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Past Programs & Events
The Rise and Fall of Penn Station Screening Party
Tuesday, February 18, 7:30pm-10pm at Professor Thom's Bar and Restaurant
Preservationists, architects, and urbanists of every variety came in the hundreds to see the debut of PBS’s American Experience documentary, The Rise and Fall of Penn Station. After a brief introduction by Tony Wood, Peter Samton said a few words to the crowd about his experience on the picket line outside of the original Penn Station. He spoke of New York City before the preservation movement and the challenges of saving a building – even one as beautiful as Penn Station – in a time when so many were focused on development. After the speeches, the crowd divided itself between the two floors of the bar, and as the clock struck nine o’clock, the lights came down and the documentary began. One wonders if a record had been set for the “World’s Quietest Sports Bar” as images of the old Penn Station flickered across the screen in black and white. Hundreds of people stared fixedly at their TVs as if seeing Penn Station’s glorious construction and infamous destruction for the first time. Once the program had ended and the lights had come up, we parted ways, filled with wisdom, nachos, and the feeling that something very strange and very wonderful had taken place. Old friends who had met serendipitously at the event waved goodbye while new friends exchanged numbers. Pitchers of beer came out as PBS made way for ESPN and Professor Thom’s became a sports bar once again.
The Neighborhood Preservation Center was pleased to co-sponsor this event with the New York Preservation Archive Project, Historic Districts Council, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Pratt Historic Preservation Alumni, Preservation Alumni, and Young City Coalition. Thank you also to the staff of Professor Thom’s Bar and Restaurant. This program was part of NYC Landmarks50 Alliance, the multi-year celebration of New York City’s Landmark Law.