Moynihan Station Moves One (Possible) Step Closer to Reality

Moynihan Station Renderings (Empire State Development Corporation)

Moynihan Station Renderings (Empire State Development Corporation)

After years of delays and dashed hopes of development, the plan to extend Penn Station into the Farley Post Office across the street might finally—possibly—be on track. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Empire State Development Corp., the state economic-development agency, is looking for a broker to sell 1.5 million square feet of unused real-estate-development rights attached to the property.”

The hundreds of millions that this could generate would go towards transforming the Post Office into Moynihan Station. The new space would include a grand waiting area for Amtrak inside the building’s main hall. While no concrete plan or timeline is in place, the state’s request could provide significant funds to kick-start construction. Key word: Could.

Final Decision: City Council Votes for 10-Year Permit for MSG.  Madison Square Garden (Courtesy of doriandsp/Flickr) This afternoon City Council voted 47-1 to limit Madison Square Garden’s permit to 10 years. The arena, sitting atop Penn Station, had requested a permit in perpetuity, but a coalition of government officials, preservationists, and transportation advocates protested and pushed for a truncated 10-year renewal. Critics hope this term limit will ultimately encourage the re-location of the Garden to allow for a complete overhaul of the train station and an improved arena. According to DNA Info, the station is “North America’s busiest rail station,” and many have argued that it is beyond capacity and poses a safety risk for commuters. (Photo: doriandsp/Flickr)      

 

An Alternative Site for Madison Square Garden: Sorkin Studios’ Late Submission

East
Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Sorkin's proposal to place Madison Square Garden atop Grand Central Terminal.

Sorkin’s proposal to place Madison Square Garden atop Grand Central Terminal.

The Municipal Art Society recently commissioned and released four versions of a re-imagined Penn Station. It commissioned Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to prepare drawings of what a new terminal would like for the busiest train station in the country.

It has now come to light that actually a fifth concept was prepared but not presented at MAS’s “press conference.” The design by the firm Michael Sorkin Studio builds on MAS’s legendary 1970s protest against the destruction of Grand Central Station. In that protest Jacqueline Onassis famously joined forces with other powerful Manhattanites to stop a proposed Marcel Breuer high rise slated to be built above and across the southern front of Grand Central.

Continue reading after the jump.

Speaker Quinn Backs Ten-Year Term Limit for Madison Square Garden

East
Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Madison Square Garden (Courtesy of doriandsp/Flickr)

Madison Square Garden (Courtesy of doriandsp/Flickr)

Consensus among the city’s political players is growing in favor of the relocation of Madison Square Garden from its home atop Penn Station. Yesterday, City Council held a public hearing to discuss the future of the Garden and the overcrowded train terminal. Filmmaker Spike Lee, surrounded by an entourage of former Knicks players, testified on behalf of the Garden. According to the Wall Street Journal, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn expressed her support of a ten-year term limit for the arena in a letter addressed to the Garden’s President and CEO, Hank Ratner, on Wednesday. The owners of the arena have requested a permit in perpetuity, however, several government officials and advocacy groups—including Borough President Scott Stringer, the Municipal Art Society (MAS), and the Regional Plan Association—have called for limiting the permit to 10 years. This comes after the City Planning Commission voted unanimously for a 15-year permit extension.

Four Firms Radically Re-Envision a New Penn Station and Madison Square Garden

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
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SOM Reimagines Penn Station for MASNYC Design Challenge (Courtesy of SOM)

SOM Reimagines Penn Station for MASNYC Design Challenge (Courtesy of SOM)

When Madison Square Garden’s 50-year special permit expired last year, it launched a fiery debate over the future of the arena atop Penn Station.  Critics, urban planners, and government officials have called for a 10-year term limit to encourage the relocation of MSG allowing for an overhaul of the crowded station. Today the Municipal Art Society of New York unveiled four different visions for a re-imagined Penn Station and MSG from firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

Continue reading after the jump.

Lights, Camera, Demolition: New Play Honors Old Penn Station

East
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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Penn Station, Interior, Manhattan 1935-1938 (Courtesy The Eternal Space)

Penn Station, Interior, Manhattan 1935-1938 (Courtesy The Eternal Space)

While the future of the current Penn Station will be up in the air for some time, a theater group plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Penn Station’s destruction, which takes place on October 28. Taking place this fall, playwright Justin Rivers and director Barika Edwards will present The Eternal Space, a play that chronicles the demolition of the architectural monument and acts out debates over historic preservation that are still relevant today.

According to the play’s website, the set will transport the audience back in time: “Using the latest in projection technology, the photographs will speak for themselves making the audience feel as though they are sitting in the station itself.” Present photographs are also used to create the station in its current form and to show the passing of time.

Architecture and urban planning have taken center stage before in performances such as In the Footprint: The Battle over Atlantic Yards, Murder, Love, and Insanity: Stanford White and the Gilded Age, an opera about Robert Moses, and a series of plays by Moshe Safdie’s son Oren.

