"A mad and reckless pursuit", that, is what people labeled the idea of linking New England, Long Island and New Jersey to the island of Manhattan. After several tedious and frustrating trips from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to New York City, Alexander Cassatt, a railroad engineer and the president of the largest railroad company, the Pennsylvania Railroad, took it upon himself to connect these two cities and other cities as well. Rather than boarding a ferry to reach New York City, Alexander Cassatt was determined to create an easier, convenient and less time-consuming mode of transportation into New York City. Disregarding the skeptics and critics, Alexander Cassatt along with the help of Charles Jacobs, Charles McKim, Samuel Rae and many others made what seemed impossible, possible. If one told a person in 1910, that the wonderful landmark, Pennsylvania Station would only last a few decades, they would have laugh hysterically. The producer and director of the film The Rise and Fall of Penn Station, Randall MacLowry, carefully and periodically illustrates the process of creating the railroad, the significance and failure of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Pennsylvania Station was timeless and monumental piece and its fall was unexpected.
In 1899, Alexander Cassatt was appointed president of the Pennsylvania Station. The position as president of the company was termed the "killing job because four previously appointed presidents, died while in office. Before Alexander Cassatt accepted the offer, he asked to receive full authority of the construction of Penn Station. Cassatt received his inspiration after a visit to Gare d'Orsay in Paris. Before beginning the fifty million dollar project, Alexander Cassatt called upon Charles Jacobs, a brilliant tunnel engineer and Samuel Rea to oversee the project. Alexander Cassatt hired men to buy all the real estate. Alexander Cassatt purchased tenements, dancehalls, and saloons.