The Alliance for a New Penn Station welcomes New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s support for granting Madison Square Garden a fixed-term, 10-year permit to operate in its current location above Penn Station. Speaker Quinn’s proposal to form a commission aimed at developing a new Penn Station and finding a new home in Manhattan for the Garden is a vital step forward in the process of creating a world-class transit hub and a world-class arena for New York.
We also applaud Speaker Quinn’s recognition that any re-examination of Madison Square Garden’s special permit must go through a public land-use review process.
The hundreds of thousands of people who use Penn Station every day cope with overcrowded, unsafe and grim conditions. The number of travelers passing through the station far exceeds what planners projected when the station was moved underground in the 1960s. As Speaker Quinn aptly notes, significantly improving Penn Station while Madison Square Garden sits atop it has proven to be an intractable problem. Granting Madison Square Garden a time-limited permit is crucial to creating a transit gateway worthy of New York and to sustaining Midtown’s economic vitality.
Madison Square Garden plays a vital role in the city’s economic and cultural landscape. We expect the commission proposed by Speaker Quinn of key stakeholders in government, business, the railroads and the Garden to shape the necessary planning process involved in identifying a new site in Manhattan for a top-tier sports and entertainment arena.