“Deeply Hopeful”…

On January 1, 2021, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo pointed with pride to the “achievement of delivering a major infrastructure project on time despite a pandemic”. The State of New York and its most populated City could transcend the Covid-29 virus within the walls of a new Hall and entertain “deeply hopeful perceptions or attitudes for the immediate future. As Governor Cuomo officially “opened the new Moynihan Train Hall” to those commuters and passengers arriving or leaving Penn Station, the Governor was thrilled to exclaim”


It speaks to the brighter days ahead when we will be able to congregate, to pass one another and to share the same space free of fear. It promises renewal and rebirth of civic life in New York, and points to the opportunity ahead.”

What are your thoughts on the creative impulse to supersede the Covid-19 virus and push it out of the proverbial way as Artists, Architects, Urban Planners, and Designers can deliver on a massive infrastructural project that will make people appreciate their arrival? Artists, Architects, Urban Planners and Designers came together during the end of the 20th century and early beginnings of the 21st century to repurpose Penn Station into a true destination of choice!

33rd Street Entrance to Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, 2021

Published by: roberttracyphd

Academic professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I teach theory courses in Art and Architecture History. In addition, I also curate exhibitions on campus as well as in other venues nationally and internationally.

22 Comments

22 thoughts on ““Deeply Hopeful”…”

  1. Absolutely deeply Hopeful …
    I think this opening and this hall will be historically associated with this feeling. I think the opening has come at the perfect time, it brings light, movement, and … hope. A trip can be associated with a new life, a beginning, and it is easy to associate it with the moment, early 2021, let’s start a new stage leaving behind difficult and bad moments, and like the Moynihan Train Hall, let’s bathe in the light and head on to our new destination.
    The power of design is enormous, and this case is a good example. How design convinces and seduces consumers is a known fact, but sometimes that power comes with a responsibility, which the designer, architect, or planner must assume and be responsible for, and in the case of this construction, the designers, planners, and Workers have faced their responsibility and I even believe that I am not mistaken if I say that they have taken a risk to be able to have the construction on time in the middle of the pandemic and bring it in when it was necessary. An example of professionalism and commitment to the community

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  2. I think that building the new Moynihan Train hall is a monumental achievement for New York. Amid the covid-19 pandemic, people everywhere are having trouble finding motivation or drive to push the envelope. It could be the stay-at-home orders that’s causing seasonal depression and draining all of our energy. But that’s what makes this achievement even more impressive. In a city as busy as New York, it’s great that city officials took advantage of the quieter streets to increase their citizens’ morale after this pandemic.

    I also want to point out that a majority of cities and even businesses delay upcoming changes or construction because of covid-19. I’m not discounting their reasoning because it’s perfectly rational. However, it’s just great to hear that New York city officials push through the hardships, hopefully with social distancing and masks, to create something so integral to the city. The subway is the heart of the city, so building something for Penn Station will be appreciated by most of their citizens.

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  3. The project to create the Moynihan Train Hall involved decades worth of planning and was on a specific timeline. With big corporations like Facebook and Google moving into the building I’m sure there was a lot of money on the line that this project got completed on time so investors don’t lose more money. It has me thinking about Resorts World on the Strip or the Convention Center expansion here in Vegas, they continued working on the project with the expectation that the virus would pass and the space would get used sooner than waiting for the virus to pass and then pick back up construction. Additionally, I think people are yearning for something like this once people are able to go back out into public safely and for large, bright spaces where people feel a renewed sense of hope for the future.

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  4. Massive public projects like the Moynihan Train Hall in Penn Station have the potential to affect actual psychological benefit in commuters or passengers that use the building on a regular basis. Logistically, the Covid-19 pandemic is probably the absolute best time to approach a massive building renovation in one of the busiest travel hubs in the world. Penn Station used to have 650,000 riders pass through it every week day, which is 3 times the amount it was designed to be able to accommodate. It was commonly referred to as dark and unwelcoming, and those who traveled through it felt that the city of New York could definitely be better-represented through an updated vision for the transport hub.
    Governor of New York Andrew M. Cuomo recently brought in some private capital from The Related Companies and Vornado Reality to the tune of $630 million in order to supplement the $970 million that came from public sources. This private capital came with a 99-year lease on the Farley building that the expanded Moynihan Train Hall is now inhabiting, and the interest of other large corporations like Google, Amazon, and Apple in the real-estate of the area foretells a tale of increasing rents and further gentrification. While the bright, glass skylights overhead and the wider platform-area for boarding could have the benefit of helping commuters and passengers feel a little less beaten down by the drudgery of the former dismal rathole that Penn Station was, the gentrification of the surrounding area can have the negative effect of making the space safe for only white, upper class people. Gentrification turns public spaces into zones of danger for people of color, who are seen as potential criminals or threats to public safety in predominately-white areas (which tend to center around tech firms). In situations where large investors stand to benefit greatly from investing in civic building ventures, the benefit to the public seems secondary or more of an afterthought than it is advertised to be.

