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The Eternal Space  

Photo By Norman McGrath. Used with Permission. 

Photo By Norman McGrath. Used with Permission. 

About the Play: On October 28th, 1963 the demolition of New York's Pennsylvania Station begins. The wrecking crews work outside in the morning drizzle to dismantle a fifty-three-year-old architectural marvel.  Inside, a construction worker turned photographer is running away from his past while an aging English teacher can't let his go. Their coincidental meeting begins a three-year conversation over the value of old and new, as one man fights to keep the station standing while the other is taking it down. This is the premise for The Eternal Space, a two-man play that charts an unlikely friendship across the social and cultural upheavals of the mid-1960s.

Production History: After having two developmental readings in December of 2012 and May of 2013, our production team was able to coordinate an event in partnership with the Architect Institute of America’s New York Chapter to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Penn Station’s demolition complete with a panel of experts in the field of photography, architecture and NYC history. The event sold out the AIANY’s Center for Architecture’s largest event space and was an enormous success. Now our goal is to use an opportunity like The New Works Sessions at Fordham Lincoln Center to procure further partnership/support for a full production in the fall. 

Photography is an essential element of the planned stage production providing the scenic background for the play’s dialogue. Research has amassed a catalog of over 500 never-published/exhibited photos from New York based-photographers. Contributors to the collection include:

Norman McGrath: A renowned, professional architectural photographer whose work has appeared in every notable architectural publication.

Peter Moore: A professional photographer known for his documentation of the Fluxus movement in New York City.  His Penn Station photographs are a small portion of his commercially successful body of work.

Alexander Hatos: A career employee of the Pennsylvania railroad whose photographic catalog offers the unique perspective of employee access.

Ron Ziel: An internationally acclaimed railroad historian and Long Island native. His collection documents the station’s entire lifespan and includes images from his perspective as a LIRR commuter in the 1960s.

Aaron Rose: An accomplished photographer whose images, the New York Times declares, “seem to caress the world”. He was virtually unknown to the photography world until 1997, when four images were exhibited at the Whitney Biennial.

On the morning of October 29, 1963, the New York Times reported:  “A building that sometimes made a ceremony out of a journey… reached the end of the line, architecturally at 9 A.M..” The Eternal Space, a beautifully simple but unique production aims to bring the Old Penn Station back to life while giving voice to the quiet lament of losing it half a century ago.

Photo by Aaron Rose. Used with Permission. 

Photo by Aaron Rose. Used with Permission. 

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light....
— Lord Byron