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Heartbreaking photos of the demolition of the 1910 Penn Station, construction of Madison Square Garden

When the original Pennsylvania Station officially opened in Manhattan to the public on Nov. 27, 1910, it was hailed as a monumental work of architecture.

Designed in the Beaux Arts style, millions of travelers would ultimately pass through the cavernous station that spanned two city blocks. The station was seen as a symbol of the awe-inspiring engineering achievement of building rail tunnels under the Hudson and East rivers which had helped to link the entire Northeast.

The station, though, was cleared away despite protests and a fight to preserve it. On Oct. 28, 1963, workers set about taking the building down. In its place, Madison Square Garden and a high-rise office complex would rise.

Even today, the decision to demolish the old station has been called one of the greatest failures of architectural preservation in NYC history.

Here are 21 heartbreaking photos showing how the old station was taken down and replaced.

People walk by the south side of the
Photo Credit: Newsday / Cliff De Bear

People walk by the south side of the original Penn Station on June 6, 1955.

Pickets march in front of Penn Station on
Photo Credit: Newsday / Jim O'Rourke

Pickets march in front of Penn Station on Aug. 2, 1962 carrying signs protesting the demolition of the Manhattan landmark.

Scaffolding along the 33rd Street side of Penn
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

Scaffolding along the 33rd Street side of Penn Station on Jan. 27, 1964 where workmen were in the process of renovating the station.

Sunlight streams through a portal in the taxi
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

Sunlight streams through a portal in the taxi ramp on the 33rd Street side of Penn Station showing the cement dust and debris pouring through a hole in the roof where workmen were tearing out the sections of the old station on Jan. 27, 1964.

A worker removes an illuminated sign and another
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

A worker removes an illuminated sign and another works on a window partition during the renovation of Penn Station on Jan. 27, 1964.

A sign alerts the public to closures and
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

A sign alerts the public to closures and construction work being done at Penn Station on Jan. 27, 1964.

One of the stores along the Seventh Avenue
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

One of the stores along the Seventh Avenue arcade advertises a clearance sale on Jan. 27, 1964 before the store closed for the renovation of Penn Station.

This is what remains of the 33rd Street
Photo Credit: Newsday / Cliff De Bear

This is what remains of the 33rd Street taxi ramp on April 7, 1964 as workers demolished parts of the old Penn Station to make way for the new Madison Square Garden.

A team of carpenters create the framework for
Photo Credit: Newsday / Cliff De Bear

A team of carpenters create the framework for a new but temporary baggage room during the renovation of Penn Station on April 7, 1964. The former baggage room is set to be demolished as soon as this one is complete.

Workmen guide a giant slab of concrete as
Photo Credit: Newsday / Cliff De Bear

Workmen guide a giant slab of concrete as it is lowered from the old Penn Station on April 7, 1964 a part of the renovation of the old station, and the construction of Madison Square Garden.

On 33rd Street, taxi cabs duck under structural
Photo Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus

On 33rd Street, taxi cabs duck under structural steel work being completed on Madison Square Garden over Penn Station on March 17, 1965.

An overhead view of Penn Station under construction
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tom Maguire

An overhead view of Penn Station under construction on July 28, 1965 shows a framework of steel scaffolding on the 32nd and 33rd street sides of the building. Engineers hope to have the new station finished by 1967.

An interior shot of Penn Station under construction
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tom Maguire

An interior shot of Penn Station under construction on July 28, 1965 shows commuter business as usual in the background while construction men work in the foreground.

Penn Station under construction on Oct. 28, 1965.
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tom Maguire

Penn Station under construction on Oct. 28, 1965. The rotunda of the station's waiting room has a network of steel girders being erected as a foundation for the new sports arena, Madison Square Garden. Passengers are seen waiting for trains while mingling with workmen in helmets.

Steelworker Mickey Joy of Brooklyn uses a torch
Photo Credit: Newsday / Tom Maguire

Steelworker Mickey Joy of Brooklyn uses a torch to cut through steel girders that had been part of the framework of the old Penn Station on Oct. 28, 1965.

Penn Station under construction, as seen from above,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Ernest Brouillard

Penn Station under construction, as seen from above, on Nov. 23, 1965. At street level the construction isn't visible, but from this vantage point it's evident that most of the center portion of the building has been removed.

Penn Station under construction on Nov. 23, 1965.
Photo Credit: Newsday / Ernest Brouillard

Penn Station under construction on Nov. 23, 1965. There are lumber, ladders and workmen everywhere you look.

Two workers cut away the original steel framing
Photo Credit: Newsday / Ernest Brouillard

Two workers cut away the original steel framing on the old Penn Station as it undergoes renovations on Nov. 23, 1965.

Passengers wait at the counter for reservations at
Photo Credit: Newsday / Jim Nightingale

Passengers wait at the counter for reservations at the newly renovated Penn Station on Sept. 14, 1966.

The business of commuting continues at Penn Station
Photo Credit: Newsday/ Jim Nightingale

The business of commuting continues at Penn Station while it undergoes construction on Sept. 14, 1966.

One of the two stone eagles that once
Photo Credit: Newsday / Cliff De Bear

One of the two stone eagles that once adorned the old Penn Station rests on a flatbed truck on Feb. 7, 1968. The eagle is waiting to be transported to its permanent resting place in front of the new Penn Station, which is still under construction.

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