is, it’s still going to New York, which is the ultimate description. In fact, even the phrase Penn Station is meaningless unless you add “New York” – because it has to be distinguished from Penn Station in Newark. Of all the places in New York whose names still mean something, Penn Station isn’t among them. Penn Station was torn down decades ago, and has ceased to exist for generations.

    Naming the Triboro Bridge after RFK was ridiculous – because Triboro is descriptive of what it is and where it goes. It’s a navigational name, and Kennedy had NOTHING to do with it! I get that.

    Naming the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel after Governor Hugh Carey was beyond ridiculous – because it too describes where it goes – from Brooklyn to the Battery – and Carey had absolutely NOTHING to do with it. These are examples of what NOT to do!

    But that’s not what we’re talking about here. If Donald Trump – an ignorant xenophobe who I can’t stand – donated two billion dollars to put two new tracks across the Hudson into a newly built rail station on the Manhattan side, I wouldn’t give a damn if he insisted on calling it Trump station. If you’re the one who makes it happen, then you have earned a right for it to bear your name. THAT’S the incentive. THAT’S what might motivate a future advocate. That is the point of my post – cultivating powerful political or financial advocacy for mass transit.

    • Alon Levy says:

      But people don’t pay $2 billion for naming rights. They pay a fraction. Citigroup is paying $20 million a year for the Shea Stadium naming rights.

      Penn Station is a navigational name for people in New York, and for people riding commuter trains into New York who’d like to be able to distinguish it from Grand Central.

      • adirondacker12800 says:

        Shea Stadium was torn down in 2009.

      • Nyland8 says:

        BTW, Alon, I had a chance to read your ideas referenced above, and really appreciate the thought that went into them. The devil is always in the details.

        Have you considered any type of tensile structure, as in those pioneered by the recently deceased Frei Otto? Those tents can be translucent without being transparent, which allows in a lot of natural light, but without turning them into greenhouses. No ongoing life support systems to pay for in perpetuity. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter, breezy on a windy day – but still sheltered from the rain and snow, and at a fraction of the cost of building rigid superstructures of concrete and steel.

        Just a thought.

      • Chris says:

        Alon –

        Thankfully the Yankees consider “Yankee Stadium’s” name more valuable than the naming rights. And if ever they were to share a stadium in the Bronx with the Mets (extremely unlikely), I have the way to have naming rights benefit both teams, (albeit in a way that slightly benefits the Yankees more).

        I also dislike hearing a free plug for a corporation whenever the stadium, arena, etc. is mentioned. It’s almost worth it for TV/Radio stations to mention where the game was played without naming the venue. Would that violate any contracts? Who knows?????

        • Nyland8 says:

          Chris … “I also dislike hearing a free plug for a corporation whenever the stadium, arena, etc. is mentioned.”

          That’s the point Chris. There’s nothing “free” about it. They PAY for the naming rights of the stadium. In fact, they pay millions of dollars. And they do it because they KNOW that the stadium name will be repeated thousands of times over the contract term. That’s why they do it.

          What’s tragic is that the people who actually subsidized the building of the stadium – the taxpayers – don’t get any of that money. That revenue goes to the “owner” of that stadium – which isn’t us.

      • Nathanael says:

        It’s not a navigational name. “34th St. Station” is a navigational name. (Which is what both of the subway stops are called, incidentally.)

        • adirondacker12800 says:

          And the one a block away on 6th Ave. is Herald Square. Union Square? Columbus Circle? Queens Plaza! Times Square does help differentiate it from the one three blocks east. Then there is that pesky shuttle train. And the Flushing line.

  3. Nyland8 says:

    Well … no Alon, it’s not a “navigational name”. It says nothing about what it is. The fact that you know where it is not a function of its name, it’s a function of your recollection of where it is. Attachment to the name is purely nostalgic. The notion that somehow it represents an enormous inconvenience to anybody to distinguish Grand Central Terminal from “the other station” pales to not having the political advocacy – or the money – to build what everyone seems to agree we need. There’s no reason to remain married to that maudlin nostalgia. Penn Station died back in 1963 – and ’til death do we part.

    And yes, I know that nobody pays 2 billion dollars for “naming rights” – but what I’m talking about isn’t merely naming rights. What I’m talking about is naming whatever station gets built after the person or organization who’s most responsible for making it happen. That could be a political advocate – as in the case of Lautenberg – or it might be a benefactor like a Bloomberg or a Trump. How much is merely a detail.

