Just 100 years ago, smoke and cinder belching trains ran up and down an open trench along “Park Avenue” and anywhere north of 42nd Street was a most undesirable address. The 30 year old Station was taken down in parts while the current Terminal building was built in stages starting in 1903.
When the trains were finally electrified in 1913, the trench could be covered and a park down the center of the new avenue was created. New side streets bridged over the tracks below and huge, new limestone apartment buildings were built on stilts, many of which exist today. What was the worst neighborhood suddenly became the most desirable part of the City.
Midtown Manhattan exists today because the City forced the railroad to go no farther south than the relatively rural 42nd Street. Two other railroad lines met here and this created Grand Central and Midtown. Grand Central is now a Terminal because it’s at the end of the line.
The original station was famous for baggage transfer chaos. Sigh…
It stood for just over 50 years and took another 3 to break apart, bit by bit. All that wasted space of Grand Central Terminal was also proposed to be demolished for a new tower.
New Penn Station is so hopelessly confusing and ugly that every New Yorker who didn’t try to stop the destruction deserves to get lost and miss their train each time they venture into its depressing bowels.
Suppose that L to 7 Hudson Yards Extension actually happens. (L to 7 Extension) The platforms are offset so the L Train could eventually extend east to Penn Station and directly connect to Grand Central Terminal.
From there, there’s a very convenient connection with the 2nd Avenue Subway and First Avenue - UN Plaza. Add in a new Herald Square L Train Station, and 3 of the busiest transit hubs become connected. There isn’t a 34th Street tunneling conflict since Penn RR lines are under 32nd & 33rd Streets.
Maybe this becomes a reversed “C” shaped SAS revised route. It would include a Harlem Crosstown extension connecting west to the 1 Train. This would greatly improve horrible bus traffic on 125th Street and provide connections with all existing subway lines across Harlem. A third, middle track on this stretch may be a good idea to consider. This area could become, with truly careful planning, the new Uptown. And maybe the trash will no longer be such a problem.
And maybe this Crosstown L just heads north up 2nd Avenue and west across Harlem and we’re done! All those subway lines, Midtown and Uptown, will be connected.
Let’s capitalize on the lines we have in place and get more New Yorkers moving sooner.