When the Moynihan Train Hall opened last year, it offered rail travelers in and out of New York City’s Penn Station just a tiny glimpse into a world where the original Penn Station wasn’t demolished to make way for the current iteration of Madison Square Garden. Though, the converted main post office is still a reflection of modern New York for all the wrong reasons.
Access to the Moynihan Train Hall is located on the western end of the platforms, meaning that most arriving passengers will end up in the much-maligned underground portion of Penn Station beneath the Garden unless they actively seek out the new train hall. And, don’t expect anyone to be waiting for a loved one to arrive in the Moynihan Train Hall.
Several local elected officials including two NY State Senators and a member of U.S. Congress sent an open letter to Chief Executive Officers of Amtrak and the MTA. The open letter requests that additional seating be installed in the Moynihan Train Hall. It’s an issue that has been apparent since the section of the station opened. While someone can argue that having a large uncluttered polished floor was an aesthetic choice, it’s kind of essential to have a place to wait for trains in a train station comfortably.
There are small lounges for ticket holders, but there aren’t enough seats for the number of passengers that use the stations. The lack of seating is becoming more and more ridiculous as new amenities are introduced to the train hall. Last month, Amtrak opened a premium lounge inside the Moynihan Train Hall with a full-service bar serving a rotating selection of beers from local craft breweries.
First-class passengers can buy a craft beer or a glass of wine, but if someone is waiting for a friend coming into town, you’ll have to stand. Stand because, of course, no one is allowed to sit on the floor.