    In fact, the idea can be extended to subway stops, too. How many billionaires has wall street made? Dozens at least. What if you took a project like the Triboro Rx – or better yet a Quadboro Rx that included a tunnel from Owl’s Head to St George – and offered to name any of the stations on the line for anyone who would write a check for 1 billion dollar$ ?? Explain to the benefactors that the station they get will be named after them – or their parakeet – in perpetuity. Forever and ever. The only restriction would be that each station would have to meet MTA guidelines, but other than that, they could express themselves as they wished – as long as they foot the bill for any above-and-beyond details.

    Imagine that new line being built where every station were unique, and an expression of the benefactor in collaboration with their architect, and to include custom details like lighting, artwork, music, furniture (seating), entranceways, …. whatever the imagination, and the benefactors money, would buy. The MTA could be offering the ultimate naming rights. When one considers the fact that the NYC Subway System is already over a hundred years old, and isn’t going anywhere soon, those people would effectively be buying their own immortality. Each station could have a brass plaque with a bas relief image and a short bio … etc.

    From western Richmond County to Yankee Stadium and beyond, we could fund the ultimate beltway. Offer the intersecting stations – the ones that meet up with other crossing subways – for a billion dollar$ each. Building the station itself – without the custom bells and whistles – would only cost a fraction of that, and the balance of the money would build out the track system, buy rail stock, etc. With perhaps only a couple of dozen “transfer” stations along the way, it would be a very exclusive billionaires club to be a part of.

    They write the buy-in check – 1 BILLION DOLLAR$ – , they pick up the tab for any customized extras, and “forever and a day” their name, or a name of their choice, gets effective immortality. Make the idea of “naming rights” really work for us.

    Just an idea.

    • Alon Levy says:

      Saying “1 BILLION DOLLARS” over and over won’t make these deals worth that much. AT&T’s deal for Pattison is worth $5 million for 5 years, and that’s for a terminus, which is posted on trains and announced at every stop (“southbound train to AT&T”). Barclay’s and Citigroup paid $20 million a year for major sports arenas; Citigroup wouldn’t even pony up the money for the subway station. Naming subway stations after sponsors generates very little money compared with overall system revenues, and makes the system more confusing for passengers. I know where Astoria Boulevard, Queens Boulevard, Flatbush Avenue, and Kings Highway are; if the stations are renamed after corporate sponsors, I will have to memorize new station names and locations, and may get off at the wrong stop. All for what? A few million dollars a year so that some MTA exec can say “I did that”? Fuck that, passengers are more important than that.

      As for the other idea, the plaques and all… that’s an advertising campaign. How much do you think that’s worth? The MTA’s entire advertising revenues last year were $138 million: subway cars, subway stations, buses, commuter rail, all combined. $1 billion for a perpetuity is equivalent to maybe $40 million a year given long-term costs of capital. What you’re saying, then, is that a station on Triboro can yield nearly one third as much ad revenue as the entire system gets today.

      Now, I’ll admit that Penn Station is not the average station. The naming rights there may be comparable in worth to those of Pacific Center or the Mets’ stadium. So what? The combined LIRR and New Jersey Transit ticket revenues are a bit more than $1 billion annually. Between the need to distinguish Penn from Grand Central and the general recognition the name has among the riding public, it’s very easy to lose 2% of ridership to confusing station naming. To put things in perspective, the Pattison deal is a bit more than 1% of SEPTA’s subway farebox revenue, and appears to be unpopular among transit commentators (for example, Jarrett Walker).

      • Nathanael says:

        Penn *is not a location*. (Neither is Grand Central.)

        If you renamed the station “34th Street Station”, the Penn name would die out in a generation.

  4. Nyland8 says:

    We’re not talking about advertising. We’re talking about personal immortality.

    And no, there is nothing confusing about the difference between Grand Central, and ” the other station”. The only trains that will be going to both anytime soon will be the LLRR – and I have no doubt their ridership will know the difference. If some non-commuter makes some mistake on a weekend, they’ll be a 10 minute walk away from where they’re going.

    If you’re running the Northeast Corridor, you’re going to be going into whatever that station gets named. Period. Likewise anything emerging from New Jersey Transit. You’re being hyperbolic about the advantage of name recognition. Making it happen is more important than the alternative – i.e. keeping the name Penn Station, and changing nothing. Short of calling it “Shit On A Stick”, we should be delighted with whatever it is called if we don’t have to pay for it.

    Like most thinking people, I love the idea of running whatever “new” Hudson tubes we get right over to Grand Central. It makes all the sense in the world. Alas … if only the engineering and costs weren’t such obstacles, it could meet up with the ESA project. I don’t think it’s feasible, from an engineering standpoint, to extend the existing MetroNorth termini down to 34th St. It’ll probably call for something much deeper.

    But I suspect you’ve already run the numbers and know that.

    • Nathanael says:

      It is feasible, from an engineering standpoint, to extend the lower level Metro-North tracks to 34th St. It’s a bit of a weave-and-bob route to get around the subway lines, but it’s already been examined and it’s totally feasible.

