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Governor Continues to Ignore Penn Station Questions

Rendering of Penn Station Redevelopment Project for Midtown Manhattan

Mayor Adams said yesterday he was open to having Madison Square Garden move on the same day Governor Hochul announced the team chosen to redesign Penn Station with the Garden remaining in place.

The Governor’s announcement once again ignored widespread concerns about spending billions of dollars on an underground station, however “spacious” it may become. It ignored calls from elected officials, editorial boards, and civic groups to fill in financial details of the massive development project proposed around the station and ensure that taxpayers won’t wind up footing the bill. It ignored arguments that leveling blocks of Midtown—forcing residents and businesses to move for giant office towers–is unnecessary and unwise.

It ignored calls from editorial boards and civic groups to stop the plan and start over. Senator George Borrello added his call to withdraw the plan last week, citing the “lack of transparency. “

An August 29 New York Times story detailing questions about what would be “one of the largest development projects in American history” sparked almost 700 reader comments. The vast majority were negative. “Real estate giveaway” was a common reaction.

“Aren’t elected officials supposed to answer to us?” one person asked.

Our main issue has always been the State’s threat of eminent domain in the middle of Manhattan, bypassing the City’s land use and zoning procedures. Several landmark quality buildings would be lost. There was only one public hearing on the plan, despite its potential to disrupt lives and erase vibrant and quirky blocks. The glass towers in the State’s illustrations could be anywhere. But it’s hard to ignore the many other issues.

New Yorkers deserve answers to the many questions and objections the Governor’s plan has raised. New Yorkers deserve a real “world-class station.” New Yorkers deserve a say in how their City evolves. And New York needs to maintain the diverse and vibrant character it is known for.

Elections used to prompt politicians to answer voters. But the time for answers to the questions around Penn Station is running out.

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