Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chicago Subterranian Warren Station

Unlike New York City, which demolished its spectacular Penn Station in the early 1960s and replaced it with a forgettable rat's maze of dimly lit underground passages, Chicago still retains a grand central rail terminal:

Chicago Union Station

My question, then, is: why aren't they using it?

I mean, okay, maybe I don't pass through during peak hours, and maybe it's jammed then. But the times I have been through -- early evening, generally -- are still pretty busy times, but there ain't a soul hanging out in this place. Instead, passengers must wait in the uninspiring confines of a network of bland hallways that doesn't have much on the awful Penn Station that replaced the original.

Maybe it's the complete and utter lack of seating? Why aren't there benches and boarding signage, so you can wait in a place that's digified? Why wasn't the station configured to use this magnificent space as the main entrance and exit, instead of a side door that only a few people come across by chance?

(The answer, of course, is that the original concourse -- a spacious, airy, light-filled place -- was demolished in 1969 so some awful office towers could be built on its site. This was sold to the public as "modernizing" the station.)

No comments: