Remembering the Demolition of Penn Station 60 Years Later — What Have We Learned?

Jane Jacobs (second from left) protesting in front of Penn Station

This month was the 60th anniversary of the protests against the planned demolition of Pennsylvania Station, led by preservationists, planners, and concerned New Yorkers of all stripes like Village Preservation Board of Advisors member Jane Jacobs. While Jane and other foresighted citizens were ultimately unsuccessful in saving the monumental station from destruction, their protests and the demolition led to a paradigm shift in the thinking about preservation and how to “save” cities, and helped finally lead to the adoption of the NYC Landmarks Law in 1965.

Village Preservation works every day to ensure we remember those lessons from the past, and don’t make the same tragic mistakes we did before. With ever-louder calls to scale back preservation and even new plans for massive redevelopment around the current Penn Station, this is a constant battle.

But in addition to our ongoing advocacy work of campaigns for landmark and zoning protections, Village Preservation keeps the memory of these critical preservation battles alive — so everyone can understand how we got here, how we fought to save what we have, and what we tragically lost. 

Photos of buildings that have been demolished, from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive
Demolished buildings from the Village Preservation Historic Image Archive
August 9, 2022