Old Penn Station By William Low

    Summary Old Penn Station

    A beautiful tribute to the glory of the original Pennsylvania Railroad Station

    During the first half of the 20th century, the original Pennsylvania Station was one of New York City's grandest landmarks, a palace in the middle of Manhattan. William Low's glorious illustrations pay close attention to detail while still encompassing the large-scale grandeur of Penn Station.

    Old Penn Station follows a very specific piece of New York City history, but it's not just a New York book. The author's research carefully addresses the whole history of the building, from construction to destruction, ending with an acknowledgment of its lasting legacy in terms of historical preservation. Spaces can be powerful, and Old Penn Station honors one particular powerful space which is sure to engender discussion about other historical buildings and monuments all across the nation.

    This is a classic, beautiful book for history lovers, train lovers, and art lovers alike.

    Old Penn Station is a 2007 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year and a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. Old Penn Station

    Summary: This book is about the birth, life and death of the Old Penn Station in New York City. The author and illustrator takes us on a journey of life before trains could stop in New York city to the details of the construction for this historical building. It even takes us through the demolishing and construction of the Madison Square Garden and the New Penn Plaza where the Old Pen Station once stood. It was such a historical building that only stood tall for 53 years. Many were sad to see it go but embraced the memories it created.

    Age range: This book seems to be written for the young elementary reader, however the rich history that it tells would make this book appropriate for any age. Ages 6-106!

    Artistic Elements: This book has beautiful, colorful and vivid pictures to depict the story of the Old Penn Station. Each painting is just as exciting as the story behind it. The paintings take up the entire page and are very detailed. Without reading the words, you can tell the story of the Old Penn Station through the pictures.

    Recommendation: I would recommend this book to any native of New York, a lover of trains or someone who appreciates historical structures. Because of the beautiful visualization in this book, I would also recommend this to anyone who appreciates detailed vivid art. English Summary and Review-
    Old Penn Station is a wonderful informational picture book for young readers. William Low, author and illustrator of this book, was born and raised in New York City. His first-hand knowledge of the subject was evident in this book especially through the detailed and accurate illustrations.

    Old Penn Station was the first train station to be built in NYC. Before it was built people would get off a train in New Jersey and get on a ferry to Manhattan. In 1910 a beautiful train station was built, it was actually supposed to seem more like a palace. In it were restaurants, beautiful waiting rooms, shoeshiners, and more. Beautiful statues were created for both the inside and outside of the station. However, as modes of transportation changed and less people were taking locomotive trains, Old Penn Station began to struggle. It was decided by a number of people in New York to tear down the historic building and move the station underground and make it a base for Madison Square Garden. Sadly, the statues and wonderful architecture was all destroyed. Many people were angry with the destruction of the building and now a Preservation Commission was created to avoid destruction of historical buildings like this.

    I found this book to be so interesting because I had absolutely no knowledge of the content. I have been to NY once, but never knew of Old Penn Station or had even thought about how people had gotten to Manhattan in the late 1800s. The text in this book is simple and easy to grasp and the pictures are eye catching (beautiful oil paintings!). This is a great book to read if you're interested in learning about trains or NYC. English Sumptuously illustrated. English This is a story about the creation of the Penn Station in Pennsylvania. This book also describes how this station was torn down and still remembered today. It tells about the rich history of the Pennsylvania railways and how it has turned into rubble. This book does a great job explaining the Penn Station and what it did for the city of Pennsylvania. Also, inside this book are amazing illustrations that help give an idea of how the Penn Station felt and looked. This book was missing train terminology and station duties, which would be beneficial to the readers. This book could be used in a classroom as a resource for learning about the state of Pennsylvania. This book could also be used to teach the class about state monuments and what happens to them over time. The lesson on state monuments could even turn into a project, by having students choose one state monument and doing a presentation on it.

    Low, W. (2007). Old Penn Station. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company. English Don’t bother with this book

    This is a children’s book. It is written and illustrated simplistically. If you are looking for something with substance, keep looking somewhere else.


    A non-fiction picture book telling of the life and death of the old Penn Station in New York City. Loving illustrations detail a time that is now all but forgotten. Interesting and enjoyable history makes this a picture book for school-aged children. English Beautiful book! The illustrations alone make the book a gem. But the story is touching as it tells of how Pennsylvania Station was built and then later destroyed once autos became the main means of transport. Though most readers have obviously never been in the station, once its destruction becomes apparent you are saddened because of the way the author has described its design and construction and impact on those who moved through it on a daily basis.
    Penn's destruction provoked the creation of a commission to preserve historic buildings in NYC - like Grand Central - and so it's legacy has survived its physical presence in New York City. The author says buildings are not just concrete and steel, but the heart and soul of all cities. English I almost want to make a bookshelf called great lighting, because this book's incredible illustrations have a marvelous sense of light. Check out an animation of a painting from sketch to final product on William Low's web site:


    Like Tamara said, both the style and the subject matter is reminiscent of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I had no idea that the original Pennsylvania Station was destroyed, but thanks to this book, I now feel that I mourn it a little. English A very good telling of one of the saddest moments in the history of American culture. English What a wonderfully simple & poignant book about historic preservation and the life & death of Penn Station. (BTW, I didn't know that Madison Square Garden was built right on top of the old Penn Station location. Cool.)

    Great for kids with an obsession of all things transportation. The illustrations are very reminiscent of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but with more color.