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Built For Today’s Crowds and Tomorrow’s Capacity Needs

NEW YORK, NY, September 18, 2002 -- NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox unveiled today the new NJ TRANSIT 7th Avenue Concourse at Penn Station New York -- the next step toward the State's vision for a transformed rail system that will connect commuters to more places with more capacity and service.

The new concourse, which will fully open to the public next Monday, September 23, will accommodate current customers and future riders using new rail connections like the expanded MidTOWN DIRECT-Montclair service -- opening September 30 --and the planned opening of the Secaucus Transfer Station next year.

"The new 7th Avenue Concourse will mean a higher quality of commute for thousands of New Jersey commuters," Fox said. "The concourse will alleviate congestion and reduce commuting time as customers will have quicker, more convenient access to the platforms."

"This new station within a station gives New Jersey riders their own 'home' in New York with a place to sit before the train arrives and the chance to view the magnificent New Jersey-related artwork throughout the concourse," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. "This spacious, accessible concourse represents the latest stride toward our back-to-basics approach, which revolves around safety, performance, reliability and customer service."

The 50,000-square-foot "station within a station" includes seven new escalators, seven new stairwells and six new elevators to get customers where they are going. A new entrance at 31st Street and 7th Avenue -- which also will include a new escalator,stairwell and elevator – will open at a later date.

The 7th Avenue Concourse represents substantial progress toward NJ TRANSIT's goal to deliver increased peak-period capacity from 17 trains per hour to 25 or more trains per hour entering Penn Station New York. About 220 NJ TRANSIT trains travel in and out of Penn Station New York today.

Penn Station New York is the travel destination for more than 45 percent of NJ TRANSIT's rail passengers -- more than 115,000 average weekday trips -- and is a major transportation hub for the northeast. Amtrak, Long Island Railroad and the New York City subway system also serve Penn Station New York.

On Monday, September 30, NJ TRANSIT will open the new MidTOWN DIRECT-Montclair service, providing the combined Montclair Branch and Boonton Line with direct access to the new 7th Avenue Concourse at Penn Station New York. NJ TRANSIT estimates 8,500 passenger trips on the new MidTOWN DIRECT-Montclair service by spring 2003.

Hurried commuters may actually slow down as they hustle through the grand concourse for the first time. The Italian marble walls, granite floors and artwork make the concourse feel more like an art museum than a train terminal.

Artist George Greenamyer's kinetic sculpture is a celebration of New Jersey that serves as a "travelogue" of stories about the passengers' destination. The sculpture features landmarks and people that have left their mark on history.

Consider a few of the scenes and images included in the glass-encased rooms:

  • The Jersey Devil, a mythical character in the South Jersey Pine Barrens since 1735.
  • Mr. Peanut holding Lucy, the Margate Elephant, with Miss America and her runner-ups in an Atlantic City lifeguard boat.
  • Thomas Edison's phonograph and movie camera.
  • Molly Pitcher (Mary Hays McCauley), who brought water to Revolutionary soldiers at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778.
  • George Washington and his Revolutionary soldiers crossing the Delaware River, December 25, 1776.
  • King George III followed by British soldiers fleeing the State Capitol at Trenton.
  • Beachgoers leaving the train and entering a Jersey shore bathhouse.

Artist Larry Kirkland’s unique marble etchings also will draw plenty of attention. His engraved scenes include the New Jersey Shore, the Pulaski Skyway between Newark and Jersey City, the Delaware Water Gap, Victorian house fronts and Angelo's Diner in Glassboro. The text accompanying the images include work from New Jersey poets such as Renee Ashley, Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones, Kenneth Burke, Daniela Gioseffi, Jim Handline, Pwu Jean Lee, Pablo Medina, H. Cordella Ray, Arthur Resnick and Kenny Young, Edward R. Smith, William Carlos Williams and Walt Whitman.

The $125 million 7th Avenue Concourse project was funded by the Federal Transit Administration, the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund and Metro-North.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 761,000 daily trips on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 27 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.