Statement in Response to the Governor’s Penn Station Announcement

September 6, 2018

This morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo presented a series of planned improvements at Penn Station including the creation of a new entrance at 33rd Street. MAS issued the following statement in response, which was updated at the conclusion of the presentation.

Statement by the Municipal Art Society of New York

We applaud the Governor for his continued attention to improving Penn Station and his investment in the long-overdue creation of Moynihan Station. Today’s announcement suggested a broader commitment to neighborhood planning and rebuilding our beleaguered transit hub, which would go beyond the incremental enhancements we have seen so far. If so, this signals an important turning point for the West Midtown and our entire region—and not a minute too late.

Penn Station is at a breaking point, a crisis that didn’t happen overnight but was created out of generations of neglect. Although worthy, the recent and proposed station improvements make only modest progress toward resolving the most urgent priorities at Penn: public safety inside the station and overcrowding on the NJ Transit and LIRR lines, which constitute 80 percent of the traffic in and out of our city’s main transit hub. As MAS’s 2014 report Shaping the Future of West Midtown outlines, addressing those critical priorities would require the relocation of Madison Square Garden, which is no small task. Nor is the completion of Gateway, which we agree is of the utmost importance.

We hope today’s announcement is an indication that the Governor intends to grapple with the complex, long-term planning required to truly rebuild and deliver the new Penn Station that our city deserves. With five years left on Madison Square Garden’s operating permit, the time to act is now.

For further comment, contact Meaghan Baron, (212) 935-3960

Read more about MAS’s Penn 2023 initiative

The neighborhood surrounding Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, as seen from the air.
The neighborhood surrounding Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, as seen from the air. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, William John Gauthier.

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