As the City Planning Commission prepares to take up Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) request to renew its special operating permit on Wednesday, the railroads at Penn Station released a “bombshell” report detailing how the Garden is no longer “compatible” with transit needs and public safety.
The New York Post called the report pressure on MSG to pony up for “improvements” to the Station or risk the railroad’s opposition to the permit renewal. But the report could also blow up Governor Hochul’s modest plan for the Station. Why spend billions of public money on “improvements” that require major changes to MSG’s physical structure?
The report will add to calls for moving the Garden and likely question the Italian ASTM Group’s recent plan for building around the Garden.
The MTA, Long Island Railroad, and New Jersey Transit prepared the report at City Planning’s request. But the “constraints” have been obvious for years. Governor Hochul controls the MTA. And she has shown no interest in moving the Garden.
But can she ignore this report? Why not use it as a reason to call a halt–end plans to demolish blocks around the Garden–and publicly examine all the plans and suggestions for real transit improvements. This is an opportunity to produce a Penn Station worthy of public investment and worthy of New York.
Peg Breen, President
The New York Landmarks Conservancy