This week, Penn Station began trending across the Twitter-sphere as the worst place in NYC, with many referring to it as their "hell on earth."
For the uninitiated (if you’ve somehow managed to dodge Penn Station in your time as a New Yorker), the transit hub, which sits just below Madison Square Garden, is home to three different railroads: Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and Long Island Rail Road. With the entirety of the structure's above ground portion demolished in 1963 to make way for Madison Square Garden, it's pretty much devoid of sunlight. Garishly lit with low-ceilings and pigeons hanging out overhead, some would say it has major dungeon vibes.
During the daily rush hour, confusing signs have tourists walking in circles, seasoned commuters shove and shoulder each other as their assigned train tracks appear on the big board. Hundreds race down cramped stairs to tunnels even further underground.
Yesterday, the social media uproar began when one Twitter user put out a "for-fun" message to his followers, saying he was in the middle of a "heated debate" about the worst places in NYC.
Currently in a heated debate about top three worst places in NYC. My answers are Columbus Circle Whole Foods, Union Pool & Grand Army Plaza (Brooklyn). I am countered with the 86th st. 4/5/6 station, the Port Authority Bus Terminal & the NY Aquarium.— MosesNYC (@MosesNYC) July 6, 2020
-----While Penn Station did top their most-dreadful place list, straight away, countless Twitter users took the opportunity to give their own opinion, spurring on a passionate thrashing of Penn Station.
Penn Station, The WTC MTA stop (Oculus) and Penn Station— Black Lives Matter, You Assclowns (@jenryannyc) July 6, 2020
i see penn station trending so i’d like to add that it’s one of the worst places i’ve ever been in my life— laurel (@LAdevotee___) July 7, 2020
Yeah Penn Station absolutely has to be on the list, but *specifically* the LIRR part.— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 7, 2020
Aw. I kinda like the NY Aquarium. But Penn Station is a horrible mass psychological experiment with no cheese at the end.— FormerGregSamsa (@MJaMitchell) July 6, 2020
This is interesting and everything mentioned is very bad. But Penn Station is uniquely awful, soul destroying and counter to what's good about humanity.— David Coggins (@Davidrcoggins) July 7, 2020
It’s the only thing I hate when I go to NY. Waiting in a mob to find out which track your train is on then having to reenact the running of the bulls to get a seat! Pushes my anxiety through the roof.— Donna_Rose 💙 (@Old_Coed) July 7, 2020
Penn Station wasn't the only talk of the hour, other New York establishments and particularly other unpleasant subway stops received their own dose of heat, too, as folks' personal worst.
Penn Station is awful, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the lower levels of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.— Clive Thompson (@pomeranian99) July 7, 2020
There are subterranean levels on the original Quake that have more charm
How is no one mentioning LaGuardia airport?— Keeping It Two Virgils (@iAmJeffSledge) July 7, 2020
Waiting for the D train at 34th street subway stop mid July with full humidity at 90 degree temps.— Gotham Glamour (@GothamGlamourNY) July 6, 2020
A rat touched me at chambers st station— Zarandi (@Zarandi) July 6, 2020
Port Authority, transferring at Times Square, and any stretch of participating bars during Santa-Con.— Grace Stetson (@grace_m_stetson) July 6, 2020
If you told me the Herald Square station was actually sitting just a few inches above the molten core of the planet Earth I would not argue.— Brendan Crain (@bncrain) July 6, 2020
The subway with the breakdancers.— jordan eichenblatt (@JEichenblatt) July 7, 2020
Katz Deli on a Saturday in the summer.
1. Williamsburg Beacon’s Closet— Lauren Patti Lerman (@LaurenPLerman) July 7, 2020
2. Where the Manhattan Bridge bike lane exits onto Forsyth.
3. Wythe Ave exit from the BQE
Honorable mention: The transfer from a WTC-bound E train to an Uptown 6 train at Lex-53rd St.
I think my shoes melted at Broadway Lafayette JMZ one August— KB (@Kris_Brown) July 7, 2020
One person tweeted, that even if these places are no paradise, they'd take what they can get right now since New York has yet to fully reopen.
I don’t know how it’s possible, but I simultaneously agree with you AND miss all these places 😂😭— Nikki Massoud (@virgozel1776) July 7, 2020
If Penn Station still tops your personal list as the worst, remember that once upon a time, the transportation hub was not quite the hole that it has the reputation of being today. In fact, the original structure built in 1910, was one of the architectural darlings of New York City. The Neo-classical marvel had a pink granite exterior, Corinthian marble columns, and arched-glass windows.
Pour one out for the old Penn Station.
I see everyone is trashing Penn station again.— Mark Blinder (@Blinderland) July 6, 2020
Always good to remind everyone it used to look like this before city politics destroyed it pic.twitter.com/mLhvbWFrUS
Difficult to believe that Penn Station went from this to being a urinal with three Dunkin’ Donuts in it pic.twitter.com/zpDDriojKm— Shawn Garrett (@ShawnGarrett) July 7, 2020
Perfectly preserved in Strangers on a Train— Edward Mail-in Ballot Banatt (@ArmaVirumque) July 7, 2020
i try to tell myself penn station had to die so other NYC buildings could live--i know the specific horror of what was done to penn station spurred a lot of reactive preservation--but it's still so shitty to see those old pictures lmao— no thanks (@nothanksbyetho) July 7, 2020
Penn Station is in the process of getting some long overdue makeovers, but they're just the tip of the iceberg.
I thought they were renovating it to come out in the old post office building across the street. That building is not quite as beautiful but still a fine piece of architecture much more pleasing than the current dungeon.
— AngeM (@angem25) July 7, 2020
yes, the exit through the post office is already done, and the city is renovating the station and the plaza outside so things are looking up. pic.twitter.com/J29qZB2q8S— Mark Blinder (@Blinderland) July 7, 2020
But with extensive MTA plans for subways still in need of focus and attention from the state, the jury is out if New Yorkers should hold their breath on Penn Station getting some TLC.
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