Penn Station makeover to widen corridor, raise ceilings, increase lighting

MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- Penn Station's main corridor is getting a huge facelift, designed to modernize the transit hub while holding on to some old-time charm.

"There's going to be a brand new set of escalators and stairways coming right down from Seventh Avenue right into the middle of the Long Island Rail Road corridor," MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber said. "Right now, it's very complicated to get here from Seventh Avenue. You have to go down a set of stairs into the Amtrak area, and now, we're going to make it so you can come directly down."

The historical original Penn Station artwork dating back to circa 1903 will stay, and a Mya Lin original on the ceiling called Eclipsed Time will stick around but be moved.

The original stairwells will also stay, but low ceilings will be removed.

The main corridor will be twice as wide as it is now, with a much taller and flat ceiling that will substantially increase lighting.

"Make the corridor 20 feet wider, and make the ceiling much higher," Lieber said. "It's going to feel much more like a first-class transportation terminal of the 21st Century. Not only good quality retail that meets people's needs, but also that has signage in it and digital signs like in airports that tell you where your track is so that you don't have to stand in front of the big board."

Hundreds of thousands of people use the terminal every day, and this project is expected to cost $570 million and be finished in two to three years.

The extra space and light will also help when Metro-North comes to Penn Station in five or six years.

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