Madison Square Garden and Penn Station: two places synonymous with the city and one another.
But as the MSG Entertainment Corporation seeks a renewal of its special operating permit, some members of the community surrounding MSG say the close proximity of the two is hindering improvements to Penn Station.
What You Need To Know
- The MSG Entertainment Corporation is seeking a renewal of its special operating permit, which is set to expire in July. The permit allows the arena to hold more than 2,500 spectators for any of its events or shows
- But at a virtual community board hearing on Wednesday, some of the more than 200 people in attendance said the company’s permit should not be renewed, arguing the close proximity of MSG to Penn Station is hindering improvements to the transit hub
- MSG has argued in a statement that the arena does not stand in the way of improvements to Penn Station
At a virtual community board hearing on Wednesday, some of the more than 200 people in attendance said the company’s permit should not be renewed, especially as Gov. Kathy Hochul continues to push a plan to upgrade the transportation hub.
“The Garden does not belong sitting on top of the busiest transportation hub in the western hemisphere,” said Robert Yaro, the former president of the Regional Plan Association. “We can’t build a transportation facility with the capacity needed for the 21st century with MSG sitting on top of it.”
The permit, which is set to expire in July, allows the arena to hold more than 2,500 spectators for any of its events or shows. MSG Entertainment Corporation is seeking a permanent renewal, so that it can operate between Seventh and Eighth avenues and West 33rd and West 31st streets forever.
MSG has argued in a statement that the arena does not stand in the way of improvements to Penn Station.
In the fall, Mayor Eric Adams said he was open to having conversations with MSG owner James Dolan about moving the arena. In February, however, he said he was happy with the arena staying at its current site.
Representatives from MSG say it would cost billions of dollars in public funding to uproot the arena, adding that no other major arena or stadium in the city has been required to obtain a special permit to operate.
“MSG owns the arena, the land it sits on and the air above it. There is no public lease of any kind,” said Richard Constable, the executive vice president of MSG. “And according to Empire State Development Development, any plan to move the Garden would cost approximately $8.5 billion in public funding, a sum better spent of New York’s many other priorities.”
Wednesday’s hearing marked the first step of the review procedure for the permit renewal. The next public session to discuss the future of MSG will be on March 8. Eventually, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and the mayor will have their say.
Prior to MSG’s current 10-year operating permit that expires this summer, it had a 50-year operating permit. Its current application for a permit in perpetuity is expected to take months to get through the approval process.