MAS Releases New Report: Madison Square Garden and the Future of West Midtown
October 23rd, 2014, 5:28 pm
The report is the second in a series by the Alliance for a New Penn Station. The first report, Penn 2023, released in October 2013, summarized a new vision for West Midtown, including a comprehensive plan for the district; a completed Moynihan Station; an expansion of Penn’s transit capacity achieved through the Gateway Program and an expansion of Penn Station to the south; and construction of a new Madison Square Garden on a new site. Both reports offer analysis on the transit emergency in Penn Station, a facility originally designed to serve 200,000 riders a day, but that now serves some half a million, more than the daily impact at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark airports combined.
The report was released on the first day of the 2014 MAS Summit for New York City, which featured a panel called “Penn 2023: Where Will the Garden Go?” You can view a video of the panel discussion here.
Recommendations for Madison Square Garden
The Alliance’s analysis identified the Morgan Post Office and Annex as the most suitable future space for Madison Square Garden. The two block lot, bounded by 28th and 30th streets and 10th and 11th avenues, would allow for the construction of a safer, more modern Penn Station, the creation of new opportunities for retail, open space, and pedestrian amenities, as well as an improved stadium facility and new programming opportunities.
Also examined in depth are options for moving Penn Station to the Farley Post Office Annex located on 8th Avenue across the street from the current Garden and leaving Madison Square Garden in place atop Penn Station. The Farley option was found to be an exceptionally challenging site, sitting on top of landmarked property and active rail lines, and restricting opportunities for commercial development.
The Alliance also looked at leaving Madison Square Garden in place. This option greatly diminishes the opportunities for track and platform improvements at Penn Station, but available improvements could bring much needed light and air into the station, and better connect Madison Square Garden to the surrounding area.
Future reports by the Alliance for a New Penn Station will focus on the underutilized cultural richness of the Penn district and the numerous transportation, economic and development issues in West Midtown.