New York City’s Penn Station is the stuff of nightmares. The greasy pizza box of a building has some serious issues: For starters, it’s devoid of natural light, overstuffed with cranky commuters, lacking any respectable seating options—and good luck finding a decent bacon egg and cheese before that 7 am train!

But earlier today, New York governor Andrew Cuomo revealed an ambitious new plan that would transform the current station and its neighboring post office into a shiny new transportation hub he’s calling the Empire Station Complex. The proposed renovation, which will cost a reported $3 billion, is part of Cuomo’s much bigger vision for creating a statewide transportation network that includes a revamped LaGuardia airport.

The Empire Station Complex plan calls for a total re-imagining of the current station, which was built in 1963 when it replaced the original (and gorgeous) station from 1910. The conceptual renderings show the adjacent post office transformed into a bright and cheery concourse that would hold ticket counters and an amphitheater seating arrangement. Plans for the station itself echo some of the old-world charm of the original Penn with its arching skylights. Still, the entire plan has a distinctly Apple Store sheen to it, with its tall windows and neutral color scheme.

The images you’re seeing here aren’t a done deal. Over the next three months, developers will have the chance to present their own vision for the complex, with groundbreaking allegedly happening sometime later this year. It will be interesting to see what architects come up with for such a landmark location, and chances are there will be plenty of stuff to pick at. But if there’s one thing that can be said about Penn Station as it exists today, it’s that almost anything else will be better by comparison.

Jump to original:  

NYC’s Nightmarish Penn Station Is Finally Getting a Makeover