  5. Brooklynite says:

    Since this thread veered into a discussion about naming rights, I’ll offer my take on the topic. There are limited cases where double-naming after a nearby corporate-named attraction actually helps the public. For instance, Atlantic Av-Barclays Center is self explanatory. Willets Point-Citi Field would have been.

    For the vast majority of stations, however, names should not be changed. Instead, a corporation should be responsible for station cleanliness. It would also pay some sum of money to MTA. In exchange, the company would get all, or almost all, of the advertising posters in the station. This way, companies that have their ads plastered all over a station will have a direct incentive to clean it, to avoid being associated with a pigsty.

  6. Brooklynite says:

    Regarding Penn Station, it’s a terrible name. It’s useless geographically – the station is not in Pennsylvania, and only a few of its trains go there at all. Furthermore, “Newark Penn” and “New York Penn” are not always easy to distinguish, especially for people who don’t speak perfect radio-announcer English. It doesn’t help that many trains stop at both. In my opinion it should get a name like Midtown station, and if the politicians really want their name on something they can get a concourse.

    About the station structure itself, obviously MSG and its heavy columns need to go. Other than that, I’m not convinced that having the station be open to the sky is a great idea. A new/improved station should be climate-controlled at the very least, and should offer space for people to wait for trains. (BTW that’s why Moynihan, which gets longer-waiting Amtrak passengers out of the way of rushing commuters, is a good idea.) The platforms definitely need to be reconfigured in some way, but having them exposed to the elements probably isn’t the way to do that.

    • Alon Levy says:

      1. They can climate-control Penn Station today. (Maybe they already do, I don’t remember.)

      2. If one station gets renamed, it should be Newark: Newark Penn should just be called Newark, or Newark Center. This is for two reasons: first, New York Penn Station is the better-known one, so Newark should give way; and second, Newark has two stations today, Newark Penn and Newark Broad, and from the names it may not be clear that Newark Penn is the main one and Newark Broad is peripheral, whereas in New York, both Penn and Grand Central are in the CBD.

      3. What you’re proposing in your other comment, about adopt-a-station, is basically a barter: you clean the station in exchange for advertising. It’s generally more efficient to use money as a means of exchange, and separate the cleaning from the advertising. A company that adopted the station would have an incentive to keep it clean, but so would a contractor who wanted to get further contracts from NYCT, or even NYCT itself (it’s its subway system, after all). It’s not obvious to me that a company that adopted the station would be less inclined to corruption than a contractor.

      • adirondacker12800 says:

        The center of Downtown Newark is Broad and Market Streets. The city made the Morris and Essex and the Camden and Amboy move the tracks off to the edges. Union Station wouldn’t work because there already is one in Union. Just how did people in the past keep track of things with all those Union Stations scattered all over the place? And how did they keep track of Springfield?
        They tried calling the big station in Baltimore Union station but gave up after a while and call it Penn Station. Why is the station in the middle of Philadelphia called Suburban?
        I suppose they could call the one on 32nd and 7th Midtown West or West Midtown. and the one on 42nd and Park Midtown East or East Midtown. I suspect it will go over as well as Avenue of the Americas. Or calling that bridge that goes to Long Island City the Queensboro. The Herald merged with the Tribune in 1924 and went out business in 1966… why is it still Herald Square?

        • JJJJ says:

          I believe there are remnants of an abandoned train station at the Newark Prudential Arena. That would be “Newark Central”.

          This weekend, United tweeted that they had a pop-up store/exhibition at “Penn Station, the Gateway to EWR”.

          Hilariously, they apparently had no idea that Newark Penn is much more of a gateway than NYC Penn, and they received dozens of replies asking “which one!?!?”

      • Brooklynite says:

        1. They probably do climate-control it, but if were open to the air they obviously wouldn’t. The passenger rail hub of the nation’s biggest city can’t be subject to the vagaries of the weather.

        2. I suppose renaming Newark would do just as well. That doesn’t make Pennsylvania any more logical of a name, unless we adopt the Eastern European convention of naming terminals in major cities after the areas one can reach from them (eg Moscow has Kiev Terminal, Kursk Terminal, etc).

        3. If a company adopts a station and pays its money to the MTA general fund, they lose control of where it goes. The powers that be could decide that TA workers need another raise, and cut back on cleaning to allow that. Once that happens we’ll just be back to the present situation of ads and filthy stations. Under my proposal the station sponsor will have associated himself with the station in the public’s mind, so it will be in his direct interest to maintain cleanliness. A contractor would be disconnected from any real incentive to excel – as long as they win the next contract, they don’t care about the station’s appearance.

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