“"the voice of the time"”
The original Pennsylvania Station in New York City was a vast structure that occupied two whole city blocks. The boundaries surrounding the structure were 31st and 34th Streets, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Over 500 buildings were initially cleared for its construction. The original structure was designed by architects McKim, Mead and White, in the Beaux Arts style, and was erected in 1910. The building boasted an ornate exterior, arcade, waiting room, concourse and carriage-ways. Thomas Wolfe, one of the great writers of the 20th century, remembered Pennsylvania Station as a place where, "The voice of time remained aloof and unperturbed, a drowsy and eternal murmur below the immense and distant roof." The building can be described as physically massive. It possessed "Nine acres of travertine and granite, 84 Doric columns, a vaulted concourse of extravagant, weighty grandeur, classical splendor modeled after royal Roman baths, rich detail in solid stone, and an architectural quality in precious materials that set the stamp of excellence on a city". The demolition of the original Pennsylvania Station was announced on July 25, 1961. By the time the structure was set to be demolished, it was dilapidated due to poor maintenance and alterations, and the architectural richness of the building likely went unnoticed by the vast number of commuters who walked through it daily. Nevertheless, as an icon of New York City, the loss of Pennsylvania Station has played an important role in shaping New York's preservation history.
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Pennsylvania Station (demolished)
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