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  5. The uncertainty of the virus is crucial but from an artistic stand point proceeding to go ahead with a big project like the Penn Station is the perfect time. Not only because there is no one getting in the way, but it will better the workers in way making sure they do not get distracted from tons of people surrounding them. Another reason I believe by having the Penn Station completed with new and improved areas it is only going benefit for the future because trains might become the new trend of traveling. Plus, having a project like this be done and over with will be great once everything is back to normal since it gives people that use train stations something to look forward to as if it was a new toy or clothes for them. All in all, I believe big projects like the Penn Station during uncertain times like now should be worked on and try to keep moving forward everyday.

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  6. Lizbeth Ramirez | Art 434

    I’m happy to hear that despite the current situation, New York was able to keep people working (hopefully with proper safety protocols) and accommplish their project. During the current pandemic, I would believe that not just I, but many people put their life on a pause. I held back on many of my projects due to the situation, but life keeps going. Things still need to get done, so I think that this massive infrastructural project helps remind us that despite the circumstances, we need to keep moving forward. So yes I agree that it brings hope because it’s a new start that came out of a rough time. Something meant to better the life of the workers but also those visiting the station. Also the fact that it was on January 1, really shows how it’s a new beginning not just for those in New York, but for all of us watching the big accomplishment.

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  7. I believe that this creative impulse to supersede the Covid-19 virus to push it out the proverbial for artists to deliver an infrastructural project is a perfect time to do so during these times. This pandemic has made so many people suffer and even more to come unfortunately, and it is slightly out of anyone’s control. Especially being quarantined, there have been so many people struggling physically, but mostly mentally. Having a refresher into a new area to open up and feel a sense of hope is what we all need. Even if it’s a little shine of hope, it can go a long way to bring spirits up. Especially creating it in the Moynihan Train Hall, stepping out can give any person a sense of relief to be able to admire the infrastructure these amazing artists and architects will create. With a populated area like New York, it’s the perfect spot even for travelers to come and look at.

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  8. Although I am certainly cautious to say this with everything happening outside, in a perspective of an art student, yes, I am deeply hopeful to see massive projects have come through despite the pandemic. I believe that it has a positive effect not only in the world of art, but socially as it enhance people mentally also as I believe that this pandemic has threaten everyone in there social environmnet. I respect to the project as I believe that that the project can give people relief and hope for the future as well as bringing possibilties to over come the pandemic all together, definitely free of fear.

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  9. Although I am certainly cautious to say this with everything happening outside, yes, I am deeply hopeful to see massive projects have come through despite the pandemic. I believe that it has a positive effect not only in the world of art, but socially as it enhance people mentally also as I believe that this pandemic has threaten everyone in there social environmnet. I respect to the project as I believe that that the project can give people relief and hope for the future as well as bringing possibilties to over come the pandemic all together, definitely free of fear.

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  10. During times like these especially, to put up an installation that they knew people would appreciate shows that the designers and architects responsible show that they really care about the community. In New York City, taking the trains and subways are a routine for most of the people living there. Even in neighboring states of New York, such as New Jersey or Connecticut, many people would take the subway or trains there and go to New York where they may work, so this installation is not just for the local citizens either. Another benefit of this installation can serve as an inspiration for other designers and architects to keep creating and not let the pandemic slow down their creations or ideas. It is very admirable to have a public installation for the hundreds of people that go in and out of the station.

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  11. I personally believe that opening the Moynihan Train Hall to the public has a great emotional impact on New York as a whole, hopefully lifting up the spirits of those who feel stuck where they are currently due to the effects of Covid-19. Although the virus is unfortunately uncertain in how it will continue to affect us, one thing the people of New York have shown is that communities can unite together to create a piece of art that leaves a big impact with major future benefits. Moreover, art is so powerful in the way it can develop connections to those who interact with it, so having this advanced piece of architecture has not only allowed for creative exploration, but also brought an opportunity to construct a station that will contribute to many future memories that people who take their commutes will be able to hold on to in a time where travel will be able to be encouraged and appreciated.

