August 23, 2010
Coming out of Penn Station this weekend, I discovered some new artwork that recalls the glory of old Penn Station. Inside a new entrance to the station at 31st and 7th ave that NJ Transit opened about a year ago, a series of 10 natural stone mosaics pay homage to the grandeur of the McKim, Mead & White's original "Temple To Travel".
These pieces are the work of a Russian-born artist Yakov Hanansen and they are a beautiful tribute to the old station, which was torn down in 1964 to make way for Madison Square Garden. Currently, there are many plaques and photos and sculptures scattered through the underground tunnels which now make up the so-called station, in remembrance of the terminal's storied past. But Hanasen's mosaics are the most elegant homage to a grand place that still lingers in the imagination.