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New York’s Penn Station Commuters Looked Just as Miserable in the 1940s as They Do This Week New York’s Penn Station Commuters Looked Just as Miserable in the 19...

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Tech

New York’s Penn Station Commuters Looked Just as Miserable in the 1940s as They Do This Week

Hundreds of thousands of rushing travelers are flooding the train hub, which turns 93 on Wednesday.

photo of Marina Koren
November 27, 2013

On this day in 1910, New York's Pennsylvania Station opened its doors for the first time. And on this day, hundreds of thousands of Americans will be pushing through them, suitcases trailing behind, and rushing to catch their trains home for Thanksgiving. The crowds will likely exceed 650,000, the number of people who pass through the 93-year-old station every day¡—more than Newark, LaGuardia, and JFK airports combined. At this writing, every train out of Penn Station is delayed.

Not exactly the birthday party the famed transportation hub was expecting. But travelers are Penn Station's lifeblood, and there have been many in its history. When you sprint down the escalators to your gate or squint at the flickering timetable this week, take a second to think of the millions of anxious footsteps that came through the concourse before yours. Here are some visual reminders, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

And, once you board your train, keep your eyes peeled for government officials chatting about nonholiday topics.

Women waiting for their trains.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

A waiting area by the telephones.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

Members of the military take a break and rest on their suitcases.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

 

A family with surprisingly patient children.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

The station's concourse from the southeast on April 24, 1962.(Cervin Robinson/Library of Congress)

A baby in the middle of Penn Station.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

 

Crowd gathered around exit at Pennsylvania Station awaiting the arrival of Billy Sunday, a famous baseball-player-turned-evangelist.(Library of Congress)

Riders and a dog wait for their trains, 1942.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

The concourse from the south on April 24, 1962.(Cervin Robinson/Library of Congress)

 

Station crowds,1942.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

Riders waiting for their trains, 1942.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

People descend the stairs to their gates, 1942.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

 

A group of women in hats await their train.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

Adults and children alike pack onto escalators.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

The station's information kiosk.(Marjory Collins/Library of Congress)

 
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