Editorial: New York should find amicable way out with Madison Square Garden to transform Penn Station

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As Crain’s New York company Senior reporter Aaron Elstein writes in this week’s cover story, the conditions are once again in place to consider the prospect of moving Madison Square Garden to make way for a new and, most importantly, safer Penn Station.

President Joe Biden wants nothing more than to invest billions of dollars in the country’s infrastructure. The president commuted daily from Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington, DC, during his term as a senator, earning him the nickname “Amtrak Joe.” A new and improved Penn Station would undoubtedly serve as a trophy for the President’s ambition.

Let’s not forget that the garden is threatened with eviction in 2023. This is because in 2013 the city council voted 47-1 to renew the special permit that allows the garden to sit on top of Penn Station. until 2023. This 10-year extension was probably granted to give It’s time for the owner of MSG to move out.

Instead, its owner, Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., invested more than $ 1 billion in renovating the place. This investment alone makes it highly unlikely that MSG CEO James Dolan will move without a fight.

Of course, we are not advocating a prolonged legal battle with Dolan. A better solution would be for both parties to come up with an out-of-court exit plan, which would allow Dolan to create a bigger and better entertainment facility.

A reimagined new Penn Station would be a huge asset to the city, right up there with Grand Central Terminal, Bryant Park, the High Line, Moynihan Train Hall and Times Square. These spaces provide a safe place for tourists, residents and commuters to congregate and experience New York’s uniqueness.

Make no mistake, a large project as complex as the relocation of MSG and the construction of a new Penn Station will require enormous political will and coordination. Lack of courage and funding doomed earlier plans.

But now, as the city reinvents itself in the wake of a global pandemic, now is the time to turn to the stars.

“It’s time to think big and create a Penn Station that works for everyone who uses it,” said Layla Law-Gisiko, a Community Board 5 official and an NJ Transit passenger, in our article this week. “The stars might never line up that way again.”

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