“One entered the city like a god. One scuttles in now like a rat.”
— Vincent Scully

Original Renderings of a Rebuilt Station by Jeff Stikeman for the National Civic Art Society

The National Civic Art Society is spearheading an effort in New York City to rebuild the original Pennsylvania Station designed by McKim, Mead & White. Completed in 1910 and demolished in 1963, the station was one of the greatest buildings in American history. 

The depot's vast, travertine-clad main hall was cherished for the breathtaking scale of its Corinthian columns, semicircular Roman windows, and vaulted coffered ceiling. The hall’s majesty made for a striking contrast with the modern train concourse, whose glass vaults were intricately framed by steel arches. The original Penn Station was both a triumphant gateway into the city, and a shared democratic space.

The station’s demolition is widely regarded as the greatest single catastrophe in American architectural history. That wrong is all the worse given the current station, which is a cramped, dismal, and dehumanizing warren.

We aim to right that wrong by restoring the station to its former glory.

For more information on the project, which was profiled in the Wall Street Journal, see the dedicated website rebuildpennstation.org.


Video of a conversation on Rebuild Penn Station hosted by Chartwell Booksellers. Please note that the audio improves at the 15:00 mark.

On October 4, 2018 in New York City, Chartwell Booksellers hosted a conversation on Rebuild Penn Station, the National Civic Art Society's project to rebuild the original station. The event featured leaders of Rebuild Penn Station together with design collaborators ReThinkNYC and Atelier & Co.

Until November 1, a scale model of the original station will be on display in the windows of the bookshop, which is located in the Park Avenue Plaza building at 55 East 52nd St. (between Park & Madison Avenues). Also on display is an exhibition of never-before-seen photographs of the original Penn Station taken by the late-Bob Parent, who is most famous for his portraits of jazz musicians.


In this October 10, 2016 lecture sponsored by the National Civic Art Society, Calder Loth, Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, provided the arguments for rebuilding destroyed historic landmarks, and offered examples from around the world.