Once inspired, the next logical step in laying a play's foundation is to formulate a compelling idea.
Spring of 2002: Combing the aisles of my local bookstore, I came across The Destruction of Penn Station, Peter Moore's haunting photo-documentation of Penn’s demolition. With one page-through my interest in the station's disappearnece was reinvigorated and, as a 22 year-old New Yorker trying to make sense of 9-11, Moore’s photos made a crucial connection for me. Throughout its history New York City had lost many magnificent buildings either by force or transaction and I was certain those structural fatalities affected the city's collective psyche.
In short: We miss great buildings when they're taken from us.
I thought of the tremendous ache New Yorkers felt over the Twin Towers' destruction and wondered if people experienced something similar when they demolished Penn Station? Did they stand off to the side and shake their heads unable to look? Did they miss that defining New York institution when it was taken from them? Did they take Penn Station for granted the way I did the Twin Towers?
But for me, a man born twelve years after the physical building was wiped off the map, Penn Station lived in Moore's meticulous 3-year documentation. He brought it to life as he captured it dying.
Photography was the key!
A photographer and his documentation of the station's demolition would become the focal point of the drama. From that idea I had the tools to conceptualize and build a play.