Municipal Art Society Challenges Architects for New Penn Station

Municipal Art Society Challenges Architects for New Penn Station

By: Scott Henson

MAS believes 2013 presents New York City with a truly unique opportunity. Madison Square Garden’s 50-year special permit to operate an arena use on its current site has expired. In December 2012, Madison Square Garden filed an application to continue to operate an arena on this site in perpetuity and that request is now going through the City’s land use review process with a final decision by the City Council in late June/early July.

NYC deserves a world-class train station and truly dynamic arena but if we approve the Garden’s special permit in perpetuity we will have neither.

MAS strongly believes that now is the time to lay out a clear plan for New York City which presents a more ambitious and optimistic vision and moves the conversation beyond incremental and insufficient improvements to a fundamentally flawed plan.

The city needs to do the right thing — and set as its goal a new Penn Station and a new arena in 10 years.

The 1963 plan for MSG and Penn Station – designed by architect Charles Luckman – was developed at a time when the future of train travel was less certain and when approximately 200,000 people per day were using Penn Station. Today, New York has a station that was designed for approximately 200,000 but moves 640,000 people daily.

Madison Square Garden, although it has undergone an expensive renovation continues to fall further behind as new more modern arenas are built. What should be one of the most exciting and dynamic buildings in New York City is unfortunately one of the least. Over the years many alternative locations have been suggested for MSG and the work will explore which sites offer the greatest opportunity.

A new Penn Station and a new arena will be an economic engine for New York City – creating thousands of jobs, unlocking billions of dollars in additional private investment, making millions of commutes a year faster and more comfortable.

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