We Did It! Kickstarter Goal Exceeded!

We Did It! Kickstarter Goal Exceeded!

As of a few minutes ago, our 40 day Kickstarter campaign came to its official end. We are happy to announce that not only did we meet our goal, but exceeded it! So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you, thank you, and thank you! And now, as the real work begins to mount our showcase production, stayed tuned, because there will be dozens of announcements in the coming months. And lastly, some sincere statements:

"For everyone's support and belief in this play, my gratitude is endless. Each and every person who pledged helped to make this dream come true. Now, my job is deliver the best possible show I have in me to honor your generosity." -- Justin Rivers, playwright

 

“I can speak for the entire production team, that we are eternally grateful to the over 200 donors who took the time to learn about and support The Eternal Space. The funds raised will propel us forward so that we may continue to finesse and produce the caliber of show that is worthy of everyone’s donation. Your donation will be rewarded with an intelligent and thoughtful production that will not disappoint!” -- Dennis D. McCarthy, producer

Press Clippings...Revisited

Whew! What a week we have had! With only 5 days left in our Kickstarter Campaign, the pressure is on! Every dollar, every pledge helps. Will you be the next Kickstarter backer? Like PBS and public radio, awesome rewards await you. 

Yesterday, Metropolis Magazine ran a brilliant blog post regarding the show and our campaign. And, in the middle of sugar-induced mayhem yesterday, Curbed NY ran a news brief on us. As the kids continue to recover, check them out. 




Press Clippings

Press Clippings

We had a very busy day yesterday, as October 28th marked the 51st anniversary of Penn Station's demolition. Our playwright, Justin Rivers, was invited to guest author a blog post on the renowned urban discovery site Untapped Cities. In case you missed it, you can read it here. We are proud to say that it has been the one of the most popular entries on the site for the past two days!

To spread the word about the show and our Kickstarter campaign we also authored a Buzzfeed post on 10 Things You Didn't Know About NYC's Old Penn Station. Full of unknown facts and never before seen photos, it's worth a look here

As we approach the final seven days in our Kickstarter campaign, we thank all of our backers from the bottom of our hearts. It's going to be a long climb to the finish line, but we will undoubtedly make it. Please help us by continuing to spread the word. 



Architecture & The Eternal Space: Guest Blog Post

Architecture & The Eternal Space: Guest Blog Post

As the Municipal Arts Society's NYC Summit wrapped up last week, the arguments, plans and dreams of a new Penn Station, were once again topics of conversation throughout the city. Today, Amy Verel, ASLA, offers some insights of her own on Penn Station. 

 

As a landscape architect who has always worked in cities, I am occasionally asked “wouldn't there be more work for you in the suburbs?” The assumption is that the practice of landscape architecture is constrained to lawns and gardens, betraying a fundamental lack of understanding about the vital role of landscape architecture in urban design. While lawns and gardens are certainly one aspect of landscape architecture, the practice encompasses the design of the entire urban environment. As licensed professionals entrusted with designing and engineering the health, safety and welfare of the public, landscape architects work to comprehensively shape our shared urban space. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, the less space there is for lawns, trees and animals, the more attention and careful design the outdoor environment requires.  

Architecture aspires to construct the sublime human experience within the walls of the building; landscape architecture aspires to do the same in the spaces between the buildings. Seen in this light, landscape architecture encompasses the entire exterior urban environment and is inextricably linked to the architecture within it. The most successful expressions of both fields unite our built spaces - indoors and out, public and private - in a way that fosters the highest human experience.

While phenomenal works of landscape architecture and architecture can be found in all human settings, both become more important as our density increases. We are communal animals that enjoy being together and who work best together when we cluster and collaborate in the form of the city. In our closely shared physical places, every inch matters inside and out and the role of the designer is paramount in defining our experience of the entire built environment.

We have a distinct choice in design – to meet the minimum requirements for safety and function, or to exceed our basic needs in order to create spaces that make us feel connected to each other and inspire us to sustain community and beauty in our lives. The old Pennsylvania Station was one such space and although most of us can only experience it through the photography of its life and demise, it was undeniably a space that made an indelible mark on the identity and collective memory of New York City. It was with us for a short time, even by the scale of an individual lifetime, and yet its soaring, elegant design leaves us with a powerful legacy that reminds us that not only are we capable of creating such beauty, but that it does not come easily and we must scrupulously protect it.

