The massive Farley Post Office in Manhattan now serves an additional purpose: The underground level provides increased access to overcrowded Pennsylvania Station.
This station, commonly known as Penn, serves the Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Eighth Avenue subway lines. It’s known as the uglier of the two major commuter stations here in New York. I used that station for years and can assure you, it’s squalid.
A new entrance and beautiful, well-lit passageway opened last year in the shadow of the majestic columns of the James A. Farley Post Office. As you ride the escalator down from street level, various screens show New York State tourist destinations. (Because, why would they share images of the suburban bedroom communities that most of these train riders are heading to?)
My favorite part of the renovation,(repurpose?) is what seems like a sculpture of “Dashing Dan,” once the symbol of the Long Island Rail Road. This rendering of the man rushing to make a train appeared in the 1950s. The next decade brought “Dashing Dottie,” stylishly dressed but also running for a train. I don’t know how women did this in heels! Modern or midcentury, Dashing Dottie and Dan epitomized the typical workers’ harried evenings. Here is how the Long Island Rail Road described their characters: