For decades, New York has endured a clogged, dismal and unsafe Penn Station. But today the city moved a step closer to initiating a transformation of the station and Madison Square Garden above it, as a City Council committee voted to limit the Garden's permit to occupy its current site to 10 more years. If the full Council votes next month to approve the 10-year permit, the city and state will be able to begin the process of envisioning a plan for the site and the surrounding area, and identifying a new site for Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.
As Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have both noted in calling for a 10-year permit, it wouldn't be possible to overhaul Penn Station and accommodate the transit hub's growing traffic as long as it sits below the Garden. While the Garden has moved successfully before, Penn Station can't be moved because of the tracks that run beneath the station linking New York to the entire Northeast Corridor.
A new Penn Station will revitalize a neighborhood that increasingly has been left behind while the rest of midtown Manhattan thrives.
The Alliance for a New Penn Station, led by RPA and Municipal Art Society, believes that New York deserves a world-class station and a world-class sports and entertainment arena. With today's important vote, New York can begin to imagine this vision becoming a reality.