This is like a sad, parallel history about where we once were that circles back around to the present and how we arrived here. We need not separate the aesthetic from the practical as they once were wed, an example that easy to see at this site showing 11 beautiful train stations that fell to the wrecking ball.
Having just passed through the current iteration of Penn Station, this image brings a shutter. You want to turn away at what we’ve done here, as well as the other stations shown in Then and Now comparisons. It is hard to escape the depths of just how badly we have screwed up our transportation system in the race to make way for the automobile and not see it as a metaphor for the harm we’ve done to our other systems, from agriculture to any other kind of culture. And the whole thing was so short lived! And now we struggle to reconnect or ‘reconnect’, as we have come to refer to ideas which have become puzzling and esoteric.
That the old Penn Station is as glorious as the Gare St. Lazare or any of the other beautiful examples of practical architecture around the world should be a cautionary note about all we have chosen to systematically eliminate. And why.