I am writing, as a concerned New Yorker, to urge you not to approve a special permit for Madison Square Garden (MSG). As you are aware, MSG received a 10-year special permit in 2013 when the first (50-year) permit lapsed. This extension was granted with the intent that MSG could find, and relocate to, a different site. Though several credible proposals and offers have been made for an alternate site in the last 10 years, nothing has been done.
With MSG moved, Penn Station—western hemisphere’s largest transit hub—could emerge from its current below-ground state and establish a street-level presence that makes it the strategic centerpiece of our region’s transit. It could also anchor a revitalized Penn neighborhood that combines the best of existing buildigs and new construction, not the gratuitous demolition of the neighborhood presently proposed by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State’s Empire State Development corporation (ESD).
To create an above ground Penn Station truly worthy of New York City, MSG must be moved. It was a very bad decision to combine Penn Station and Madison Square Garden in the 1960s and we should not be “re-upping” on this disastrous decision in this decade. The Dolans have had enough time to craft a plan—and have done nothing.
In addition, MSG—home of the Knicks and the Rangers—has enjoyed tax-exempt status for its entire existence at the present location. Other professional teams in New York do not operate with this style of exemption and contribute mightily to the public coffers. This has gone on long enough. The permit has an expiration date for a reason.
We cannot allow one organization to prevent what more than 8 million New York City residents and millions of other commuters deserve—a great Penn Station.
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