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Penn Station Faces Demolition Crews

Oct. 28, 1963 - New York’s Pennsylvania Station, a grimy monument to an age of expansive elegance, suffered the fate of an anachronism today. A demolition crew began a two-stage operation that will eventually convert the architectural landmark into a futuristic sports palace and a 33-story skyscraper. The station reached the end of the line, architecturally, at 9 a.m. Electric jackhammers tore at the granite slabs of the side of the terminal near the 33rd Street entrance, crushing the hopes of a band of architects who had rallied to save what the Municipal Art Society called “one of the great monuments of classical America.” “Just another job,” remarked John Rezin, the crew’s foreman. At the ceremony, a giant crane slowly lowered the first of six 5,700-pound stone eagles that have been perched on a ledge above the entrance since 1910. The eagles will be moved temporarily to a parking lot on 31st Street. Construction of the $70 million Madison Square Garden Sports Center is expected to be completed in late 1966. During construction, the station’s 550 daily trains will continue to carry 200,000 passengers to and from the city. The sports complex will have a seating capacity of 22,000, and all seats will have unobstructed views. There also will be a smaller arena with 4,000 fixed seats which will be called the Forum, a 48-lane bowling center, a 400-seat Sports Cinema, a Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame, and an Art Museum and Library of Sport. Other innovations will include the private membership Madison Square Garden club, an Arena Club for season-ticket subscribers, and a Press Club for newsmen covering sports and other events within the complex.


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