Sunday, October 10, 2010

Photo Essay: James Farley Post Office / Future Moynihan Station

I've participated in so many annual Open House New York events now that when I start planning my schedule, I usually go straight for the newest or most exclusive site tours.

This year at the top of my list was a tour of the future site of Moynihan Station, the extension of the current Penn Station underground across 8th Avenue and up into the big Farley Post Office, whose main building and annex are currently 90% abandoned, save for the front lobby.

This year's event marked the first time that those areas of the Farley building had been open to the public in 80 years, the federal postal goings-on having been highly protected under tight security until they ceased operations recently.

Although much of the debris and relics from postal work (including a police station) have been cleared out, there were still plenty of throwback signs from seemingly every decade of the 20th century scattered throughout the sorting room, future concourse, and offices.

Everything seemed unplugged...

...but there were still small signs of human activity, maybe the security staff, maybe maintenance/janitorial, maybe the planners for the new site...

...and whoever cleaned, managed to not clean everything.

The development project doesn't have nearly enough funding yet so even Phase One - extending the Amtrak train tracks under Eighth Avenue - seems like it's a long way off. But this weekend's tour definitely felt like my last (and probably only) chance to ever see this great landmarked building in its current, vacant iteration, without a fresh coat of paint.

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