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.

Nov. 27, 2013, 8:11 a.m.

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.


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