Test your knowledge with a quiz
Bellows, Pennsylvania Station
- George Bellows documents the construction site for the majestic Pennsylvania Station, part of a process of modernizing New York City through transportation networks in the early 20th century. This project also involved tunneling railway lines under the Hudson River, physically connecting New York to national transportation networks.
- In Pennsylvania Station, Bellows does not celebrate the triumph of technology, but instead suggests the underside of the progress. This construction project displaced thousands of residents of the Tenderloin district, including African-American communities and recent immigrants.
- Pennsylvania Station was demolished in 1963 to make way for a modern terminal and Madison Square Garden. Outrage over the destruction of this Beaux-Arts building helped to create the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which now registers and protects significant buildings and sites.
More to think about
Compare Bellows’s Pennsylvania Station with this documentary photograph of the excavation project. What details are included in both images? What does Bellows add, or leave out, which suggests his more critical opinion of urban progress?