We have a distinct choice in design – to meet the minimum requirements for safety and function, or to exceed our basic needs in order to create spaces that make us feel connected to each other and inspire us to sustain community and beauty in our lives.

I am drawn to urban planning and landscape architecture because I am fascinated by how the spaces we occupy influence how we feel – about ourselves and about those around us – and how we behave in response to those emotions. The astounding, uplifting physical experience of being in Grand Central Terminal today, and the disoriented, trapped feeling of being in Penn Station’s modern replacement, encapsulate both ends of this spectrum. We are exceptionally fortunate that Grand Central was saved for us to experience today largely because of the unfortunate demise of Pennsylvania Station, but the loss of Pennsylvania Station left a hole in the physical and mental fabric of the city that can never be filled.

Remembering the sublime design of Pennsylvania Station, and experiencing what it must have felt like to be in that space through the power of photography, reminds us that we are still capable and worthy of spaces that raise us up as a community of human beings. Good design is always worth striving for, and transcendent design should always be the goal of the designer. Memorializing the terribly shortsighted destruction of such a space through the elegiac photography that so elegantly documented the demolition instills the lesson that we must vigilantly protect the monumental spaces we manage to create. 

Amy Verel, ASLA has served as a Board Member for the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects since 2010. She works for the New York City Department of Recreation as an Assistant Landscape Architect. She is also an Certified Municipal Specialist with the International Society of Arboriculture and a member of the New York Chapter of Women's Transportation Seminar. She received dual Masters of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and BA in Urban Studies from Fordham University. She was an active member of Fordham Experimental Theater, where she met Justin and acted in one of his early plays.

VISIT OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

PRESS RELEASE: Kickstarter Rewards Added & Announcing our Partnership with URHS

PRESS RELEASE: Kickstarter Rewards Added & Announcing our Partnership with URHS

Pennsylvania Railroad GG1s in the Boonton Restoration Yard of URHS on September 20, 2014. Photo credit: Dennis A Livesey

With thirteen days left in their online Kickstarter campaign, the producers of the stage play, The Eternal Space, announced today three additional rewards for Kickstarter backers.

 

Added backer rewards include:

  • A replica of the original 1910 train ticket used by the LIRR on its maiden run into NYC Pennsylvania Station.
  • A digital ticket to allow fans of the show, anywhere, access to video footage of an upcoming showcase performance.
  • A family-friendly visit to the United Railroad Historical Societies of NJ (URHS) train yard in Boonton, NJ. Railroad fans, young and old, will experience tours, witness restoration progress and access restored passenger cars, expertly restored by URHS volunteers. The excursion will also feature photo opportunities behind the controls of a PRR GG1 locomotive, a mainstay of the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s fleet.

 

These additions compliment existing rewards from notable photographer, Norman McGrath and other limited-edition items from NYC area artists.

 

Playwright Justin Rivers says, “I’m thrilled to be adding these new rewards for our backers. They complement our existing rewards and allow fans anywhere and everywhere, young and old, to participate in this show’s development”. Cassie Farrelly, producer, offered “We are thankful to the URHS for their involvement and support. We look forward to visiting Boonton and will continue to support the URHS in all of their impressive railroad preservation efforts”.

 

Kevin Phalon, spokesperson for the URHS, says: "The GG1 was the cornerstone locomotive of the Pennsylvania Railroad's electric fleet. They have one of the longest tenures on any locomotive ever built, and the fleet of 139 units pulled almost every train out of Penn Station from the late 1930s to the day the station was demolished. Exceeding speeds of 100 miles per hour, the GG1 carried passengers from New York City to the state of Pennsylvania, the nation's capital, and beyond. The URHS is the only railroad preservation group in the country to have two of these locomotives restored. They are two of the key existing artifacts for telling the story of Penn Station and we are proud to partner with The Eternal Space to share them with those who have contributed to the project."

