Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

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Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby mjd13076 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:02 am

Would anyone be generous enough to provide links or pictures of Penn Station, pre-1990s renovation? As you all most likely know, there's endless pictures of original Penn as well as Penn in its current state, but I find it difficult to come across pictures of it from the late 1960s to the 1990s. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby nyandw » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:05 pm

There are a "few" pictures at Google images for Pennsylvania Station New York, Penn Station etc. to start... :wink:
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:29 pm

In the late 70's,the LIRR concourse was under renovation,till 1980,the NJT/Amtrak concourse followed,
all of this was due to MSG being built above Penn Station,there was plenty of "make do" type construction
to be removed/replaced.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:33 pm

I recall video game arcades on the LIRR concourse as late as 1995.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby JamesRR » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:02 pm

nyandw wrote:There are a "few" pictures at Google images for Pennsylvania Station New York, Penn Station etc. to start... :wink:


I think he's looking for pics that would span the 70s/80s/early 90s. After the main building was torn down, but before the mid'90s renovation that cleaned up the interior. They are actually hard to come by, despite how much you search Google. Likely due to the fact that there are plenty of historical photos out there of Penn St, and of course, plenty documented in recent times due to the abundance of digital cameras, but not a lot in that pre-digital era.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:25 pm

The interior was just bad,dirty,and tired,nothing to waste film on,period.
Penn at that point of time, made GCT look clean and better.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby glugglug » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:48 pm

The interior was just bad,dirty,and tired,nothing to waste film on,period.
Penn at that point of time, made GCT look clean and better.


So nothing changed then...
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby Kelly&Kelly » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:07 pm

Those who never saw the pre-1990 Long Island level could never imagine what filth and squalor it represented. The present place is so far improved that words can't express just how bad the old facility was.

Some details that may bring back memories to those old timers:

The filth-draped wall fans and their monotonous drone as they blew around ozone, steel dust and summer heat.
The bile green public toilets that were frequented by closeted perverts from all walks of life, guarded by an Amtrak matron.
The smelly waiting room with gray Fibreglas seating, often serving as vessels for bodily liquids.
The quarter lockers and the bums who moved newspapers between the lockers.
Howard Johnson's ice cream stand and its mice.
The Payphone emporium.
Kaufman's newstand where bums were hired to rummage trains for resalable newspaper.
New York's biggest cockroaches.
The bums that fell through the aluminum suspended ceiling.
The bums.
Jostlers and Picks.
Late slips.
The nun from the only Catholic order permitted to panhandle and her folding chair.
Drunk passenger fights after 7 PM.
Nedicks.
Leaking sewer pipes and their ooze.
Terrazzo
LeCafe.
The stairway to the Grayhound terminal on 34th Street.
Glossy royal blue paint.
The Amtrak Locker Room and Stinky who lived in it.
Jake the Gyp who took orders for Macy's stuff at special pricing
Filth and more filth.
Trash and newspapers and more newspapers.
"The Bishop" living under the east end on Platform 7.
Family living in the abandoned boiler room off the basement cross-passage.
Signal relay cases laying on their sides in muck and flooded passages.
Black phones with foot pedals and cranks.
LIRR tie-line for Jamaica (Dial 146)
The small window for passengers at the Long Island Stationmasters' Office.
Electrowriters.
C, JO and KN Towers.
Getting a route "locked out" off Track 20.
"Down and Back"
LIRR Yardmasters' Office on Track 21 with 12 drill crews.
Yardmasters with bullet-proff vests.
The 25-caliper shooter.
Thomas Francis Duffy
Sliding destination signs painted on colored Plexiglas.
Baggage elevators on the platforms.
Vomit.
Gabe Johnston and Ralph Diez.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby nyandw » Thu Mar 17, 2016 10:32 pm

Kelly&Kelly wrote:Those who never saw the pre-1990 Long Island level could never imagine what filth and squalor it represented. The present place is so far improved that words can't express just how bad the old facility was.....


Having used the LIRR level in the 1975-1990 period I cannot add more, except the level of unease of impending criminal activity/danger that lurked/permeated the entire underground.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby mjd13076 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:56 am

Sounds charming. No wonder there are no pictures to be found.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby SwingMan » Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:28 am

Post of the year, folks.


Although I'm sure the gentlemen (and ladies) from that era would rather forget the stories from down there during that era, I think it would be interesting to hear (and for many of us) understand the dynamics of the era down there in this somewhat glazed over, forgettable history of Penn Station.
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:00 am

There's a Facebook page "Dirty old New York of the 70's", some such title. I follow it because sometimes it shows the old High Line. Anyway, they may be a source. That was New York back then. Didn't change much until the early 90's. You could still find street walkers over by the parking lots in Hell's Kitchen then, too. (I never took any comfort there, to paraphrase a Simon and Garfunkel song.)
Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:59 pm

K&K: "Thanks for the memories" (with apologies to the late Bob Hope)

Everyone: Anyone who remembers the LIRR section of Penn Station before it was renovated in the middle 1990s
remember it as being a form of a dungeon. The Summer heat was probably the worst time of year with the trains
throwing off heat from their overworked air conditioners without it being able to properly escape. I once brought a
thermometer with me during the course of a heatwave and got a reading of 110 degrees F at platform level.

The one feature that stands out for me was the LIRR Ticket Office with its older design and lettering up above.

There were decent places to wait for trains there - the two game rooms "Station Break" and "Space Station" stand
out for me. What made their names interesting is that neither one referred to Penn Station itself. "Station Break"
was a referral to television and "Space Station" meant outer space - I recall the upside down "Space Invaders"
machines on display there.

The renovation of the LIRR Penn Station concourse was such a huge improvement over what it replaced and
its tribute to the demolished original Penn Station is one of its best design features.

MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby n2cbo » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:50 pm

Kelly&Kelly wrote:Those who never saw the pre-1990 Long Island level could never imagine what filth and squalor it represented. The present place is so far improved that words can't express just how bad the old facility was.

Some details that may bring back memories to those old timers:
<SNIP>


You forgot the longest urinal in the world - "Gimbel's alley" (the passageway between penn and the 33rd st PATH station)
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Re: Penn Station -- Pre 1990s

Postby Kelly&Kelly » Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:50 pm

Oh yes, we remember the Gimbel's Passageway well: Most notably for the problems it caused the LIRR.

The white tile passage was located under the north sidewalk of 33rd Street (if I recall correctly) and ran from the 7th Avenue Subway Concourse, after ascending three steps, all the way to the 6th Avenue Subway. It had closed concessions, twists and turns and boarded up showcase windows for the department stores lining the street. It housed musicians, bums, reprobates and urinators. It leaked rain from the sidewalk in such huge quantities that no traveler could discern the origin of the liquids through which he waded.

The Passageway was owned by the PRR through the Pennsylvania Terminal Company which was later acquired by Amtrak. As such, the NYC Police, the TA Police, the Port Authority Police and the LIRR Police refused to patrol it. Since it had no direct connection to anything patrolled by the Amtrak Police they didn't want to know it was there and its safety (as well as any type of maintenance and cleaning) was ignored.

It became a dangerous, dirty and smelly hell hole.

After several passengers were knifed, slashed and assailed, and the sidewalk began to fall in, it was closed in the early 1990's.

I have no idea where the one-legged man with the accordion went.
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