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A New (Old) Vision For Penn Station

Michael Kimmelman, newish architecture critic for <em>The New York Times</em>, adds his two cents to the decades old discussion of how to improve Penn Station. His solution starts with moving Madison Square Garden.
February 9, 2012, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Kimmelman lays out the key elements of the ongoing argument for the need to renovate Penn Station, "probably the busiest transit hub in the Western world," and the sad reality that current plans to renovate the Farley Post Office building as Moynihan Station would only improve conditions for 5% of its daily passengers.

I don't think many would quibble with the need to improve Penn Station, but what has eluded the dozens of developers, planners, architects, and public officials over the years is an achievable plan to rehabilitate the existing Penn Station. Of course, Kimmelman's idea for removing Madison Square Garden is not new. As recently as the height of the building boom in 2007, planning was far along (led a public/private development partnership) to provide a new basketball arena in the western half of the Farley Post Office building, allowing for the wholesale renovation of the existing Penn Station.

So, what has changed since 2007, besides the crash of the real estate environment that made such grand plans seem achievable? Kimmelman hopes that the proposed redevelopment of the Javits Center along with "the glamour of a new arena alongside the High Line, with the boon of the No. 7 extension and the added benefit of dedicated bus service from Penn Station to 34th Street and 11th Avenue," will provide an adequate draw.

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Published on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 in The New York Times
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