There are things I shouldn't know. Things I should be spared, because I will have a reaction. I guess this is why I tend to live in oblivion, because I can't handle certain truths.
Up until yesterday, I never knew what the old Penn Station looked like. I'd seen a few scattered pictures in the current station, but never knew the whole story. Part of me didn't want to know, afraid of what I'd discover, but as I looked through the junk on the MTA website, I clicked on "books." What a mistake. The link led me to a book called, "The Destruction of Penn Station." The MTA website didn't have much info, so I looked it up on Amazon, where I read an excerpt and saw photos.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the original Penn Station, here is a bit of background (via Wikipedia) for you.
"The original Pennsylvania Station was an outstanding masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style and one of the architectural jewels of New York City. The above-ground portion of the original structure was demolished in 1964 and replaced by the present Pennsylvania Plaza complex, including the fourth and current Madison Square Garden."
Since I wasn't born when this happened, I am late in my reaction. Had I been there, I would have carried a large sign at the protest to save the station. It would have read, Bastards. You fucking bastards!
The more I think about it, the more pissed off I get. It's like, so, tear down something that can never ever be replicated, and build what looks like a bowl and a box of cereal? Fucking bastards. It's been over 40 years since this atrocity and I can only hope that the people who are responsible for this are dying a slow and painful death. Maybe I'm being too harsh because obviously they had no class, they had no charm, they had no vision, they had no style. But they were the ones who got to decide the fate of a building that lived for less than 60 years?
I used to hear the phrase "preserved for future generations" and never give it a second thought. But now I fully understand. I am the future generation they were talking about. A generation that would never get to enjoy and marvel at a masterpiece of human ingenuity.
The thing that makes the destruction of this glorious, awe-inspiring building so bad is that we did it ourselves. It would be one thing if it was destroyed by a foreign enemy during war time, but this was voluntary. We did it. Out of ignorance, a lack of respect for history, and sheer stupidity. Yet another reason to hate sports. Fucking bastards. Penn Station (via Wikipedia)
For more photos and facts about this tragedy, you can click here.
To see what little of the original Penn Station exists today, click here.
"Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed."
- "Farewell to Penn Station," New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963