NYP Makeover - could MSG be forced to move?

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FriskyFL

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Just heard this story on NPR "All Things Considered" this evening on my drive home...

"Every day, more than 600,000 thousand rail commuters navigate the crowded maze of tunnels and tracks that is Penn Station. Mass transit advocates would like to replace the aging station with a world-class transportation hub. But there's a big obstacle: Madison Square Garden, the arena that sits directly on top of Penn Station. And the Garden's owners show no signs of moving."

http://www.npr.org/2013/04/09/176713142/new-yorks-penn-station-makeover-faces-arena-sized-obstacle

It would seem inconceivable that MSG would be forced to move, but apparently MSG's original permit expired last year, and the local community board recently voted against extending it in perpetuity, but for only 10 years.
 

the_traveler

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There is talk of converting the Post Office Building right across the street into an extension of NYP, but that talk has been going on for years when I lived in upstate New York State! And I haven't lived in NYS in 20 years!
 

Ryan

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Does that mean that we can do away with John Tortorella and the NY Rangers as well? :D
 

Bob Dylan

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MSG is a Dump, every other NBA/NFL Arena is Much Better and Newer and of Course the Teams that Play there Suck too! :giggle:

(Don't let the Knicks Fool you, ask Spike Lee! ) And to think they tore down Beautiful Penn Station to build this Pit!! :angry:
 

MattW

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As a visitor who's first impression of the entire city was NYP, and the impression was "meh," something really needs to be done. Maybe not to the commuter rail side, but as NYP is the gateway for many first-time visitors by train, the first impression could use a bit of work. I'm not really saying Moynihan is the answer, but it should improve the appearance if not the operations of NYP. While I'm sure I and many other people would love to see MSG move so Penn could try and regain some of its former glory, I just can't see that happening. While I'm not intimately aware of the politics, economics, and social issues surrounding something like this, I wouldn't think that a move by MSG would come easily.
 

afigg

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The subject of moving MSG in 10 years was raised a couple of weeks ago by the Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and discussed on the Second Avenue Sagas blog. Stringer's idea is to remove the Garden and its support columns to extensively rebuild NYP with wider platforms. I don't see how that could be done without seriously disrupting station operations for years. NYP is a lot busier than it was in the 1960s when the original station was torn down. With the recent history of cost overruns on big station projects in NYC, the cost overrun on a major rebuilding of NYP (not the comparatively modest Moynihan station project), could even make the DOD blink.

A major issue is why would the Dolans move MSG? Where would they find a better transit location for a basketball. hockey, dog show stadium? One that not only has 2 NYC subway stations on either side, direct transit access from Long Island, New Jersey, and PATH only a block away? Has direct access from the NEC for fans coming from Philly, DC, Boston on Amtrak? Sure, NYP does not have Metro-North, but it may very well have MNRR New Haven and Hudson line trains going to NYP in 10 years. Madison Square Garden is at the best transit location in the entire US. Which makes it immensely valuable.

Of course, there is Grand Central which has MNRR, the NYC subway, and LIRR by 2019 (maybe). Ok, maybe the No. 7 line will be extended to Secaucus NJ in 15-20 years for direct NJ access. But proposing to build a new MSG over Grand Central is not going to get a positive reception. :giggle:

The Dolans are interested in profit. So they would entertain an offer to move MSG to a new site. A really, really big offer or otherwise tie up any eminent domain attempt in court for decades.
 

BCL

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A major issue is why would the Dolans move MSG? Where would they find a better transit location for a basketball. hockey, dog show stadium? One that not only has 2 NYC subway stations on either side, direct transit access from Long Island, New Jersey, and PATH only a block away? Has direct access from the NEC for fans coming from Philly, DC, Boston on Amtrak? Sure, NYP does not have Metro-North, but it may very well have MNRR New Haven and Hudson line trains going to NYP in 10 years. Madison Square Garden is at the best transit location in the entire US. Which makes it immensely valuable.
I dunno?

Maybe rent out the Barclays Center? How does the Staples Center manage two NBA teams and an NHL team? Maybe Nassau Coliseum?