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  12. In times of diminished hopes, the delivery of the Moynihan Train Hall has sparked a brighter horizon. Figuratively and literally, the Architects have indeed envisioned a space that speaks to the fast paced environment. They have revived a spirit that is unmatched by todays current situations. New York City has long championed many feats, and has proven once again, that it has the ability to learn and grow. It is a great start in the right direction, an understanding of the past and the evolution towards a renewed future. I think the project is timely, as it recognizes ease of access, way-finding and brings to the forefront the idea of social distancing. Though we hope this is not always the case, it provides the public with s sense of safety, to once again re-engage with these means of transportation. The Artists, Architects, Urban Planners and Designers have pulled this project together quite well. Lighting was well addressed, and thus has gone through careful planning, to achieve an uplifting arrival. It will leave a lasting impression of the city, and offers a glimpse of projects post pandemic.

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  13. I believe the construction of the Moynihan Train Hall is a wonderful and hopeful thing. For starters, the fact that it was completed amidst the pandemic is a clear sign that we can come together to overcome any obstacle that may come our way. It stands as proof of perseverance. Secondly, its existence is a reminder to us now of what life used to be. Especially in New York, public transportation is used daily in extraordinary amounts. What was once a daily occurrence is now something that feels so forever in the past, and remembering these things can be upsetting. However, this Hall only makes us all the more excited to return to life as it was. Now that we’ve been away from it all for a year now, we have come to realize just what we have lost, and it is when you lose something that you come to realize just how much you appreciated it.

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  14. Hopeful indeed. Not just amazing how such a ambitious project was successfully finished amid the pandemic, but what it means for the massive amount of people who uses the premises. I bet something new like the Moynihan Train Hall brings a brighter point of view for the locals and take them out (at least a bit) of the routine they must be consumed in. I can only put myself in their shoes and that’s how I would feel.
    The accomplishment of this project should serve as example for other projects to overcome the challenges today’s world present them, within the safety measures, of course.

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  15. I definitely think that it helps to give people hope that, even in an epidemic like Covid-19, people are still working on projects. As long as all precautions are taken, I respect that artists, architects, urban planners, and designers are able to come together and develop something like this. In a time where people are suffering and can fall into a negative spiral, it shows that people are pushing on. It shows that things will get better which is something people might forget after being in this situation for so long. The fact that this is also in a public space has a positive effect on people’s mentality and gives hope as it is something everyone can see and experience for themselves.

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  16. The creative impulse to supersede the devastation brought on by COVID-19 is a direct reflection on the resilience of New Yorkers. Moynihan Train Hall is a much-needed addition to NYC’s Penn Station largely impart – in my opinion – because the previous one lacked natural light. Considering that we now have a better understanding on the health benefits brought on by natural light, it adds that much needed benefit. In addition to the natural light, it has a collection of art from various artists as in, Kehinde Wiley, Stan Douglas, and Elmgreen & Dragset which add visual flavor to the space. I like to think that art elevates a city’s status in the likes of spices to food. Artist, architects, urban planners, and designers add a very important piece to the puzzle we call society.

    The timing of construction during the pandemic was not ideal but nobody could have guessed events would have occurred this way. We cannot be completely certain what would have happened if Governor Cuomo had halted the construction of Moynihan Train Hall. Maybe it would have increased the financial burden of the local community maybe not, however we can see now that it is a new spatial experience added onto the map of NYC. I commend Governor Cuomo for completing the project. Every decision made by those in charge is not always the most popular one.

    All of us can create things but to truly create things that elevate the senses require great skill which is displayed in the Moynihan Train Hall.

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  17. The creative impulse to supersede Covid-19 through repurposing Penn Station is one of many examples of how Artists, Architects, Designers, and others can create inspirational and hopeful works to influence many. New York City always has many travelers, and it is no surprise that there are many construction projects still occurring although they are hindered by the virus. Covid-19 has changed many social, professional, and political structures leaving behind a year that will be remembered. Although artistic projects were limited due to safety precautions of the virus many artists still continued to make work representing the hardships Covid-19 through graffiti, paintings, and other art. However, there have not been many structures built to inspire for a future after the virus ends. Despite the circumstances, New York was able to pull off this new architectural accomplishment that would be a spectacle for all visitors and a reminder that we can push through this together as a group even with the safety precautions.

