It’s not glamorous. It’s not welcoming. It’s one of New York City’s versions of purgatory, really. You’re not fully in the city, and you’re also a far cry from wherever you were. It’s the underground corridor that links Seventh and Eighth Avenues inside of Pennsylvania Station. (Not to be confused with the corridor that links them under Times Square.)
It’s the first place I ever stepped foot in New York when my mom brought me here from our home in Massachusetts for my twelfth birthday. She looked at a map of Manhattan before we left and figured we’d be able to walk no problem from Penn Station at 34th Street, up to our destination, the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 81st Street. It is possible. But it would’ve required fifty-five minutes of our seven-hour day trip. Instead, a NYPD officer directed us to the A train. My mom in that moment realized that this city (especially its underground bits) can be incredibly intimidating, and she proceeded to have a nervous breakdown.
Cut to twelve years later, I now live in the city. And that corridor in Penn Station is, perhaps for nostalgia’s sake, one of my favorite places. Continue reading