Photographs of the Old Penn Station

The razing of New York’s Penn Station in 1963 still ranks as one of the city’s great architectural disasters. At the time, The New York Times wrote, “We will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.” Walter Chandoha, a photographer who is now 93, remembers the old train station fondly. He was living in New York in the late 1940s and studying at N.Y.U. on the G.I. Bill when he would duck out between classes, Rolleiflex in hand, and wander around the city. Penn Station was a cherished spot, even before it was slated for demolition. “When I look at the pictures now and I see the magnificence of it, I think, How could anybody knock this thing down?” Chandoha says. “It’s like knocking down the Colosseum or the Brandenburg Gate. It’s impossible to imagine.” Julie Bosman

Date the original Penn Station opened:Sept. 8, 1910

Date it began to be torn down: Oct. 28, 1963

Number of commuters who pass through Penn Station daily: 600,000

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