Sunlight is not typically associated with the dingy basement vibe that envelops commuters passing through Penn Station.

But natural light spills across the new Moynihan Train Hall through its massive, 92-foot-high skylight ceiling and illuminates another surprise: permanent installations by some of the most celebrated artists in the world.

Kehinde Wiley, Stan Douglas and the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset have major pieces prominently displayed in the new $1.6 billion train hall set to open Friday, offering an expansion of Penn Station’s concourse space and serving customers of Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road. The hall, designed by the architecture firm SOM, also connects to subway lines, although they are some distance away.

Image

The 255,000-square-foot Moynihan Train Hall, with an acre of glass across the main hall skylights, was designed by SOM. Escalators seem to disappear into the floor. The 255,000-square-foot Moynihan Train Hall, with an acre of glass across the main hall skylights, was designed by SOM. Escalators seem to disappear into the floor. Credit…Andrew Moore for The New York Times

Image

The clock is nearly 12 feet tall and more than 6 feet wide. It was designed by Peter Pennoyer Architects.Credit…Andrew Moore for The New York Times

The 255,000-square-foot train hall is inside the James A. Farley postal building, the grandiose Beaux-Arts structure designed by McKim Mead & White in 1912, two years after the original Pennsylvania Station. (New Yorkers may know the Farley Building from rushing up its giant staircase to file income taxes before midnight in mid-April.)

The new hall is named for Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, who first introduced plans for a renovation in the early 1990s, but they were mired in delays for years. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the driving force behind the project, in 2016 announced a public-private partnership for developing the hall, including Empire State Development, Vornado Realty Trust, Related Companies, Skanska and others.

Image

The interior of the old Pennsylvania Station,  » Read Full Story