© Robert Bowen 2017

Being in Penn Station (5:10)

The destruction of the magnificent Beaux-Arts style edifice that was the original Penn Station, is the greatest tragedy of urban renewal in New York City. Famously architectural historian, Vincent Scully, wrote, “One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat.” The collective realization of the profound loss of this architectural treasure sparked the historic preservation movement in the US.

On the concourse level of the current Penn Station, there is a series of haphazardly displayed photographs depicting the original McKim, Mead and White architecture. This video project overlays the temporality of today's commuter experience as it is seen reflected in the glass surfaces framing the documentary prints. The end result is an historical juxtaposition, a real-time blending of past and present that suggests a dislocated sensation of being transported back in time to the original structure.

This project is dedicated to the Chinese Penn Station Movement and the worldwide fight to save historical monuments and architecture everywhere.