 

About the URHS: The United Railroad Historical Society of NJ is a historic preservation group tasked with restoring a collection of railroad equipment for the future NJ Railroad Museum. The organization was formed in 1987 and is governed by delegates from 15 NJ-based railroad groups. In lieu of permanent museum site, the URHS preserves railroad history by leasing operational equipment to railroads, running excursions with Amtrak-certified train cars, and restoring locomotives and cars at the Boonton Yard Restoration Facility.

 

Visit the kickstarter campaign

We've Launched Our Kickstarter Campaign!

Click Here to Visit Our Kickstarter Page!

This weekend we launched a 40-day Kickstarter Campaign with a $20,000 end goal to help the production support an upcoming showcase run in New York City.  

We are very excited to be offering our backers one-of-a-kind gifts designed to reflect the show’s focus: photography, rail travel, and the Old Pennsylvania Station.  Show Producer Cassie Farrelly says, “New York has always been a place where creativity thrives. The original Penn Station embodied this appreciation for art, The Eternal Space celebrates this achievement and our backing gifts are truly one of a kind – just like the play and the city it honors.”

Since a centerpiece of the production is photography, renowned architectural photographer, Norman McGrath is offering signed, original prints direct from his impressive catalogue. His photography is a critical element of the stage production.

The urban-enthusiast’s blog Untapped Cities will host a Penn Station walking tour open only to Kickstarter backers. Attendees with have the chance to discover, first-hand, old Penn Station remnants scattered throughout the current station. Included is a gathering after the tour for a drink and conversation with the tour leaders and the show’s creator.

 Click through the image to see our Kickstarter page!

Click through the image to see our Kickstarter page!

Etsy needlepoint sensation Carsonzickersham has designed and crafted limited edition Penn Station Eagle samplers. Since there were twenty-two eagles removed from the Station’s facade, the designers are making twenty-two framed samplers and breaking the mold. 

Comic and Letterpress artist Courtney Zell will be designing a production poster using Norman McGrath’s actual contact sheets from his Penn Station collection. The poster will be used for the showcase run but Kickstarter backers will have the chance to get their own limited-edition poster first. The poster will be signed by the playwright, Justin Rivers. 

“Kickstarter is a natural fit for The Eternal Space since our project’s every step has been a group effort. I’m excited and honored to team up with Untapped Cities, Norman McGrath, Courtney Zell and Carsonzickersham to provide unique backer gifts that reflect both our show and our appreciation, ” said The Eternal Space playwright Justin Rivers.

The Eternal Space is a two-man play that begins with a coincidental meeting in 1963 in New York’s Pennsylvania Station. This chance meeting launches a three-year debate about progress, preservation, and posterity as one man fights to keep the station standing while the other is instrumental in taking it down. Using original photography from the journalists who documented the station’s destruction and recreations of broadcast recordings as powerful backdrops to the story, the show charts an unlikely friendship through the social and cultural upheavals of the mid-1960s.

Previously, the show has had four developmental readings, one of which at the Manhattan’s Center for Architecture/AIANY as part of the demolition’s 50th anniversary remembrance.  Rick Bell, Executive Director of AIANY called the play’s dialogue “scintillating” and went onto say, “The Eternal Space dramatizes the conflicts between those who would replace our architectural legacy in the name of progress, and those whose frame of reference carries heavy intellectual baggage. Is reconciliation possible?” Bell finished by saying The Eternal Space was a play  “that makes you think twice about what we take for granted." Additional readings were held at Fordham Lincoln Center and The Tank NYC in the past twenty-two months. 

Please consider contributing and you can help our show have an Off-Broadway run!

Click Here to Visit Our Kickstarter Page

 

 

Hope for the New Amtrak Wing of Penn Station

 Photo Credit: Jason Klobassa via Citylab.com 

Photo Credit: Jason Klobassa via Citylab.com 

The Times reports that the De Blasio administration is addressing the issue with "fresh eyes." Read the full story here at the Atlantic's Citylab blog. 

