|Left, McKim Mead and White’s 1910 Power House for Penn Station,
Right, McKim Mead and White’s 1904 Power House for the IRT Subway
With the IRT Powerhouse still waiting for its landmark status since first being heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1979, then again in 1990, and once more in 2009 before the LPC’s attempted de-calendar in 2014, our readers are well familiar with the building’s McKim Mead and White linage and overall significance. Built in 1904, it was intended to power the IRT line, and once again will have its “day in court” when the LPC hears it amidst a batch of other structures on November 5, 2015. (If you are interested in testifying they ask that you submit content by October 29th).
After critical success with this new typology, the triumvirate were commissioned by the Penn Central Rail Road for their equivalent facility further south. Still standing on 31st Street, the 1910 pink granite structure, a grand, but pared-down version of is terminal head-house still stands, in use, in the shadow of Charles Luckman’s Madison Square Garden. Profiled in Gothamist
today, the public gets a sneak peek behind the long-neglected facade.
As with the 59th Street Power House, this building had skyline-defining stacks and served a utilitarian function. And as with the 59th Street Power House, which the New York State Historic Preservation Office deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, this structure is also National Register Eligible, and it isn’t yet a NYC Landmark either, meaning it can be altered without public oversight at any time.