New York City elected officials at all levels of government criticized Governor Cuomo’s proposed plan to demolish six blocks around Penn Station for massive development. They also challenged the $1.3 billion the Governor included in the State budget to begin buying or condemning buildings in that area.
In a letter to the Governor last Friday, the officials stated: “We cannot have a plan for the area around Penn Station and not have a clear understanding, let alone agreement, on what happens to Penn Station.” The letter also stated that the proposed project “fails to fully outline the transit improvements and public benefits that are supposedly connected to this project.”
U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, State Senators Brad Hoylman and Robert Jackson, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer signed the letter. The Albany legislators also removed the initial funding for land acquisition from the State budget. Community Boards 4 and 5, which cover the area, also oppose the Governor’s proposal.
The Conservancy has opposed this plan from the beginning as a throwback to urban renewal that would run roughshod over City zoning and land use laws. State Senator Liz Krueger echoed that by criticizing the Governor for arguing “that this is some sort of blighted, poverty-filled area. That’s ridiculous. It’s a major section of Manhattan.” Read our August 17 statement.
Following the electeds’ letter, the State Economic Development Corporation postponed a public hearing on the plan scheduled for this week and invited the lawmakers to a private meeting this past Monday. The State budget deadline is April 1.