Opposition to Madison Square Gardens Heating Up

East
Friday, March 29, 2013
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Madison Square Garden. (Thanos Papavasiliou / Flickr)

Madison Square Garden. (Thanos Papavasiliou / Flickr)

Madison Square Garden has been on the move since its inception in 1879 as a 10,000-square-foot boxing, bike racing, and ice hockey venue in an old railroad depot at Madison Avenue and 26th Street. The facility later moved into an ornate Moorish-style building designed by famed Stanford White, architect of the Penn Station, which the arena notoriously replaced at its fourth and current home on 33rd Street in Midtown (after a brief stop on 50th Street). Now, if community boards, civic and planning groups, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer get their way, the venue will be sent packing once again.

Continue reading after the jump.

No Slam Dunk for Madison Square Garden: Community Board Refuses Arena’s Use Permit

East
Monday, February 18, 2013
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Madison Square Garden (Courtesy of doriandsp/Flickr)

Madison Square Garden. (Courtesy doriandsp/Flickr)

It has been a rough year for Madison Square Garden. First, upstaged by the arrival of the brand new Barclays Center, and now, the Penn-station-topping arena faces an uphill battle to renew a permit that allows it to function as a sports venue after Manhattan’s Community Board 5 voted down the extension request.

Read More

Proposal Aims to Put Penn Station’s Move Back on Track

East
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
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The James Farley Post Office (Courtesy of Cristian/Flodigrip's World/Flickr)

The James Farley Post Office. (Courtesy of Cristian/Flodigrip’s World/Flickr)

The plan to relocate Pennsylvania Station to the James Farley Post Office across the street has been slow in coming. The developers, Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust, are now revisiting a previously-rejected proposal to move the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) to what will be Penn Station’s new home, called Moynihan Station—named after Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who first introduced the idea in the 1990s.

The New York Times reported that the college would theoretically occupy 1.1 million square feet of the building, and in return, the developer would take over BMCC’s campus downtown. But, it looks like government officials still have their reservations. Some progress has been made, however. The state has provided around $300 million for the construction of a new passageway and two new entrances leading to Penn’s train platforms. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designed the plans for the renovation of the station.

Quick Clicks> Forgiveness, Hiroshima, Farmers Markets, & Missing Maps

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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Pop-up confessionals in Madrid. (Marta Ramoneda/NYTimes)

Pop-up confessionals in Madrid. (Marta Ramoneda/NYTimes)

Pop-Up Forgiveness. With Spain in the midst of an austerity plan, the NY Times reported that Madrid and the Catholic Church have spent $72 million for festivities centered around the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, which has drawn criticism from many in the city. Among the improvements lavished upon Madrid are 200 pop-up confessional booths in Retiro Park. Perhaps city leaders doling out funds will be among those in line at the booths.

Reminder! Tomorrow, Wednesday August 17th, the International Center of Photography will hold a panel discussion in conjunction with the exhibition Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945. The discussion will feature authors Erin Barnett, Adam Harrison Levy, and Greg Mitchell who will speak about the exhibition’s compelling photographs of post-bomb Hiroshima along with a discussion of censorship and documentation of the the attack.

A farmers market in Jackson, Mississippi. (Natalie Maynor / Flickr)

A farmers market in Jackson, Mississippi. (Natalie Maynor/Flickr)

Fresh Jobs. Data from a USDA report released last week indicated that farmers markets are on the rise in the United States. The report counted 7,175 markets, a 17 percent increase since last year. States with the largest growth were Colorado, Alaska, and Texas, representing a robust local and regional food system. Grist and GOOD broke down the report.

Where’s the Map? Transportation Nation asks, Where’s the Amtrak map at Penn Station? It seems as though travelers are missing out on the opportunity to visually place their train journeys. As journalist Mark Ovenden said,“maps are part of the journey, and we shouldn’t forget that.” You can ask for a paper fold-out version, which pales in comparison as its streaking red lines give little real indication of the train’s path.

Breaking Bricks at Moynihan Station

East
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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Moynihan Station Rendering (Courtesy Moynihan Station Development Corporation)

Moynihan Station Rendering (Courtesy Moynihan Station Development Corporation)

Moynihan Station might not be welcoming its first passengers for years to come, but a heavy-hitting group of officials gathered at the James A. Farley Post Office to sledge-hammer a cinder block wall and declare Phase I ground officially broken.

Read more (with renderings!) after the jump.

Lost in Penn Station

East, East Coast
Thursday, March 4, 2010
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Moynihan Station is meant to adress the deplorable architecture of Penn Station, but its greatest fix could be to the confusing signage. (Courtesy NYMag)

With any luck, Moynihan Station will finally get off the ground thanks to last’s months grant of $83 million in stimulus funds. Having gone through what seems like dozens of iterations, it’s unclear exactly what shape the new station will take, but we do have one piece of advice for whatever cabal of designers takes up the massive project: Don’t forget the signs. While no hardened New Yorker would admit to getting lost in Penn’s warren of tunnels and concourses, Slate‘s Julia Turner uses the underground mess as Exhibit-A of bad signage for her series running this week and next about just how important wayfinding is in our increasingly confusing world. As Turner puts it, signage is “is the most useful thing we pay no attention to.” Read More

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