Our Art / Berenice Abbott / Penn Station, Interior, Manhattan

Penn Station, Interior, Manhattan by Berenice Abbott

Penn Station, Interior, Manhattan, 1935

Berenice Abbott

Pedestrians milling around waiting for their trains are transformed into a gracefully choreographed ballet in this poetic image: the main company crowding through the doors, at right, the soloists performing intricate duets and gesticulating solos, at left. A filigree of iron latticework soars above the scene, shot through with light from the glass windows and roof. The soft light of the image creates a sense of dreamlike mystery; an ordinary moment plucked out of time and slowed down to reveal its most intricate inner workings. The original Penn Station was built in 1910 and featured an ornate marble and granite station house and train shed inspired by the Gare d'Orsay in Paris.

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