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The Destruction of Penn Station Hardcover – February 2, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


...grand cathedral-like Pennsylvania Railroad Station was torn down…Moore documented that sad, historically controversial process on large-format black-and-white film. -- Popular Photography, May 2001 --M.R.

Curiously, his most bracing images record the early stages of destruction, when commuters were moving through unfazed… -- The New Yorker, April 9, 2001

The sequence and editing of photos…give[s] you a strong sense of something almost alive that is slowly dying. -- Paris Photo, Summer 2001 --R.S.

…guaranteed to shock those who’ve only known the station’s undistinguished replacement. Peter Moore’s light-filled paeans to preservation… -- New York Magazine, April 9, 2001

…the loss of the old station was a factor is the creation of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965. -- The New York Times, May 20, 2001

…ultimately, by allowing contemporary viewers to experience freshly that slow-motion tragedy, they illustrate why New Yorker’s sense of loss endures... -- The New York Times Book Review, March 25, 2001 --David W. Dunlap

About the Author

Peter Moore (1932-1993) began his career as assistant to the great industrial photographer O. Winston Link in the 1950s and eventually became Senior Technical Editor of Modern Photography magazine from 1978-1989. But he was best known for his photojournalism covering startling avant-garde performances that took place beginning in the 1960s, such as Fluxus, happenings, and Judson Dance Theater. During more than 30 years of documenting these events Moore amassed an unparalleled archive of several hundred thousand images, selections of which have been published and exhibited internationally. His photographs of the 4-year demolition of New York's Pennsylvania Station, on the other hand, were unknown to the outside world during his lifetime. This book represents thier first publication.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.; First Edition edition (February 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891024051
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891024054
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 10.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As most readers, i have never seen the "real" Pennsylvania Station. I am not even American, i am from Rome, Italy. The excellent photography by Peter Moore will take you slowly through the "deconstruction".. (yes, no wrecking ball or explosives used here) of Mc Kim's masterpiece. It is really hard to believe (please excuse my english) that such a beautiful and well engineered masterpiece was gronund to dust. I have read books from Lorraine Diehl and William Middleton about the Station so i know what it used to be. Times have luckily changed, and many beautiful structures are standing today, thanks to the demise of Penn Station. Although hearthbreaking, these pictures also reflect the mood of the early sixties, when such a masterpiece was considered expendable in change for a station that today looks like a suburban bus terminal and for a sports Arena that is constantly on the verge of meeting the wrecking ball and of negligible beauty , compared with what stood there previously. On my weekly commute to Termini (the main railway station in Rome) the bus takes me by the baths of Diocletian.. and there it is.. the Concourse!.. which sends me cold shivers down my spine! If you love New York, just as i love it, as a foreigner, do not miss this book!
Marco Taccini
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Last week the Russian space agency mercifully, somewhat reluctantly, destroyed the Mir space station, a relic from the old Soviet Union, after a fifteen-year odyssey in earth orbit. The orbiting outpost's passing was marked by sadness, regret, reflection, even cries of protest, from space veterans and enthusiasts across the globe.
If only the same sentiments had been applied to a different station nearly 40 years ago. Like Mir, Pennsylvania Station was a marvel in its time, an unparalleled achievement of contemporary technology; but like Mir, it became a relic, a symbol of a bygone era in a time when the world preferred to look forward; a costly "white elephant" that had to come down to save money. Sadly, though, while Mir served five times its intended lifespan in space, Pennsylvania Station was built to last for centuries but stood for a mere fifty years. Despite its importance as an architectural achievement, despite its majestic, awesome beauty merged with ingenious functionality, despite Charles McKim's unabashed use of rich materials and classical influence, when the indifferent City of New York decided to allow the bankrupt Pennsylvania Railroad to sacrifice its greatest urban depot, there was little of the sadness, regret and reflection that marked the demise of Mir. Only after the tons of granite and marble had been pulverized into landfill and dumped in the New Jersey Meadowlands, and the new Madison Square Garden rose in all of its concrete-and-plastic splendor above the cramped, squalid remains of McKim's masterpiece, did New Yorkers realize what they had lost.
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Format: Hardcover
I remember as a kid in the mid-70s taking the train to NYC and having to endure the commuter's nightmare known as "modern" Penn Station.
In the late 80s, I learned what once was on the site of the current MSG/Penn Station monstrosity and became appalled that people could let a beautiful work of art be dismantled and replaced with a horrible building. In the early 1990s, I learned about the 1950s and 1960s and how Americans were obsessed with all things modern and new, rejecting anything with a hint of age or ornament.
Moore & Moore take a pictorial look on how the McKim, Mead and White's neoclassical masterpiece was dismantled over a multi-year period in the mid-1960s. While they really don't go into detail on why the old Penn Station was demolished, the spooky, B & W photos tell more than how an architectural gem was demolished. On a deeper level, the photos tell the tale of how an entire city was becoming irrelevant to suburban America and was sinking into massive decline (the years of municipal bankrupcy and burning neighborhoods in the South Bronx are only a few years away).
It was a very sad book that gets more depressing with each turn of the page, as more and more of the beauty of the old Penn Station gets stripped away. I guess that was the power of the photographs working on me.
Pair this book up with Robert Caro's _The Power Broker_ to get a good picture of New York in the early Baby Boom era.
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By A Customer on April 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This a rare, photo-based book that really matters. Moore's photographs are at once beautiful, haunting, and shocking. They lucidly document the unbearable destruction of a great landmark. This beautifully designed and conceptualized book serves as a stunning cautionary-tale, told in photographs and words. Why do we accept the destruction of our own history? How could such a thing have happened in a progressive city like New York? In the august pages of this book lie the answers to these questions and more. Peter Moore has documented an American tragedy. His wife, Barbara Moore--a important historian and archivist in her own right--has contextualized these images in new and surprising ways. The fine essays give even greater intellectual and emotional depth to the book. A significant work that deserves many readers.
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