As New York City’s busiest commuter hub, Pennsylvania Station (more commonly known as Penn Station) serves three passenger railroad lines: Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and the Long Island Railroad. The station also connects to the New York City subway, Penn Plaza, and Madison Square Garden, and is just a short walk from Herald Square in midtown Manhattan.
The main entrance to Penn Station is located on 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets, but there are also entrances via subway stations on 34th Street and 7th Avenue and on 34th Street and 8th Avenue. Penn Station is always open.
Penn Station is easily accessible by subway via the 1, 2, and 3 trains to 34th Street and 7th Avenue, which take you directly to the station, or the N, Q, and R or B, D, F, and M trains to 6th Avenue and 34th Street, near Macy’s and Herald Square. Additionally, the A, C, and E trains connect you to nearby 34th Street and 8th Ave with underground access to Penn Station, and there is also the 7 stop at 34th Street at the nearby Hudson Yards. Furthermore, the M34 Bus Service is the only MTA city bus that connects directly to Penn Station.
Three Train Operators in Penn Station
Three train operators base their arrivals and departures into and out of New York City in Pennsylvania Station: Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and the Long Island Railroad.
Amtrak offers short and long-distance transit to destinations in the United States and Canada including Montreal, Boston, Albany, and Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the New Jersey Transit (NJT) trains run from Penn Station to various destinations across the state of New Jersey, including Newark Airport, and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) operates over 700 trains daily, carrying over 300,000 travelers to and from all points along Long Island.
The LIRR from Penn Station also connects you to Jamaica Station, which offers access to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) via the AirTrain, as do the A and C subway lines. However, there is no direct access to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) from Penn Station.
Station Layout: Upper and Lower Concourses
Learning where to find these train hubs and the layout of Penn Station before your trip will help you avoid any undue travel stress like missing a train because you got lost in the station. Penn Station has two main levels above the train platforms—the upper and lower concourses—both of which are accessible by elevators, escalators, and stairs.
On the upper concourse level, travelers can find the New Jersey Transit and Amtrak tracks, ticket booths, and a few shops. Meanwhile, the lower concourse level houses the Long Island Rail Road tracks and ticket stations as well as the 1, 2, 3, A, C, and E subway lines. Fast food restaurants, delis, and concession stands line the central corridor of the lower level if you’re looking to snag your morning bagel or cup of coffee.
History and Future of Pennsylvania Station
The original Penn Station—heralded as a "pink marble architectural masterpiece"—was built in 1910 and designed by the legendary McKim, Meade, and White. For more than 50 years, New York's Penn Station was one of the country's busiest passenger train hubs, but train travel declined dramatically with the advent of the jet engine.
As a result, the underutilized Penn Station was demolished in the 1960s to make way for Madison Square Garden and the new, smaller Penn Station. The destruction of this New York architectural landmark caused outrage and is said to be the main catalyst for many of New York's current landmark preservation statutes.
As of 2018, construction of a brand-new train station in the magnificent Farley Post Office Building (a landmark also designed by McKim, Meade, and White) is already underway. According to current plans, the state-of-the-art train station—to be christened Moynihan Station after long-time New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan—will move into the post office's enormous old mail-sorting room once restoration is complete.