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Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal Hearing

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  • Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal Hearing

    MSG vs CPC : Public or Private, Transportation or Arena, Today or Tomorrow?
    by Christine Berthet

    "Today, I attended an extraordinary hearing at the City Planning Commission where for once, bold and fundamental societal choices were being discussed overtly in a wholesale fashion, instead of the grinding game of planning jurisprudence which usually characterizes this institution.

    Madison Square Garden (MSG) is seeking a perpetual arena permit to renew its current 40 years old special permit. MSG also seeks to significantly increase its advertising presence by electronic signage on 8th Avenue across Farley station and to turn the 8th Avenue space in front of Penn Station into a”plaza ” with seating and other MSG advertisements. MSG’s arguments were the necessity for them to amortize the $ 849 millions in renovations they just spent inside the Garden (why did they spend the money without having secured the permit renewal first?) and to compete better with other arenas who have large electronic signs (read more revenues).

    Their opponents who counted the Regional Plan Association, the Municipal Art Society, Community Board 5 and Borough President Stringer urged the Commission to grant only a 10 year expansion to the special permit. They argued convincingly in favor of the need for expanding Penn Station to host the main node of the High Speed train corridor from Washington to Boston, the expanded access to New Jersey for Amtrak and expand the passengers capacity on platforms . Penn station was built for 125,000 passengers a day. Today it handles five times more , 600,000 a day . According to them , this would send a strong signal to Washington that we are serious about high-speed trains and create the momentum for relocating MSG and rebuilding Penn Station.

    When a commissioner asked why it was CPC ‘s role to make this large decision now, instead of adjudicating in a narrow sense the mundane permit renewal that is before them, the speaker responded that in this day of climate change it is critical that we reduce air travel and increase train travel. Bob Yaro suggested that it is time to muster the political will to create a deadline. Many speakers reminded the Commission that it was its duty to protect the larger public good versus the corporate interests. The Chair as well as commissioners acquiesced profusely.

    I cannot help wondering what part the Dolans’ role in the West Side Stadium Saga is playing in fostering such a spirited dialogue; Commissioner Burden was ever so politely grilling MSG on their use of the street for unloading and I have rarely seen the commission so deeply interested in trains, trucks, tracks, and tit-for-tat.

    Well, if this is what it takes to get a new Penn Station and high speed trains in the region, I am all for it! In a strange convoluted way, at least one good infrastructure decision will have been made as the result of the Hudson Yards Rezoning."

    To add my own though on this. When it was found that the Ozone layer was being destroyed by Freon, it manufacturer DuPont stonewalled this for years calling the destruction science fiction . They put their own economic interests ahead of the needs of the world. And I suspect MSG is putting maximum profitability ahead of the regions transportation needs and the worlds climate change needs.

  • #2
    Re: Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal Hearing
    • A Green, Ultra-Modern Makeover for America’s Busiest Train Station

    Penn Station is the most heavily trafficked train depot in the United States, a cultural icon, and sorely in need of a makeover. But upgrading this century-old station has been difficult because it’s underneath another thriving landmark, Madison Square Garden (MSG). However, a recent city ruling would end MSG’s lease on the land in 2023, so the Municipal Art Society of New York commissioned four prominent architecture firms to provide a vision for what the station could be without consideration for the Knick’s games and Phish concerts that are usually happening overhead.



    • #3
      Re: Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal Hearing

      Very interesting. The photos are beautiful but a bit like something out of Buck Rogers or are we already living in a Buck Rogers world? If they're planning to use at least two blocks I'm just wondering how many citibike stations they'll have to remove...ha ha!


      • #4
        Re: Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal Hearing

        they better not put my fav pizza place out of business- suprema is on that block they want to demolish


        • #5
          Re: Madison Square Garden Permit Renewal Hearing

          Oh, my goodness! All I can see is more traffic jams and overcrowding.