Press release follows…
New Penn Station Entrance Creates a Front Door Identity on Seventh Avenue & Direct Connection from Street Level to LIRR Concourse & Subway
Includes Three State-of-the-Art Escalators and a Staircase – Improving Customer Experience & Increasing Circulation
Major Milestone in Broader Project Which Will Double the Width of the Corridor and Raise the Ceilings to 18 Feet View Video and Photos of MTA C&D President Lieber Thanking Workers for Completing the Entrance On Time and On Budget
MTA Construction & Development (MTA C&D) today announced the grand opening of the East End Gateway to the Long Island Rail Road Concourse at Penn Station, a visually remarkable high-capacity entrance at 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue. The new entrance gives Penn Station a front door identity on Seventh Avenue for the first time as well as provides direct access for customers headed from street level to the LIRR, as well as to NYC Transit’s 1, 2, 3 and A, C, E subway lines. Prior to the new entrance, customers had to wind their way through Penn Station’s Amtrak level to reach the LIRR Concourse.
MTA C&D President Janno Lieber opened the new entrance at noon – thanking workers who have worked safely through the pandemic to deliver the project on time and on budget for New Yorkers. With a glass and steel canopy that towers 40 feet over the streetscape and frames the spire of the Empire State Building, the new entrance immediately provides easy orientation for customers emerging onto the street from the LIRR Concourse. The project includes three new state-of-the-art escalators and a staircase, effectively doubling vertical circulation capacity. The new escalators are equipped with smart features including heaters to ensure operation during cold weather and a “sleep mode” that will save energy and increase their longevity.
“The East End Gateway is the first of many steps to totally transform Penn Station,” said Lieber. “We’ve begun construction on the next phase — doubling the width of the LIRR 33rd Street Concourse — which benefits both subway riders and LIRR passengers. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we’re going to give New Yorkers a true 21st century transit hub.”
“Public transportation is the lifeblood of great cities like New York, and I’m thrilled our customers now have a magnificent entrance that will remind them of our region’s strength, resilience, and greatness,” said Phillip Eng, LIRR President. “Not only visually stunning, this new entrance will provide much needed space for a brighter and more seamless access directly to our concourse. We strive to deliver the ultimate customer experience every single day, and we can’t wait for customers to enjoy this new part of the ongoing Penn Station revamp. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and his leadership for making big things happen for New York State and LIRR riders, both now and for generations to come.”
The new East End Gateway comprises architectural features that elevate the Penn Station experience. The glass and steel canopy at the street level, manufactured and installed by MTA C&D’s partner Seele, allows natural light to filter down into the LIRR Concourse through 139 unique double-curved glass panels. It affords views of the Empire State Building from the ascending escalators. The canopy’s A-frame towers contain 105 tons of steel.
The underside of the canopy forms a compound curved panel, creating what architects refer to as a spandrel. MTA C&D commissioned a customized graphic installation for the structure – a 1,988-square-foot map of the New York metropolitan region. The exterior of the spandrel comprises 60 individual steel panels of varying curvature. The interior graphic contains more than 200 printed sections, which were applied directly to the steel panels at the project site.
Using an innovative design-build approach, MTA C&D and contractor Skanska expedited construction to take advantage of reduced passenger traffic flow in and around Penn Station during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project entails close coordination with Vornado Realty Trust, who is performing major upgrades to the adjacent buildings and constructing a pedestrian plaza next to the new entrance.
MTA C&D completed the project on-time despite the pandemic, using rigorous protocols and implementation of industry-leading safety practices. Construction was completed without disruption to train service as crews worked to minimize impact to the overall passenger experience.
The East End Gateway is Phase I of a larger Penn Station transformation project to improve the LIRR Concourse at Penn Station. Phase II began in Fall 2020 and will include higher ceilings, new wayfinding signage, and improved circulation for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who typically utilize Penn Station each day. Phase II will nearly double the width of the LIRR Concourse from 30 to 57 feet and raise the ceiling height to 18 feet. The widened corridors will allow for greater social distancing and a safer commuter experience. The project will improve lighting and air flow, add intuitive wayfinding, and enhance retail and dining options. Accessibility improvements will include a brand-new elevator from Seventh Avenue at 33rd Street down to the LIRR Concourse and rehabilitation of three existing elevators. For more information and construction photos view attached fact sheet below or visit the East End Gateway and LIRR Concourse project page on AModernLI.com. East End Gateway Fact Sheet.pdf.