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Last nights' Mad Men episode

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Last nights' Mad Men episode
Posted by 54light15 on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 1:37 PM

I didn't see the entire program, however, the ad agency was given the job of selling the demolishing of Penn Station and building Madison Square Garden. Several characters were dead set against the idea and Don Draper's agency didn't get the account. Interesting. Also,his brother-in-law asked how he was going to get home- Don said, "New York Central, the Broadway Limited leaves Penn Station in 2 Hours." Also, interesting.

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Posted by henry6 on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 3:34 PM

Maybe it proves that either A) those in the media and/or B) those in advertising don't know what they are talking about.

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Posted by scottlyke on Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:41 AM

Sterling Cooper (the ad agency) was trying to get an account to put a positive spin on the demolition of the old, beauxs-arts Penn Station headhouse and replace it with the new, shiny, modern MSG.

As for the business about connecting from NYC to PRR - The omission of the transfer between Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station was probably done to keep the dialogue moving or an honest mistake. 

I thought it was interesting to see a new angle on a historic event.  Sure it's Hollywood, but I love the "what if" quality of the storyline. 

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Posted by 54light15 on Thursday, August 27, 2009 10:47 AM

I would imagine that in the early sixties it would be an easy sell, to demolish Penn Station. All they had to do was call it "progress."  Remember how everything was progress back then? Ramming highways through neighbourhoods, building ugly strip malls and shutting down railroads. All in the name of "progress." Who needed a monumental old building when you could have a shiny cheesebox to watch the circus in? And look where we ended up.

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Posted by henry6 on Thursday, August 27, 2009 11:00 AM

Demolishing Penn Station was not an easy sell.  It was just done because they wanted it done. 

RIDEWITHMEHENRY will plan and escort railfan rides in and around the NY Metropolitan and Philadephia areas: no mode of transportation is untouched. Guaranteed railfan fun!

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Posted by 54light15 on Thursday, August 27, 2009 11:09 AM

And there were no heritage laws in place at the time to protect it. GCT was almost demolished, as I understand, but heritage laws wouldn't allow it. Is there any news about the Farley post office being converted into the Moynihan station? Anything happenign with that? Any (ha) progress? 

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Posted by NKP guy on Thursday, August 27, 2009 11:11 AM

 It WAS easy in the early '60's to demolish Penn Station, build early ugly strip malls, etc.  Those of us who dared to raise our voices against "the greatest generation" and their fathers for this urban destruction were stopped cold by a two-word legal reason: private enterprise.  The Penn Central Company, and all the others like it, were allowed to do whatever they wanted because they owned the stations, land, etc.  Simply put, in those days, corporate ownership trumped the public interest every time (highways were a different matter; ownership of a house didn't get one the rights of a big company).

Thank goodness that over the decades, perhaps because of the shocked outcry over Penn Station, gradually laws were written to at least give the public a fighting chance to preserve prized civic assets.  

I don't miss those days.  And I don't miss a public without any tools to protect itself from those who had the money and the power.

It's unthinkable today that if Grand Central were still owned by the NYC or any other company, that they would be able or allowed to demolish the building, regardless of public wishes.  To me, that's progress.  I shall sit back now and watch for the comments of others who will call that, and everything else they fear and dislike, "socialism."  

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Posted by 54light15 on Thursday, August 27, 2009 11:17 AM

Remember in the episode how the MSG executive called the ad agency man a "communist?" That just doesn't have any heft these days, so "socialist" will have to do. Can't see it clearly without slapping a label on it! Yes, we have made progress in many ways.   

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Posted by Sam1 on Thursday, August 27, 2009 1:20 PM

If the public wants to preserve a structure, e.g. Pennsylvania Station, Grand Central Station, etc., it should be able to do so.  It should also compensate the investors, who built the structure, i.e. make them whole.  All too often those who believe a structure should be preserved want to buy it for less than fair market value or have it donated to a public body to operate it.  I saw it in Dallas on more than one occasion.  Most of these very same folks, by the way, would scream if they had to sell their house at below fair market value.

I lived in New York City when the decision was made to tear down Pennsylvania Station.  It was sad to see it go.  A feeble effort to preserve the station was made, but the preservations could not find the money to buy it.  Equally important, they could not find the money to maintain it, which was a bigger challenge.  And neither could New York City, which at the time was copping with serious financial problems that nearly drove it into bankruptcy a little more than a decade latter. Readers should remember that the federal government eventually had to bail out the Big Apple. 

 

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Posted by oltmannd on Thursday, August 27, 2009 2:31 PM
Sam1
Readers should remember that the federal government eventually had to bail out the Big Apple. 
... and Penn Central! PRR and NYC were pretty much in "eat your foot" to stay alive in the 50s and 60s. Selling real estate to keep the RR alive was the std MO. NYC didn't go so far to tear down GCT, but they a deal that allowed the PanAm bld. including intrusive direct access into GCT.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by aricat on Monday, August 31, 2009 6:29 PM

The real issue that makes my blood boil is that the writers of this show think that the Broadway Limited was a New York Central train. This show is supposed to do excellent research and not make a mistake about this.The character Don Draper would not make that mistake. I'm a fan of the show and am very disappointed with the writers.

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Posted by henry6 on Monday, August 31, 2009 7:22 PM

Write to the writers or the director or the actor and the station, even the advertisers!  Maybe someone will pay attention.

RIDEWITHMEHENRY will plan and escort railfan rides in and around the NY Metropolitan and Philadephia areas: no mode of transportation is untouched. Guaranteed railfan fun!

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Posted by Falcon48 on Monday, August 31, 2009 9:44 PM

Actully, there was an attempt to sell and demolish Grand Central Terminal, and it resulted in a reported court decision under (then) newly enacted historic preservation laws.  I don't have ready access to it, so I'm writing from memory.  As I recall, the key issue was whether the law, by preventing the RR from disposing of the property, constituted an uncompensated "taking" of the RR's property.  The court's answer was that it wasn't a "taking" so long as the station's current use was an economically viable use.  In other words, the RR could be required to keep the station so long as it wasn't losing money.  I also seem recall that the RR didn't claim that it was losing money on the station which, if true, allowed to court to avoid messy questions of what is "profitable" and what is not (for example, do you include "opportunity costs" in the calculation). 

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Posted by aegrotatio on Tuesday, September 01, 2009 3:19 PM

Sam1
Readers should remember that the federal government eventually had to bail out the Big Apple. 

 

Yes, and readers should ALSO remember that New York City gave every dime back to the Federal Government over the following ten years with interest.

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