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the Destruction of Penn Station

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Author Topic: the Destruction of Penn Station  (Read 799 times)
Jeannette Latoria
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Posts: 5791

« on: January 25, 2009, 02:26:30 am »

From 1910 until 1963, when New York actually had a Pennsylvania Station instead of a dingy 1960s subterranean rat warren beneath a hockey rink and office towers, twenty-two stone eagles stood guard over the McKim, Mead, and White masterpiece. The eagles themselves, along with almost all the other stone artwork on the station were the work of artist Adolph A. Weinman, who among other things created Civic Fame atop the Municipal Building and the Walking Liberty half dollar coin.

Today fourteen of the twenty-two eagles are known to still exist, with just three still in the city. (We suspect the remainder are probably landfill in the Meadowlands along with most of the rest if the station.) Two of the city eagles are easy to spot. You can find them ignobly perched on plinths in front of the Penn Plaza/Madison Square Garden complex on 7th Avenue. The third of the city eagles is a bit harder to find, sitting in a courtyard of a Cooper Union building at 3rd Avenue and St. Marks Place. You can see it through the fence on the 3rd Avenue side.

Three eagles have taken flight to Long Island where you can find two at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point and one a the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station.

The greatest concentration of eagles winds up being in a rather ironic place, in the city where the plans for the destruction of their original perch were approved – Philadelphia. There, four eagles stand perched, as if they were the spoils of the sacking of a great city, on the corners of the Market Street bridge, right near the former Pennsylvania Railroad and current Amtrak station.

The other survivors are further dispersed with lone eagles roosting at Valley Forge Military Academy in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, Vinalhaven, Maine, and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Photograph of a Penn Station Eagle at the Cooper Union by Triborough on flickr
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