via NYC Municipal Archives Online Gallery 

via NYC Municipal Archives Online Gallery 

Photography is central to The Eternal Space. I often find myself telling people it should be treated not like a simple backdrop but as another character on stage. Its use is designed to convey the critical passage of time during the years of the demolition while giving the station an important dialogue of its own. I'm almost positive that I'm not re-inventing the wheel here but I would be remiss not to stress just how critical the media is to this production. I also consider myself lucky that there are plenty of excellent photos of Penn Station circulating once again with all the new redevelopment debates being brought to the fore.

I definitely had the work of Peter Moore in mind when I wrote the show in 2002 since his book, The Destruction of Penn Station, was one of the major catalysts in forming the story of Paul Abbot and Joseph Lanza. By trade, Moore photographed the cutting-edge dance and modern art of the 1960's so his eye found Penn Station to be like a haunting avant-guard art installation. His photos didn't show a station being demolished but a whole living subject dying right before our eyes.  This prospective changed my course of thought about the debate of old and new in architecture and art (more on this some other time).  

Of course we are working out the usage rights with his estate as I type and hope we can work together in this end.  Meanwhile, in my digging around, I was able to find so many breath-taking photos of the station before and during the demolition from multiple sources.  I thought I would use this as an apt platform to give them a little more daylight. 

A couple of times throughout the week I will post random photos of the station, sometimes with a snippet from the show, maybe with a historical fact or just by itself. At the very least I hope it will inform those who had no idea that something truly magnificent once stood as the gateway to New York City.