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MAS Hosts “Next Steps” Panel, Paterson Wants Summit on Big Projects, and other news

program moynihan planning panelists

Last night, the Municipal Art Society convened a panel to discuss next steps for Moynihan Station and the priorities for the Far West Side.

Panelists included: Kent Barwick, president, Municipal Art Society; Richard L. Brodsky, assemblyman, New York State Assembly; Anna Hayes Levin, chair, Community Board 4; and Daniel A. Biederman, president, 34th Street Partnership; and Kathryn S. Wilde, president and CEO, Partnership for New York City. The moderator was Charles Bagli, reporter, The New York Times.

Pointing to a projected map of the Far West Side (pictured below and available for download here), Kent Barwick noted a lack of planning and coordination. “We’re dealing with mostly state projects being built by people who apparently don’t run into each other in the halls of Albany,” he said. It is essential that the public sector build the infrastructure to create the conditions for development – and “there is no theory in which Farley (Moynihan Station) is not the first step,” said Barwick. This is the challenge inherited by Governor Patterson and “if New York doesn’t grab this opportunity it will be a shame.”

“I still think moving MSG makes sense,” said Anna Hayes-Levin. She admitted that the Garden is currently out of the picture, but she said establishing some real leadership at the state level could bring the Dolans back to the table. “That’s what was missing before,” she quipped.

map moynihan planning far west side

Meanwhile, up in Albany, Governor Patterson signaled that he is taking important steps to establish a strong role in Moynihan and other key projects. According to the Daily News, Paterson said that he wants to convene a summit involving the key parties of the projects in need of “real serious conversation” – Moynihan Station, Ground Zero, Hudson Yards, and Javits Center – an idea proposed by the New York Times in March.

“I think they can be resurrected,” he said. “That’s why I would like to bring all those parties together to perhaps decide where are the priorities, No. 1, and secondly, what is achievable, and thirdly, what is not achievable.”

Today, the editorial boards of the New York Times and the New York Observer jumped into the tussle between Sen. Schumer and Mayor Bloomberg over who should be in charge at Moynihan. In “Saving Moynihan Station,” the Times declared: “It is time to give the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey the lead role rebuilding this major gateway.”

There are many compelling reasons for giving this job to the Port Authority. It appears to have $2 billion to contribute, a very healthy start. Also, the Port Authority, which builds and maintains major public facilities, has hundreds of engineers, planners and experts. Transportation is their thing — bridges, ports, airports and, yes, train stations.

Today’s Port Authority also has the political leadership — and the transparency — needed to move forward successfully on this complicated project.

The Observer said the vision for Moynihan Station remains intact and should “keep moving.”

Both Moynihan Station and Hudson Yards would bring sizable, long-term benefits to the city’s economy. The main thing is to get them both fully on track now, while Mr. Bloomberg is still mayor. There is no guarantee his successor will share his vision and commitment to the large-scale, transformative, private-public projects that bring out the best of New York.

According to the Observer, Mayor Bloomberg today pointed to the gubernatorial roller coaster in Albany to explain the troubles for his economic development agenda – all the more reason to get behind Governor Paterson’s efforts to get projects under control.

“The chaos in Albany was not good for us,” he told reporters. “I’m not disparaging what they were trying to do, it’s just that when you change administrations, it does slow things down, and nobody expected when the administration changed a year and a third ago, that a year and a third later, they would go through the same process.”

This is a tune the mayor has been singing for a few days now—in London, he was more explicit, saying, “When Eliot Spitzer came in, he basically stopped every project that the Pataki administration negotiated, saying he wanted to look at it.”

We will have plenty more from last night’s event in the next few days.

Read “Saving Moynihan Station,” from The New York Times

Read “Keep Moving on Moynihan Station and Hudson Yards,” from The New York Observer

Read “Gov. Paterson Wants Sachs Break,” by Kenneth Lovett for The Daily News