Letter to Amtrak, MTA, NJT: Lack of Master Plan for Penn Station is Deeply Disappointing

March 9, 2022

Mr. Anthony Coscia
Chairman of the Board
Mr. Stephen J. Gardner
President and CEO
1 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001

Mr. Janno Lieber
Chair and CEO
2 Broadway
New York, NY I0004-2207

Ms. Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti
Board Chair
Mr. Kevin S. Corbett
CEO and President
New Jersey Transit
NJ TRANSIT Headquarters
I Penn Plaza East
Newark NJ 07105

Re: New York Penn Station

Dear Ms. Guitierrez-Scaccetti, Messrs. Coscia, Gardner, Lieber and Corbett:

I write to you on the planning for New York City’s Penn Station. I am both the President of the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) and a member of the Empire State Development (ESD) Citizens Advisory Committee on the same subject. As I am sure you know, MAS has long taken a deep interest in the Penn Station and its redevelopment. I have attached our recent comments to ESD on the DEIS for the General Project Plan (GGP.) However, those comments are as directed to all of you as they are to ESD.

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One of the entrances to Pennsylvania Station. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, NHRHS2010. Modifications: photo cropped.

I am deeply disappointed that the public has yet to see a consolidated, coordinated master plan for the transportation complex. I respect that the complexities of the project are myriad. However, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a world-class train station to replace the overworked and dismal station that exists today. I do not need to tell any of you that the re-envisioning and rebuilding of this complex is long overdue for reasons of public safety alone.

However, despite the patience of my organization and many other civic organizations who have been calling for a consolidated plan, we have seen nothing. Our collective clock for ensuring that Federal funding will pick up its share of this new complex is running out.

It would be an unacceptable nightmare for this generation of New Yorkers and many to come, if what comes out of the process you should be undertaking together is three stations, planned independently of each other, Moynihan Train Hall, Penn Station, and the Expansion. We urge you to develop and present to the public a rational, coherent, and thoughtfully designed consumer-oriented master plan with a strong, striking above ground presence.

The master plan for the station, other associated public infrastructure and public realm must be made clear to the public. It is long past time for the public to have a full picture of the comprehensive improvements that I sincerely hope you are planning on its behalf.

Without that reveal, we may very well fail to take on the risks that such a project inevitably requires of all of us, financially and in terms of the disruption of our city and communities.

Yours truly,

Elizabeth Goldstein Signature

Elizabeth Goldstein
President, Municipal Art Society of New York

cc: Hope Knight, Pres ident & CEO-Designate and Acting Commissioner

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