They say that history repeats itself, but this is re-dunk-u-lous. Moynihan Station, the long-planned Penn Station expansion into the Farley Post Office that is intended to make up for the destruction of the late, great, original Penn Station (above) hasn't even been built yet but developers are already vying to build a new Madison Square Garden on top of and around it. And yes, this would be MSG number 5 for those of you keeping count at home.
The idea of moving the Garden isn't a new one, talk of a move started in earnest back during the great West Side Stadium Fight of last year, but we'd sort of hoped that an MSG move would be put aside now that the Jets are staying in Jersey. Guess not.
On Tuesday, the developers — Steven Roth of Vornado Realty and his partners at the Related Companies — sought to convince Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg that moving the Garden one block west to Ninth Avenue would open up a historic opportunity to transform a dowdy and claustrophobic transit hub, overhaul an important corner of the city and generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues.
Apparently Bloomberg's folks are listening to the proposal carefully (enter Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff: "It is an intriguing and bold vision for what is first and foremost an important transportation project for New York City. We look forward to exploring the details of the proposal.") but there are a few reasons why the current administration most likely won't go for the plan, most important being the aggressive fight the Dolans' put up to stop the West Side Stadium, a fight which Bloomie took personally - "officials on both sides added that Mr. Bloomberg intended to use the move" if it happens "to strip the Garden of a property tax exemption worth more than $10 million a year."
The proposal, according to the Grey Lady, includes "three soaring towers in a complex akin to the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. The towers would contain a mix of luxury stores, apartments, office space and a hotel." Not to mention yet another new plan for a new entrance into Penn Station.
Uhm, how many ways can we scream no to this one? Moynihan station is already years behind schedule and shows far too much promise to be derailed this far along in the game. Let's get it built, and built right, and then, sure, we can talk about moving the MSG. But Moynihan Station first, m'kay?
The Original Penn Station circa 1911 via Wikipedia.