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  18. While the revamping of the Penn Station and the Moynihan Train Hall is due to New York’s demand for train transportation, this pushed artists, architects, and designers to use this outlet to inspire hope in their city. It is a more impactful message because New York had the highest COVID-10 positivity rate. This also shows that with proper security and safety measures, you can still offer construction employment and new space for the staple fast-paced environment. From an artistic perspective, this accomplishment brings a glimpse of a life in the post-pandemic world.

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  19. Unlike most of my peers, I’m very unsure of my feelings about Moynihan Train Hall. On the one hand, it’s a needed improvement to Penn Station. On the other, New York was heavily affected by Covid-19. The money that went towards building Moynihan Train Hall could have been put towards more important protections, like sanitization and public health. Artistic projects are important, but our lives should always be put before the art. Covid has seriously impacted my family and friends who are essential workers, and seeing new structures for a post Covid world feels like an insult. How can we have a post Covid world if we’re not taking care of the pandemic now? Sure, Moynihan Train Hall is beautiful and will significantly improve life after the pandemic. But I just feel that there are more important things for the city to put money towards. Art is important, but so are human lives.

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  20. If I’m being honest, when I got my first glance at this topic for the week I had quite a negative attitude about how this project was pushed to continue during the pandemic. My initial thoughts were “why did the governor care more about finishing this building on time than the own health and wellbeing of the artists, designer, contractors, and other team members working on it?” and “why would they push for an opening of such a big building in the midst of a pandemic, when there are so many other things to be worried about in New York?”

    However, after reading through the lecture slides, watching the videos, and seeing the actual precautions that were in place during the opening, I think my mind has been eased a bit. While I still think that, in retrospect, this project could have been paused just to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those working on it, I also can see how this project does bring out a sense of “deep hopefulness”.

    As a design student, I’ve heard many times in the past year from various professors that those in the art/creative field are going to take a big hit from this pandemic, as many companies often cut the arts first when faced with budgeting issues. It’s been scary to hear, and I definitely have felt a looming sense of doom when I think about graduating and trying to find a job in a (hopefully) post-pandemic world. However, seeing projects like this definitely makes me hopeful.

    Here, we see a project that has allowed the collaboration and triumph of many different creatives – from architects, to artists, to interior designers – during an incredible historic and traumatic time for the world. I’m sure that these artists have also been hearing the same things: that art is dying and will die because of the pandemic. However, here we see the complete opposite. We see these artists overcoming their odds and bringing in a sense of hope, liveliness, and prospect of the future during a time where it seems our world is heading towards anything but. I think that’s incredibly inspiring to see, because it helps me see that art will always have some sort of purpose, even though it may not be the same as working on the frontlines. Like other peers have mentioned, I think that this building will always be seen as just that – a glimmer of hope and overcoming, and it’s all thanks to those artists who pulled through with their work despite the challenges.

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  21. I really love the idea of bringing hope to major infrastructure projects such as the Moynihan Train Hall. During this pandemic, many peoples’ mental health was affected by quarantine and isolation, and so giving them something to look forward to makes life a little easier for everyone. Also, I think it’s a good strategy to help people continue to stay within CDC guidelines since many are losing hope and motivation to social distance. As long as they are building the projects safely, it’s beneficial to the public to keep creating these infrastructure projects.

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  22. Although Covid-19 is still very much real, I think that the revamping of Penn Station and the new Moynihan Train Hall is a very hopeful event for the people of New York City. During this incredibly traumatic and historical time in our lives has yet to be over, many have people have long lost their sense of hope because of the number of casualties that have affected the state of New York this past year due to Covid-19 is insurmountable. What the completion of this project states and represents is that although the virus has shutdown most of the United States for the past year, life must keep going on and that there is still hope that can be grasped upon. Many people have said that the art and creative fields would take the greatest hit when the pandemic was first starting out because companies often let go of their art teams first, so this not only make the people of New York City hopeful, but I think can make artists all over the nation have hope too. Art can express its emotions for the audience, and I think by having these artists show their creative side for the people of New York City, people’s hope for a brighter future can still be remained intact.

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