However, Madison Square Garden is a huge brand name. They use the brand for their cable TV channel. I remember arriving there (probably should have taken the subway to get to Grand Central instead) and seeing a boatload of activity outside including ticket scalpers. You only need to get less than 20,000 people into there at a time. I've been to packed basketball games in Oakland, and that's serviced by BART, although there is a huge parking lot (not happening in Manhattan) and it's located next to a major freeway.
 

Tracktwentynine

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However, Madison Square Garden is a huge brand name. They use the brand for their cable TV channel. I remember arriving there (probably should have taken the subway to get to Grand Central instead) and seeing a boatload of activity outside including ticket scalpers. You only need to get less than 20,000 people into there at a time. I've been to packed basketball games in Oakland, and that's serviced by BART, although there is a huge parking lot (not happening in Manhattan) and it's located next to a major freeway.
Just because they move the stadium doesn't mean they have to rename it. After all, it isn't at Madison Square now.

In fact, before the current iteration was built, there were 3 other Madison Square Gardens (2 of which were actually at Madison Square).

At any rate, that's not how planning law works. The Garden is built under a Special Exception permit with limited duration. If the city decides not to extend it 10 years from now, it doesn't matter what the owners think. No Special Exception, no arena.

Besides, what pro team doesn't want a new stadium? Every other sporting franchise basically starts asking for a new new stadium after the first season in their new stadium.
 

tp49

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The Garden during last summer and IIRC for the next three summers is undergoing an extensive incremental remodel. Why sink all of that money into an arena only to lose it in ten years. Though it would be nice if they got rid of the Rangers. :D
 

BCL

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At any rate, that's not how planning law works. The Garden is built under a Special Exception permit with limited duration. If the city decides not to extend it 10 years from now, it doesn't matter what the owners think. No Special Exception, no arena.

Besides, what pro team doesn't want a new stadium? Every other sporting franchise basically starts asking for a new new stadium after the first season in their new stadium.
They're spending a billion dollars on a new renovation. I'm pretty sure they've researched the likelihood that they'll actually be forced to relocate for an expanded train station. I don't see it happening. MSG is considered the most expensive indoor arena in history and it would be highly unpopular to force them to move. They own it outright and are spending their own money to renovate it. They don't want a new arena, because a new one wouldn't be as valuable to them as having a renovated one in possibly the most prime real estate in the country. That is possibly the most ideal location for a basketball arena in the US.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/madison-square-garden-says-it-will-not-be-uprooted-from-penn-station/?ref=nyregion

The article states the most interesting reason why there was a 50-year special use permit:

It is possible to read the document and conclude that a 50-year term was chosen because Madison Square Garden Center Inc., the corporate predecessor to the Dolan family’s present-day Madison Square Garden Company, did not own the arena but instead held a 50-year lease from the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Today, however, the company owns the property outright, as it or its predecessors have since 1985.
 

benjibear

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The reason MSG may be spending money is to demonstrate that the arena is still a asset to New York. If they didn't spend money on it, it would be easy to say that the building is falling down and there is no other option but to tear it down.

Also, this gets into a discussion on what history do we want to preserve? While I agree MSG probably never should have been built there, it was built there and I feel that building is a key historic building for New York.

There is no easy solution here and the debate will probably go on for years.
 

BCL

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The reason MSG may be spending money is to demonstrate that the arena is still a asset to New York. If they didn't spend money on it, it would be easy to say that the building is falling down and there is no other option but to tear it down.
Also, this gets into a discussion on what history do we want to preserve? While I agree MSG probably never should have been built there, it was built there and I feel that building is a key historic building for New York.

There is no easy solution here and the debate will probably go on for years.
While they may not grant an indefinite permit, I could imagine 10 year extensions that are approved pro forma. They'll just go through the motions of hearings, then keep on approving extensions.

I do agree that it's a crazy design. I took NJ Transit from Trenton and the backup as we moved around a column taking up 3/4 of the width of the platform was long. I would have thought a better design would have been to set the columns between tracks.
 
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CHamilton

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There's now an online petition to deny the Garden a long-term permit.

