Mail this story to a friend.          
RELEASE: Hochul event at Penn Station concourse on September 6, 2022. Youtube video, release, transcript.
NYSNYS News


For Immediate Release: 9/6/2022
GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL


GOVERNOR HOCHUL REVEALS WIDER, BRIGHTER LIRR CONCOURSE AT PENN STATION

33rd Street Concourse Approximately Doubled in Width

18-Foot-High Illuminated Ceiling Runs from Seventh Avenue to Eighth Avenue Subways

Entire LIRR Concourse Project Will Be Complete Spring of 2023

Photos of LIRR Concourse Available Here


Governor Kathy Hochul today unveiled a dramatically more spacious Long Island Rail Road Concourse at Penn Station. Crews have widened the concourse to 57 feet from the previous 30 and have raised the ceilings to 18 feet. The concourse stretches from Seventh Avenue near the 1/2/3 subway to Eighth Avenue near the A/C/E subway and now features 9,500 square feet of programmable color changing LED ceiling lights. The reopening of the concourse - on time and on budget - is a step toward the full-scale reconstruction of Penn Station into a modern, spacious, world-class single-level terminal that is open to natural light. The reconstruction of the Penn Station LIRR concourse is one of three major projects that is transforming the experience of LIRR riders in the coming months, along with opening of service to Grand Central Madison and the opening of a new Main Line third track.

"Penn Station isn't just the busiest transit hub in North America, it is also the beating heart of New York City, and for too long it hasn't provided an experience worthy of New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "Today, we're raising the roof on Penn Station literally and figuratively - and paving the way for a better future as we unveil a wider, brighter Long Island Rail Road concourse. We're one step closer to making Penn a world-class transit hub and making New York an even more livable, and lovable, city."

Each day, more than half of Penn Station's 600,000 users pass through the LIRR concourse, including the vast majority of Penn Station's over 200,000 daily LIRR riders. When the LIRR Concourse project is complete in early 2023, the customer experience at Penn Station will also be greatly enhanced by:
New mechanical systems that allow for better air circulation and an expanded volume of fresh air;
Enhanced accessibility including a new elevator entrance, the replacement of four elevators and new elevator communication systems;
Intuitive wayfinding; and
More retail and dining options.

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, "This wider, brighter LIRR concourse is just a glimpse of what is coming -- not only LIRR riders but for all New Yorkers. Governor Hochul has prioritized fixing Penn Station, and this project shows the MTA is ready to finish transforming the crummy terminal New Yorkers have been suffering with for 50-plus years into a world-class facility."

Long Island Rail Road Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi said, "The LIRR has taken another step towards its transformation into a modern, more flexible and more accessible railroad. The new elevated ceilings, bright lights, better air flow and improved accessibility create a more comfortable and welcoming space for everyone."

MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said, "The MTA continues to reach project milestones on-time and the unveiling of new, higher ceilings and the wider concourse is a sign of things to come at Penn Station when we finish this project and move on to the full reconstruction of the station. This is just the beginning of the substantial enhancements Penn Station riders will experience starting this fall."

Today's unveiled LIRR Concourse project features $380 million in state funding with 30 percent of the contracts awarded to minority and women owned businesses. The total cost of the corridor amounts to $559 million.

Construction began on the East End Gateway in June of 2019 which opened to the public in December 2020.

In March 2022, seven massive low-hanging ten-ton beams informally known as "Head Knockers" - that historically limited the heights in Penn Station passageways to 6 feet, 8 inches were removed. The structures above Penn Station are now supported by an innovative structural framing system, installed by Skanska/AECOM.

****


For Immediate Release: 9/6/2022
GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL


VIDEO, AUDIO, PHOTOS & RUSH TRANSCRIPT: GOVERNOR HOCHUL REVEALS WIDER, BRIGHTER LIRR CONCOURSE AT PENN STATION

33rd Street Concourse Approximately Doubled in Width

18-Foot-High Illuminated Ceiling Runs from Seventh Avenue to Eighth Avenue Subways

Entire LIRR Concourse Project Will Be Complete Spring of 2023

Photos of LIRR Concourse Available Here

Governor Hochul: "I've not been shy in sharing my thoughts about Penn Station. It's not been my favorite place in New York. For too long, it hasn't provided the experience that the city and the state are deserving of...it's more than a transit hub though. This is the beating heart of New York City."

Hochul: "Today, we're literally raising the roof on Penn Station, literally and figuratively. We're one step closer to making this to be a world class transit hub and making New York City not just a more livable city, but even more lovable city. How about that? We're righting the wrongs of the past. We're paving the way for the future."

Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled a dramatically more spacious Long Island Rail Road Concourse at Penn Station. Crews have widened the concourse to 57 feet from the previous 30 and have raised the ceilings to 18 feet. The concourse stretches from Seventh Avenue near the 1/2/3 subway to Eighth Avenue near the A/C/E subway and now features 9,500 square feet of programmable color changing LED ceiling lights. The reopening of the concourse - on time and on budget - is a step toward the full-scale reconstruction of Penn Station into a modern, spacious, world-class single-level terminal that is open to natural light. The reconstruction of the Penn Station LIRR concourse is one of three major projects that is transforming the experience of LIRR riders in the coming months, along with opening of service to Grand Central Madison and the opening of a new Main Line third track.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Good morning, everyone. First of all, let there be light. This looks spectacular. This is the new Penn Station, and we're just getting started. What a wonderful, uplifting experience. And we're here to talk about that today and how we got here. First of all, the man behind so many of the transformational projects related to Penn Station and the MTA overall, I want to thank Janno Lieber. You'll be hearing from him in a couple of minutes. Thank you, Janno. Catherine Rinaldi, the LIRR Interim President, Metro North President, thank you. And Jamie Torres-Springer, the MTA Construction and Development Project as well. So thank you, everyone.