What the New Moynihan Station Might Look Like... Someday

A view of the proposed Moynihan Penn Station which would transform the historic Farley Post Office building (located between 31st street and 33rd street, 8th avenue and 9th avenue) into a grand new train station. Click on the gallery above for more images and check out the full article from the EE&K Architects site

Nearing the End of the Line

 Photo Credit: Walker Evans

Photo Credit: Walker Evans

Above the scurry and tumult of travelers, clocks tick away the final hours of a grand and historic monument. New York’s Pennsylvania Station is doomed. Its herculean columns, its vast canopies of concrete and steel will soon be blasted into rubble to make way for a monstrous complex.
— - LIFE Magazine, July 1963

52 Years Ago Today

 Photo via The New York Times

Photo via The New York Times

On August 2, 1962 protesters rallied to bring attention to the destruction of Penn Station. Though they couldn't save the station, their efforts did serve as a catalyst for the historic preservation movement.

You can read more here.

Old City Room Blog Post: Celebrating Penn Station, in All its Blandness

 Photo by Sara Krulwich via the New York Times

Photo by Sara Krulwich via the New York Times

"But is there no one who would miss the new Penn Station if it were gone? After all, buildings are not just about their ennobling features and uplifting vistas. They are vessels of experience, places where memories are born, regardless of the structures’ age or opulence or lack thereof."

Read the whole post here. 

The New Works Series Has Announced Us In It's Line-Up

We're very excited to be a part of this series at Fordham Lincoln Center. Please come out and join us! We're also having a talk-back after the reading with architectural photographer Norman McGrath. Tickets are free but seating is limited. Reserve a ticket with either dawn@theeternalspaceplay.com or fordhamalumnicompany@gmail.com

See you on June 9th at 7PM! 

A Great Write Up from Smithsonian Magazine's Design Decoded

We had a mention in this wonderful post from the Design Decoded blog penned by our fellow panelist and staunch supporter Jimmy Stamp. It examines how a deep sense of nostalgia colors our view of the former Penn Station in all its stages of life and how photography plays such a large part in forming that view. Check out the full post here! 

5O Years Ago Today The Demolition Began

 Photo by Norman McGrath. Used with Permission.

Photo by Norman McGrath. Used with Permission.

On October 28, 1963 our nation's collective plate was full. Civil rights was in the fore of our national consciousness because of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic march just two months before. A controversial war was brewing in Vietnam and in less than a month a President would be assassinated. What would go almost completely unnoticed was the first demolition day of New York's Pennsylvania Station. It was a drizzly Monday morning because Hurricane Ginny was barreling up the East Coast and would eventually hit Eastern Long Island with high winds and heavy rains. Now, closer to our time, most New Yorkers are remembering the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy's devastation, another turning point in our city's history.  

But 49 years before, wrecking crews showed up on 8th Avenue and promptly began chipping away at the granite facade of the largest indoor space in New York City and one of the largest public spaces in the world. Photographer Norman McGrath said:  "They started the demolition with the car ramps and the outside of the station. The columns were massive and you could see the workers struggling." It looked as though "the station didn't want to yield."  

It's clear that the anniversary of Penn Station's demolition, like its commencement, will go practically unnoticed. Just like 50 years ago there are so many important things taking the spotlight. But consider what architect and original AGBANY member Peter Sampton told the New York Times last August on the 50th Anniversary of the AGBANY protests outside Penn Station: “I really believe Grand Central Terminal was saved because of what happened at Penn Station.” And not only Grand Central but any historic building or neighborhood that was standing in the way of government-funded progress.

In 1966 the National Historic Preservation Act was passed and signed into law by President Johnson. Penn Station's demolition became the poster child for preservation. As Chairman and Founder of the New York Preservation Archive Project said, "We had to lose Penn Station to get the Historic Preservation Act." The act was a signal that not all Americans were interested in misguided attempts at urban renewal. And more important:  Many Americans woke up to their history. A country wrapped up in a maelstrom of social and cultural change stopped for a moment to realize that there were some things in the jet-set age of progress worth preserving for future generations. Penn Station was one of the major sacrifices that opened people's eyes. That alone is worth stopping for a moment to remember.