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MTA Unveils Major Accessibility and Circulation Improvements at 34 St-Penn Station

New York City Transit
Updated January 26, 2023 7:30 p.m.
MTA Unveils Major Accessibility and Circulation Improvements at 34 St-Penn Station

New Entrance at 7 Av and 33 St Features Stairs and Elevator Serving Subway and LIRR, with Artwork by Diana Al-Hadid   

Project includes Modernization of Additional Elevators and Stairs Serving NYC Transit and LIRR Customers 

See Photos of the New Elevators and Artwork 

See Video of Today’s News Conference 


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today unveiled a set of major station and accessibility improvements at Penn Station, part of its long-running effort to create a more accessible and comfortable station experience for the hundreds of thousands of daily Penn Station customers. The project’s new, fully accessible street entrance and fare control area at 7 Av and 33 St increases accessibility and reliability for all subway customers. The MTA also recently completed the full modernization of four existing elevators, three of which serve the subways and one of which serves the Long Island Rail Road at 34 St-Penn Station. The project, which was completed on time and under budget, will significantly improve elevator reliability, provide redundant options for customers who need elevators, and create a more seamless travel experience for Long Island Rail Road and subway riders.    

The new elevators features an Emergency Elevator Two-Way Communications System that facilitates better communication in case of emergency between rescue workers and all passengers, including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or have speech disabilities. The new Fare Control Area provides customers with better access to subway service from 7 Av and 33 St and features information screens which will display service alerts and customer communications. The project also includes the replacement or repair of five platform stairs serving LIRR customers, and improvements to station circulation, lighting and wayfinding.  

“Accessibility is such an integral part of mass transit, and these improvements will increase reliability for thousands of riders,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to inclusive public transit and expanding accessibility throughout the region.” 

"Thousands of customers will benefit from these new and modernized elevators, which create redundant accessible options to get in and out of Penn Station and provide accessibility between the subways and Long Island Rail Road,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo.  “Riders with disabilities, caregivers with strollers, visitors with luggage, and many others rely on elevators, and need an accessible option at all times, especially at our busiest stations. This work reinforces our commitment to achieving a fully accessible system."     

“MTA Construction and Development is laser focused on delivering this capital plan’s unprecedented investments in accessibility and ensuring we’re doing it better, faster, and cheaper,” said MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “New technologically advanced elevators, coupled with dramatic improvements to the station’s entrance, mark significant progress toward Penn Station’s transformation into a welcoming and accessible transit hub for all New Yorkers.”  [ 

The MTA is deploying every innovative tool at its disposal in creative ways to achieve accessibility improvements. Since 2020, 16 subway stations have been made accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the MTA’s historic 2020-2024 Capital Plan includes $5.2 billion to make additional stations accessible. More information on those stations can be found here. In June 2022, the MTA committed to bringing ADA-accessibility to at least 95% of subway stations by 2055. In addition, the MTA partnered with the City of New York on Zoning for Accessibility in 2021, which created a framework for developers to make accessibility upgrades to stations without requiring MTA capital dollars. Four stations are already slated for upgrades through this program. 

The new, fully accessible entrance features artwork by Diana Al-Hadid, The Time Telling, inspired by Alfred Eisenstadt’s iconic photograph of the famed clock that hung at the entrance of the original Pennsylvania Station, Al-Hadid captures its prominence through her expressive gestural mark making. The glass mosaic stands at an impressive 14’-9” high by 14’-1” wide.    

The large-scale work features a scene viewed from above. Light pours through the windows, forming a veil of mist or fog. Below, commuters rush across the station floor. The rising architecture draws in the viewer, but it is the clock at the center that looms large. Its power is clear even though the precise moment is obscured. The artwork connects the past and present of this important station and offers a space for today’s riders and those of an earlier era to briefly meet in passing. 

“In recent years, Diana Al-Hadid has created multiple timepieces. In this new mosaic she references one forever connected with the memory of the original Pennsylvania Station,” said MTA Arts & Design Director Sandra Bloodworth, “Al-Hadid’s work blurs the boundaries between figuration and abstraction, creating a scene that feels drawn from our collective memories of this historic space, real or imagined. The line work is fluid, not fixed. It invites viewers to travel into a moment in time.”