Penn Station will become even more hectic than usual when work on the new, highly-touted entrance kicks off later this month.
Six ticket windows will close, four ticket machines will be moved and the departures information board above the ticketing offices will be removed to facilitate the construction of a new entrance that will provide a direct link from Penn Station's Long Island Rail Road concourse to the street, MTA officials said. Construction is set to begin on Monday, June 17, transit officials announced this week.
The Long Island Rail Road is advising customers to purchase tickets on its mobile app because the removal of ticket booths and machines may create longer lines. Commuters will still be able to access Penn Station on Seventh Avenue during construction.
The new entrance, located on Seventh Avenue and West 33rd Street, is expected to be complete by December 2020. In addition to providing direct access to the Long Island Rail Road, the project will result in a more spacious LIRR concourse, state officials said. The concourse will be widened from 30 feet to 57 feet and ceiling heights will be raised to 18 feet, which should make the area feel less cramped.
"LIRR customers not only deserve reliable train service, they deserve train stations that feel comfortable, spacious, and meet their modern needs," LIRR President Phil Eng said in a statement. "This new entrance, coupled with the Moynihan Train Hall, will undoubtedly help transform the customer experience at Penn Station, which is long overdue. We thank our customers for their patience and adaptability as this important work gets underway.”
Officials estimate the project will cost $600 million, with $170 million in funding coming from the 2015-19 MTA capital plan and the rest coming directly from the state.
The new entrance is part of a plan to completely overhaul Penn Station. That plan also includes the construction of the new Moynihan Train Hall in the James A. Farley post office building between Eighth and Ninth avenues. The trail hall will provide access to Penn Station from Ninth Avenue for the first time. The new transit facility is also expected to open in December 2020.
Work to transform the James A. Farley post office building into the Moynihan Train Hall began in August 2017. The project is expected to cost $1.6 billion and is being funded by "$550 million from the State, $420 million from Amtrak, the MTA, the Port Authority and a federal grant, and $630 million from the joint venture developers," according to a state press release.