moynihan train hall
Morning commuters pass by the entrance to Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, Aug. 17, 2017. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Moynihan Train Hall, a 50 percent expansion on Penn Station, will be completed on New Year’s Eve and open on New Year’s Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Dec. 27.

The train hall project transformed the James A. Farley Post Office Building into a 255,000 square-foot addition along Eighth Avenue to the concourse at Penn Station, which typically sees hundreds of thousands of commuters and travelers from Long Island and beyond each day. 

“New Yorkers have known for decades that Penn Station needed to be reimagined,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “This monumental accomplishment is a shot of hope as we come out of one of darkest periods in our history and sends a clear message to the world that while we suffered greatly as a result of this once-in-a-century health crisis, the pandemic did not stop us from dreaming big and building for the future. The new Moynihan Train Hall is the embodiment of New York Tough.”

Moynihan will give LIRR and Amtrak customers 17 new tracks accessible from nine platforms and relieve congestion in Penn Stations after what the governor called the “summer of hell” when service was cut to make long-overdue repairs to the old station.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran called Moynihan Train Hall “a game-changer for Nassau County residents.”

The new transportation facility has a modern design with atrium-like, 92-foot-high skylights. For easy way-finding, it has dozens of LED and LCD displays for train information and messaging. It also has designated customer service locations for each railroad, and a dedicated lounge for nursing mothers, as well as a free, public, high-performing Wi-Fi network.

The $1.6 billion project to upgrade North America’s largest commuter hub by transforming the post office, which is more than 100 years old, had been discussed for decades but not seen through until now. 

Cuomo first announced the infrastructure project at his 2016 State of the State. Construction then began in 2017. Moynihan Train Hall is named for the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Navy veteran and senator representing New York for 24 years, who strongly supported the project. He died in 2003.

The governor’s office envisioned the Moynihan Train Hall in 2017 as a revival of what was lost in the 1970s as the Pennsylvania Railroad pulled out of Penn Station, dismantling the grandeur of the station itself on the way out and essentially leading to the creation of the Landmark Preservation Commission. The former post office building that houses Moynihan Train Hall will also be used for commercial purposes.

-With Mark Hallum

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