The Penn Station commuters are familiar with is very different from the original Penn Station. Completed in August 1910, the first Penn Station was considered to be one of the most beautiful structures in New York City. Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, the architectural masterpiece spanned eight acres and boasted a majestic 150-foot ceiling and a 277-foot long waiting room.
Penn Station was the largest structure ever built for rail travel. Over 500 buildings were demolished and thousands of feet of tunnels were dug under the Hudson River to accommodate it. Supported on 650 steel columns, the massive building featured two grand carriageways inspired by Berlin's Brandenburg Gate that led to the station’s two railroads.
The station’s owner, Pennsylvania Railroad, began to lose money after World War II as people began to move out of the cities and started using cars and airplanes for travel instead of the train. Pennsylvania Railroad sold the empty space above the building in 1955 and it was decided that Penn Station would eventually be torn down. The demolition began in 1963. Pennsylvania Plaza, which opened in 1968, includes Madison Square Garden and the Pennsylvania Plaza skyscrapers. The Penn Station of today is underground, beneath the office towers.