Alliance for a New Penn Station Commends New York City Council Vote to Grant Time-Limited Permit to Madison Square Garden

NEW YORKThe Alliance for a New Penn Station lauds today’s vote by the New York City Council to grant Madison Square Garden a limited 10-year permit to operate in its current location above Penn Station.

Led by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the City Council has made clear that now is time to get to work and build the Penn Station that New York City and the region desperately need in order to improve transit access and spur economic growth in the city and throughout the region.

According to a report released last week by the Municipal Art Society ( the positive economic impact of such a redevelopment could be vast.

“Great projects are in New Yorkers’ DNA, they define who we are and who we become,” stated Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society and founding member of the Alliance. “The New Penn project will revitalize the surrounding area, creating a dynamic, new 21st century district for New York City, bringing tremendous long-term economic value to the region.  A New Madison Square Garden will also play a vital role in the city’s economic and cultural landscape. This is the key infrastructure and development project of our time, and an essential investment in the future of our city. Now is the time to make it happen.”

“Penn Station should be an economic development anchor for Midtown. Instead, it is a serious challenge to the global competitiveness of New York City and the region,” stated Robert Yaro, president of Regional Plan Association and founding member of the Alliance. “A new Penn Station will spur economic activity just as other modern transportation hubs around the world have done. It also will improve the commutes of hundreds of thousands of people who cope every day with overcrowded and grim conditions, and pave the way for improved rail service all along the Northeast Corridor.”

MAS and RPA will continue to dedicate time and resources to the work that needs to be accomplished. “We will be reaching out to the broad universe of New Yorkers to help with a campaign to see this through over the long term. We look forward to supporting the process with detailed plans and recommendations for relocating Madison Square Garden and getting the redevelopment of Midtown West under way,” Mr. Cipolla said.

As Speaker Quinn noted earlier this summer, significantly improving Penn Station while Madison Square Garden sits atop it has proven to be an intractable problem. Granting MSG a time-limited permit is crucial to creating a transit gateway worthy of New York and to sustaining Midtown’s economic vitality.

The Alliance also notes the early support of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who in March called on the city to grant Madison Square Garden a 10-year permit and create a comprehensive plan for economic development and transit in West Midtown. The City Planning Commission, led by Commissioner Amanda Burden, supported a restricted permit when Madison Square Garden requested a permit in perpetuity.  

The Alliance for a New Penn Station is a consortium of civic groups, business leaders and individuals who believe it is vital to New York’s future to re-envision Penn Station and build a modern, top-tier sports and entertainment arena in Manhattan.