Superb A first rate narrative The Wall Street Journal about the controversial construction of New Yorks beloved original Penn Station and its tunnels, from the author ofEiffel s Tower andUrban Forests As bestselling books like Ron Chernow s Titan and David McCullough s The Great Bridge affirm, readers are fascinated with the grand personalities and schemes that populated New York at the close of the nineteenth century Conquering Gotham re creates the riveting struggle waged by the great Pennsylvania Railroad to build Penn Station and the monumental system of tunnels that would connect water bound Manhattan to the rest of the continent by rail Historian Jill Jonnes tells a ravishing tale of snarling plutocrats, engineering feats, and backroom politicking packed with the most colorful figures of Gilded Age New York Conquering Gotham will be featured in an upcoming episdoe of PBS s American Experience....
|Title||:||Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels|
|Publisher||:||Penguin Books Reprint edition March 25, 2008|
|Number of Pages||:||384 pages|
|File Size||:||683 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels Reviews
There is so much more that could have been included. This dwells more on the problems that Alexander Cassatt, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, had with NYC politicos and their vested interests. It is too bad that this history of Penn Station stops short of the 21st century. It is too bad that CG does not go into how the Hudson River tubes evolved into predominantly providing commuter access for NJTransit into the now rat-like Penn Station that resulted from demo. Too bad that CG does not discuss the cornball scheme that would have resulted in a separate station to serve NJTransit known as the "tunnel to Macy's basement". Too bad that the author does not go into the probability that one or both tubes may be lost due to overuse, deferred maintenance and damage resulting from the Hurricane Sandy flooding. That circumstance was the result of a fiscal decision, wherein an additional two tubes under the Hudson, had they been constructed, would have greatly eased the nightmare that must now be faced...unless we get lucky and two new tunnels SERVING EXISTING PENN STATION can be constructed before the existing ones crumble. What was once a magnificent landmark was knocked down and replaced with an architectural monstrosity we know as the current Madison Square Garden. The difficulties of constructing all six tubes (which should have been eight) is described well.
Making my first visit to New York and arriving via Amtrak, I was fascinated by Penn Station. Knowing what is there now is not what was there when (and loving the visit to NYC), I decided I needed to learn more about it.
I have read all of Jill's books and have not once been disappointed. I was a little leery about Conquering Gotham but it turned out to be a great story.
For a building I never saw, the old Penn Station is much on my mind, particularly when I see buildings in Charlotte imitate one or another aspect of the great station. But nobody is as audacious as architect Charles McKim was, nor as pioneering as the Pennsylvania Railroad executives who pressed to dig a tunnel under the river to bring passengers directly to Manhattan without having to take a ferry from New Jersey. What an achievement! It is a tragedy that we don't have McKim's massive monument to celebrate it with.
This book is interesting but ultimately disappointing. The title and description do a magnificent job overselling the book as a cutaway look inside an urban landmark. Rather than a treasure trove of unknown details and secrets of a subway and train terminal that millions of people use on a daily basis, it is dry narrative of the men who constructed it.
The history of the building of the PRR tunnels into Manhattan and the creation of the station fascinatingly told through the details of all the principals involved. The pictures and the story are just reminders of what was lost when Penn Station was torn down and replaced with the world's worst train station. Very, very good book though and a great reminder of how important landmark preservation is.
Clear, cogent yet lively prose moves the reader along through an important story with significant contemporary import. Ms. Jonnes is a marvelous writer. On to the Eiffel Tower.
Very thorough history of how the idea and the implementation of the great endeavor to bring the Pennsylvania Railroad into Manhattan came about. Lots of background of the key players and the difficulties of construction. The history was helpful in the planning for a proposed new set of tunnels that I worked as Project Executive on before the project was cancelled by the NJ governor.