215 Park Avenue South, 1901
New York, NY 10003
212 962 6307

A Miracle on 34th Street

New York, NY


New Penn Station / Relocated Arena / Transit Oriented Density


Pro Bono for Community Board 5


16 Acres



Four years ago PAU envisioned Penn Palimpsest, a proposal completed on behalf of the New York Times to recycle and transform the existing structure of Madison Square Garden (MSG) into a new, safe, affordable, and light-filled Pennsylvania Station to serve all of the station’s commuters and straphangers including all of the new passengers anticipated when additional train capacity is added to the complex. Since 2016 several important changes have occurred in the area. Much of the anticipated redevelopment of the west side rail yards has been built and the High Line’s final phase has been completed. The new Moynihan Train Hall, a long-held dream from our late great Senator, is now open to serve Amtrak and some westbound Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) commuters. The State of New York has proposed the Empire Station complex, a substantial upzoning of the sites surrounding Penn Station, in order to help fund yet-to-be-described improvements to the main commuter station beneath MSG. We applaud the State not only for opening Moynihan, but for proposing this larger Empire Station plan in recognition of the fact that Moynihan will at best serve twenty percent of Penn’s 650,000 daily passengers, leaving most New Jersey Transit (NJT) and LIRR commuters to use the existing subterranean, substandard station. The fact that the vast majority of Penn’s riders will remain in the Garden’s sub-basement will become even more problematic once our sorely needed new trans-Hudson tunnels—known as Gateway/Penn South—add an additional 200,000 riders into the busiest portion of the bowels of existing Penn Station. Should density also increase in the district due to this upzoning, it will only add even more pedestrian congestion to the station and its surrounding sidewalks unless more public space is built.

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