We want a better Penn Station - No long-term permit for MSG

“One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat.” - Vincent Scully


Every weekday, more than half a million commuters and visitors scuttle through the dark and cramped passageways of Penn Station. Since 1963 the busiest train station in North America has been a hole in the ground beneath Madison Square Garden. Now, after fifty years, the Garden's special permit has expired, so there is finally an opportunity to fix Penn Station. We recommend granting the Garden a permit for 10 years, rather than the permanent extension they are requesting. This would give all stakeholders sufficient time to consider the best options for both Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. The City Planning Commission will vote on Madison Square Garden's application for a special permit on May 22nd, 2013. Please join Municipal Art Society, Regional Plan Association, Community Board Five, and many others in advocating for a new Penn Station.
 

stntylr

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The original Madsion Square Garden started out as a railway station so maybe the circle can be completed.

MSG is the second oldest NBA arena and under normal conditions the owners would be begging for a new place but where would be a better location? Real estate is so expensive in Manhattan. I don't think they would ever move
 

Bob Dylan

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The original Madsion Square Garden started out as a railway station so maybe the circle can be completed. MSG is the second oldest NBA arena and under normal conditions the owners would be begging for a new place but where would be a better location? Real estate is so expensive in Manhattan. I don't think they would ever move
Since the Nets moved to Brooklyn the Knicks could move to the Barn, er Arena in the Meadowlands that the Nets used to try to play in! New Jersey isnt as Expensive as Manhattan! ;)
 

BCL

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The original Madsion Square Garden started out as a railway station so maybe the circle can be completed. MSG is the second oldest NBA arena and under normal conditions the owners would be begging for a new place but where would be a better location? Real estate is so expensive in Manhattan. I don't think they would ever move
They've spend so much money on rebuilding the current arena. It's not antiquated and isn't ridiculously spread out like the pretty much abandoned place in New Jersey.
 

Shanghai

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There is talk of converting the Post Office Building right across the street into an extension of NYP, but that talk has been going on for years when I lived in upstate New York State! And I haven't lived in NYS in 20 years!
I think the extension into the Farley Post Office building will be a major improvement to NYP. It will offer more tracks & platforms

and improved movement of people throughout the station. As a frequent traveler of the station, I do not think spending billions on

a completely new modal center is a wise investment for the city.
 

John Bobinyec

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I think the extension into the Farley Post Office building will be a major improvement to NYP. It will offer more tracks & platformsand improved movement of people throughout the station.
Unless I'm mistaken, the extension into the post office does not change the tracks or platforms. Somebody should confirm that.

jb
 

Shanghai

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I think the extension into the Farley Post Office building will be a major improvement to NYP. It will offer more tracks & platformsand improved movement of people throughout the station.
Unless I'm mistaken, the extension into the post office does not change the tracks or platforms. Somebody should confirm that.

jb
I was under the impression that there would be four new tracks and the current platforms on tracks 1 to 4 would

be lengthened. Yes, I would like someone to verify.
 

jis

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I think the extension into the Farley Post Office building will be a major improvement to NYP. It will offer more tracks & platforms

and improved movement of people throughout the station.
Unless I'm mistaken, the extension into the post office does not change the tracks or platforms. Somebody should confirm that.
jb
I was under the impression that there would be four new tracks and the current platforms on tracks 1 to 4 would

be lengthened. Yes, I would like someone to verify.
John, is correct. There will be no new tracks or track capacity added as a result of the Moynihan Project. It just addressess pedestrian circulation and platform access. It does not change any track or platform layout, and hence also does not incrfease the number of slots available.
The lengthening of tracks 1 through 4 is a separate and currently unfunded project. For that matter Moynihan Phase II which is about converting the Farley post Office Building into the Amtrak Concourse is also currently unfunded in its entirety. Only Phase I that adds a better west end concourse abd access to platforms for tracks 5 and up IIRC is currently funded. Nothing above ground is part of that except for two additional entrances to the west end concourse under the Post Office Building.

Moynihan will not imrpove passenger circulation in the rest of Penn Station, other than to move the Amtrak crowd out across the street making a little more room for the NJT and LIRR crowd in the current station. It will also improve the health of many Amtrak passengers by forcing them to walk an extra half an avenue block to get to their trains from the Farley Building. :)
 

nferr

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MSG is going nowhere's. They just spent one billion dollars renovating it.
 
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