On Wednesday, the New York City Council voted to grant Madison Square Garden a limited 10-year permit to remain in its current location above Penn Station. This historic decision paves the way for New York to find a new home for the Garden in Manhattan and to remake Penn Station into a world-class transit hub. As Council Speaker Christine Quinn noted, New York should have a 21st century train station worthy of this great city, and significantly improving Penn Station while Madison Square Garden sits atop it has proven to be an intractable problem.
The New York metropolitan region needs a Penn Station that can accommodate our growing rail traffic and sustain Midtown's economic vitality. And the region will benefit from the development of a top-tier sports and entertainment arena in Manhattan. Some half a million commuters and visitors pass through Penn Station every weekday. They face severe overcrowding, grim corridors and confusing, shabby public areas. New York has endured this depressing state of affairs for half a century. With last week's vote, we can begin envisioning the day when their commutes no longer start or end in misery, when the nation's busiest transit hub also is a welcoming civic space, and when the station and the arena bring new life to the surrounding community.
The Alliance for a New Penn Station, a consortium of civic groups, businesses and individuals founded by Regional Plan Association and Municipal Art Society, looks forward to supporting the process of relocating Madison Square Garden, rebuilding Penn Station and revitalizing west Midtown.