The pursuit of a new Penn Station for New York took a significant step forward today following a recommendation by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to grant Madison Square Garden a permit to operate an arena at its current location for 10 years, rather than in perpetuity.
Mr. Stringer's decision recognizes, as the New Penn Station Alliance led by RPA and Municipal Art Society have suggested, that the New York metropolitan region will never have the transit gateway it needs on Manhattan's West Side unless a new location is found for Madison Square Garden.
In calling for the city to begin a comprehensive plan for the area around Penn Station, Mr. Stringer underscored the tremendous contribution a new station and a new arena would make to the surrounding neighborhood.
"We applaud Borough President Stringer for recognizing the urgent need to revitalize Penn Station," said Robert D. Yaro, president of RPA. "Penn Station offers a dismal experience for the half a million people who use it every day, and Madison Square Garden is one of the country's most outmoded arenas. We can create both a world-class station and the world-class arena, but this can't happen as long as Madison Square Garden is in its present location."
By alleviating severe overcrowding and improving station efficiency, a New Penn Station would shorten commute times and allow for more rail service. It also could be an extraordinary piece of civic architecture, one worthy of the busiest rail hub and the largest city in the U.S.
On April 19, RPA will hold a panel discussion on the future of Penn Station and Madison Square Garden at our annual Assembly in New York. We also look forward to working with the City Planning Commission, Madison Square Garden and elected leaders as they consider this issue over the next several months.