New York's Original Penn Station: The Rise and Tragic Fall of an American Landmark

New York's Original Penn Station: The Rise and Tragic Fall of an American Landmark

by Paul M. Kaplan


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In early twentieth-century New York, few could have imagined a train terminal as grandiose as Pennsylvania Station. Yet, executives at the Pennsylvania Railroad secretly bought up land in Manhattan's infamous Tenderloin District to build one of the world's most spectacular monuments. Sandhogs would battle the fiercest of nature to build tunnels linking Manhattan to New Jersey and Long Island. For decades, Penn Station was a center of elegance and pride. But the ensuing rise of the airplane and automobile began to diminish train travel. Consequently, in the mid-1960s, the station was tragically destroyed. The loss inspired the birth of preservation laws in the city and the nation that would save other landmarks like Grand Central. Author Paul Kaplan recounts the trials and triumphs of New York's Penn Station.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467139403
Publisher: History Press, The
Publication date: 03/11/2019
Series: Landmarks
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 296,305
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Paul Kaplan writes critically acclaimed books in three series: Cultural Guides (Jewish New York: A History and Guide to Neighborhoods, Synagogues, & Eateries and a sequel for Jewish South Florida), Social History and Biography (Lillian Wald: America's Great Social and Healthcare Reformer and a children's book on Irving Berlin) and Business Marketing (Content Marketing for Success: Build Your Brand and Generate Leads). He has been featured on numerous radio shows, including Woodstock Booktalk, America's Dining & Travel, Let's Travel Radio and Writer's Voice. His books have been on PBS-WNET and CBS Miami. He's been featured in several newspapers and magazines, including the New York Press, Princeton Magazine, Amsterdam New York and Reminisce magazine. He gives book tours to numerous organizations at venues throughout the United States. Kaplan earned a BA in ethics, politics and economics from Yale College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. Kaplan maintains a career as a marketing director for the publishing, technology, educational and financial industries. His website is

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 9

Introduction 11

1 The Disconnected Railroad Journey 15

2 Alexander Cassatt's Bold Vision 25

3 Planning the Tunnels and a "Station fur the Ages" 32

4 The Secret Plan 41

5 The "Most Extensive Submarine Tunnel Ever Undertaken" 55

6 Will the Tunnels Hold? 68

7 A Station Harkening Back to Ancient Rome 75

8 The Light at the End of the Tunnel 86

9 The Great Pennsylvania Station 93

10 Penn Station's First Decade 108

11 The Roaring 1920s, the Great Depression and World War II 120

12 The Rise of the Automobile and Subsequent Decline of the Railway 131

13 The Destruction of a Glorious Station and Birth of the Landmarks Preservation Movement 139

Epilogue 157

Notes 159

References 169

Index 173

About the Author 175

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