You know, I've not been shy in sharing my thoughts about Penn Station. It's not been my favorite place in New York. For too long, it hasn't provided the experience that the city and the state are deserving of. It's dark, dreary, depressing, confusing, cramped, and probably the opposite of everything that you consider to be a comfortable, welcoming experience. And when you're stuck underground in these low - had been low - ceilings and narrow passageways, it actually feels suffocating. You let me out, let me get some air, I need some light. And it doesn't make sense that the busiest transit hub in North America, in the Western Hemisphere, which had over 600,000 people daily before COVID, coming through more than all three airports combined. It wasn't right that that many people were subjected to those conditions. So, it's more than a transit hub though. This is the beating heart of New York City. Tourists come from all over the world. This is their first exposure to New York State in America, many times. And I know we could do better.

So, we are talking about making sure that the experience is extraordinary, but not just for the tourists, but for the commuters and the New Yorkers who come through here every single day. 60 percent of people who use Penn Station are New Yorkers. Those are our taxpayers because Penn Station is the crossroads, the trains, the subways, the buses that arrive and depart here. They connect us to each other. They connect us to our neighbors, our neighboring states. They connect us to the rest of the world, and they connect us to jobs, to healthcare, to education. And that's why my former boss, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was right when he called the demolition of the beautiful structure known as Penn Station, 60 years ago, he called it the greatest civic crime in New York. Senator Moynihan, you were right. That's why we are reviving Penn Station making it world class. We're making it the transit hub it always should be because reviving Penn Station is the key to reviving New York and the people who use Penn Station deserve no less. And so are the surrounding communities who benefit from the economic activity and the jobs that Penn Station fuels.

So, as soon as I became Governor, I got to work. Because while it's always been a good idea to have a better Penn Station and we know how critical it is, it just wasn't happening at the he rate we thought it should. And we need people to start coming back. We need to have a good experience, so the commuters - and welcome back commuters - come on back. We want this to be an extraordinary experience and it can only happen if our infrastructure and the experience were up to meet our expectations. So today, Amtrak riders have the beautiful Moynihan Hall. New Jersey Transit riders have the beautiful Concourse at the Oculus. And now, just a little over year since I became Governor, we're finally gathered in a wider, brighter LIRR Concourse at Penn Station. And that's what we're announcing here today. This is glorious. We knocked down walls, we lifted the ceiling. So the whole thing - we doubled the width from 30 feet to 57 feet, we raised the ceilings to 18 feet. I mean, this is extraordinary. And we brought in natural light. You're starting to see my vision for the new Penn Station. It takes us from the depths of hell, so you can see the lights and the skies of heavens looking down upon us. And we're getting there and it's starting in this Concourse. So, we've also added 9,500 square feet of LED ceiling lights, and my favorite words: On time and on budget. So, there we go.

So, the 200,000 Long Island Rail Road riders who come through every day, as well as those transferring from Amtrak to the A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 subway lines. You get a chance to walk through this concourse, not just shuffle along with your head down and feeling pretty depressed. Now you get to walk through. And also imagine the great retail that's being built behind these walls, and the whole experience, it's going to be so uplifting. And we're so excited about this. And I want to thank the extraordinary leadership, as I mentioned, the MTA leadership, the LIRR leadership, as well as our partners in labor who built this, thank you. Thank you to the labor unions. The members who showed up during a pandemic. You showed up during a global pandemic, putting your lives in danger to make sure that New Yorkers and our visitors could have this gorgeous, wonderful experience.

So I say, a better Penn Station is not just a good idea. It's already happening. And when this Concourse is complete in the spring of 2023, we'll have improved air circulation. Yes, you don't suffocate, you can breathe good air. Enhanced accessibility, a new elevator entrance and four new elevators. That's so important for our communities. Better wayfinding. My gosh, how many times you got lost wandering through here? Look at the nice signs, they're gorgeous. And expanded retail and dining options. It's going to be so great. You're not even going to want to go to work, because you're going to want to stay in here all day, but make sure you get to your jobs. So with this new Concourse, we're answering all the concerns that people have had, the complaints they've had about Penn Station for decades. We want people to gather here. We want this to be the highlight of your commute, not the most dreaded part of your commute.

Couple other projects that we're working on to improve the commuting experience, we're going to finish this year three major projects. The third track on the Main Line was just out there. The Grand Central Madison, we were there not long ago. And for MTA Amtrak and Metro North riders, we're continuing to make the whole Penn Station experience extraordinary because this is the beating heart of New York City. As you know, we've announced it'll be a single level train hall. Sunshine, natural light, and a 460 foot atrium and skylight. You think this is great? Imagine 460 feet upward. It is going to be downright heavenly. So with all these changes and no underground mazes, we're going to have a beautiful experience here, but also improving the local community. This is so important to me. More affordable housing, more underground connections to the subway stations, more green spaces, more green spaces for people to recreate and more jobs, something we're all so proud of. So today, we're literally raising the roof on Penn Station, literally and figuratively. We're one step closer to making this to be a world class transit hub and making New York City not just a more livable city, but even more lovable city. How about that? We're righting the wrongs of the past. We're paving the way for the future. And I am very excited about this project. Congratulations to everyone made this happen. This is extraordinary. Janno Lieber, take it away.

-30-