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PHOTOS: MTA Unveils First Section of New 18-Foot Ceilings at Penn Station’s LIRR Concourse

Updated August 2, 2022 1:45 p.m.
New ceiling unveiled at Penn Station

New Ceiling a Significant Milestone in the Transformation of Penn Station

Spacious New LIRR Concourse to Be Substantially Completed by March 2023

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today unveiled the first section of the grand new ceiling at Penn Station’s Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Concourse. The ceiling height has been raised to 18 feet. It is supported by an innovative structural framing system, installed by Skanska/AECOM, that allowed for the successful removal of the low-hanging 6’8” beams informally known as ‘Head Knockers’ earlier this year. 

Project crews are increasing the ceiling height to 18 feet across the entire LIRR Concourse and doubling its width from 30 feet to 57 feet. Crews are improving lighting, including the installation of a new luminous ceiling, improved air flow, modern finishes, more intuitive wayfinding, and enhanced accessibility at the station. A major section of the completed 33rd Street Corridor will be open to the public this fall, with the LIRR Concourse substantially completed by March 2023. This first section of new ceilings is just the start of a gradual reveal over the next few months, which will allow for customers to take advantage of the new space prior to substantial completion. 

“The moment LIRR customers have been waiting decades for is coming closer," said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “During the pandemic, we started the process of fixing Penn by opening the major new entrance at 33rd Street and Moynihan Train Hall. Now, customers are getting a glimpse of what, when finished, will be a completely transformed and expanded LIRR Concourse at Penn Station.” 

“The unveiling of new, higher ceilings in the LIRR Concourse is both a milestone and a sign of things to come at Penn Station,” said MTA Construction and Development President Jaime Torres-Springer. “As this project nears on-time completion, these new ceilings are just a preview of the substantial enhancements Penn Station riders will experience starting this fall.” 

“Today is a significant day in the transformation of Penn Station’s LIRR Concourse,” said LIRR Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “With new, elevated ceilings, LIRR customers can look forward to a more comfortable station experience.” 

The existing renovations will be incorporated into a total transformation of Penn Station announced by Governor Kathy Hochul in June. Crews will replace the existing facility with a single-level, world-class, modern, spacious, light-filled station that is easy to navigate.