Hotel Pennsylvania, the luxury hotel that was built opposite the Pennsylvania Station has been taken over by Vornado Realty Trust who plan to tear it down to make way for a 67 storey building. The station was built in 1910 and was demolished in 1960. The property on which the hotel stands lay fallow till 1919 till the railroad and Ellsworth Statler built the largest hotel in the world with 2,200 rooms, on the east side of Seventh from 32nd to 33rd. The railroad had put a restriction in place when the hotel was still in the planning stage in 1916. They had disallowed any construction to take place on the 15foot strip of land fronting on Seventh Avenue.
The restriction was originally meant for only 21 years but has continued over the years and the designs for the new building that has been developed by Vornado Realty Trust also respects the setback and has not made any effort to recover the lost space. It seems the 15 foot gap on Seventh Avenue left vacant for the rail road station will remain though the station was demolished way back in 1960. The 15-foot recess is hard to see amid the jumbled skyline around Penn Station and a holistic view should be taken of the matter as more and more new development takes place.
If you scout Pennsylvania Station, on the west side of Seventh Avenue from 31st to 33rd Street, you might still find old handrails, stairways, columns and other elements. Unlike the New York Central Railroad the Pennsylvania Railroad did not plan on going into the real estate business. The railroad did splurge on the two block fronts on the east side of Seventh Avenue, from 31st to 33rd, facing the nominal entrance to the station itself. It was supposed to be an expression of the ideals and enthusiasm of the great railway system. But the Hotel Pennsylvania is not much more than a big box and what was created as an ideal of the railroad has become disposable and will make way for a modern structure.