Today’s opinion piece in the New York Daily News by a West 30th Street resident describes the buildings, businesses, jobs, and housing that make this a cohesive community. It is a granular rebuttal to the State’s claim that the area around Penn Station is “blighted” and should be demolished for giant corporate office towers.
It’s also very timely. We are scheduled to be in court next week defending our amicus brief supporting a lawsuit that argues that the area is not “blighted.” The Empire State Development Corp. wants our brief thrown out. We are submitting a reply. A hearing is scheduled for May 25.
The State admits that there are historic buildings in the area that are eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. But they stick to the ridiculous claims that smaller lot sizes, and a variety of architectural styles in the area, are proof of “blight.”
The Conservancy has opposed this General Project Plan (GPP) since former Governor Cuomo first announced it. And we have called on Governor Hochul to formally stop this misbegotten assault on Midtown Manhattan.
We believe the GPP is so wrong and so destructive that we financially supported the lawsuit by the Penn Community Defense Fund. We also joined with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and State Preservation League to submit the amicus brief.
We hope the court will see what the State refuses to see. Everyone supports improving Penn Station. But you don’t have to destroy peoples’ homes and livelihoods to do that.
Peg Breen, President
The New York Landmarks Conservancy