• Empire Station Complex, aka New York Pennsylvania Station

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by STrRedWolf
Ken W2KB wrote: Tue Apr 18, 2023 10:39 am Definitely agree. I plan to attend the Heliosphere Con, only a 45 minute drive so don't need a hotel room, 28th-30th this month here in NJ. The Con is requiring proof of vac, masking in all areas except the restaurant and eating area, and outside the building gathering area. But for that, I would likely not attend. The Filk Ontario con I attended near Toronto, Canada last summer had similar policies and only one or two COVID cases were reported, likely contracted just before the con. I may attend the upcoming Balticon, not sure yet, and will take Amtrak from Newark, NJ (to keep somewhat on topic of trains :wink: ) P.S. I do have a couple of the masks of which I think you speak. :-)
Ah! Balticon's near me but that may not be worth going because they haven't announced a Ghost of Honor there yet (it's a tradition). My office was two blocks north of the hotel (I've been moved to perma-virtual). If you do go, give me a ping privately on how to get there from Baltimore Penn.

Tying this back to the thread topic, sure... you could build some more mixed office and condo space next to a major transit hub. You'll get the living spaces rented out, sure... but the office space while you got a glut of it? That's what concerns me. Meanwhile, you could rebuild the hotel with apartments up top and private elevators, get revenue from the tourists and the renters (which would come faster), and then not worry about the mess that is MSG...

...unless the plan is to rebuild Penn Station completely and plunk the Hotel Pennsy on top of it, which really would be interesting.
  by STrRedWolf
A little bit more about what's on top of NYP then, old Madison Square Garden. The past few months, MSG's management has gotten into some hot water:
  1. First, they're getting sued from their shareholders over a merger deal.
  2. Second, the shareholders, their lawyers, and the lawyers' entire lawfirm is banned from MSG, Radio City Music Hall, and other properties MSG's owners have. They use facial recognition to enforce the ban, which caught wind of the press...
  3. Third, NYC's liquor board is investigating through some weird legal framework that may yank the liquor license and expose a lot of shenanigans done by MSG's management...
  4. And now, the local community board has issued an advisory saying that MSG should relocate to across 7th avenue... where the current governor wants to build office space in lieu of the torn-down Hotel Pennsylvania, and give them 3 years to do it.
You know... I kinda like the idea of them moving MSG. Just have them take that block, have tunnels for transit access, and then you'll have room for a new NYP, but also that office space, condo space, hotel, etc. Maybe move the church over. It'll be a better use of the air rights.
  by Jeff Smith
Editor’s note: New LIRR concourse at Penn Station offers preview of what’s to come
" https://www.cityandstateny.com/opinion/ ... me/385295/
Some lawmakers have pulled their support for the governor’s proposal after developer Vornado Realty Trust put its plan to build several skyscrapers in the area and help fund the project on hold because of a slowdown in the commercial real estate market. Those lawmakers may want to rethink that after checking out the new LIRR concourse. The ceilings were raised up to 18 feet, the main corridor between Seventh and Eighth Avenues was substantially widened and bright new LED lights were installed. New walls, signage and electronic screens offer a modern look compared to the discount shopping mall effect that existed before, complete with mirrors that give the impression of more space.
  by Jeff Smith
New Penn Station overhaul proposal adds Vishaan Chakrabarti to design team: https://www.6sqft.com/new-penn-station- ... sign-team/
...ASTM North America and architecture firm HOK are pitching to government and infrastructure stakeholders a new plan for the overhaul of Penn Station. As first reported last month by the New York Times, the plan involves demolishing the 5,600-seat Theater at MSG on Eighth Avenue to make way for a new street-level entrance and building a 90-foot-tall glass podium around Madison Square Garden.

Inside, the transit hub would feature 55-foot ceilings above a new passenger concourse and a mix of retail and waiting areas. A new train hall built between 31st and 33rd Streets would be “wrapped in a 100-foot-tall glass enclosure,” according to the Times.
  by Gilbert B Norman
While when I "come out", my venues have names such as BAM, Carnegie, and David Geffen; I can't recall ever being near the current edition of MSG.

The venue has had four different locations over the years. I've been around long enough to have attended events (circus, boat show) at the third venue that was located at 8th Ave and 49th.

The present MSG is approaching sixty years of age. That appears far beyond the usual "shelf life" of sports venues nowadays. It will be much easier to extract $10 for a hot dog and $15 for a beer from patrons in a spanking new venue rather than some run down dump.

Now so far as Mr. Wolf's immediate, there could well be a hotel as part of the Penn Station redevelopment, but again I note, do not expect such to be a $150ni "Econotel"; more likely will be a $650ni "Luxotel". That is simply what the clientele Vornado will wish to attract expect.

Incidentially, "a good chunk" of Rockefeller Center will be redeveloped - also by Vornado. That will include a conversion of existing office space to a 200 room "Luxotel" to be managed by some "swishy" overseas concern. Oh, and "starting at $1.5M" condos will be there as well.

Expect the Empire State Building to soon follow suit.

The Moneybag population seems to want now to live and play in Midtown (maybe work as well); fear not, there will never be a Ghostown Manhattan.
  by Jeff Smith
NY Post
MSG negotiating deal to sell former Hulu Theater for $1B to make way for Penn Station overhaul
ASTM pitched a plan in March to renovate Penn Station as a cheaper alternative after a previous $7 billion MTA proposal to overhaul the Midtown transit hub was postponed.

Under ASTM’s plan, the developer would tear down the theater and build a grand new entrance on Eighth Avenue across from the new Moynihan Train Hall. It would also manage the station for 50 years.
The developer would also build a rectangular glass base surrounding the Garden, allowing natural light into the basement of the train station from the west and east.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Another "hat in the ring" from yet another developer:

New York Times

Fair Use:
A private development firm with an alternative vision for the remaking of Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station said on Wednesday that its plan would be significantly cheaper than a rival proposal backed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The new plan by ASTM North America involves overhauling Penn Station, the busiest train hub in the United States, and wrapping Madison Square Garden in a towering stone facade. Its unveiling occurred days after Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York signaled that the state was ready to move forward with a renovation.

ASTM officials said at a presentation on Tuesday that the firm’s plan was better than the one backed by the M.T.A. because it would be $1 billion cheaper and result in a more unified train hall.
Could have figured this whole fiasco was going to become one big "free for all"; especially when these developers have the scent of public funds.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Time for the architects to "weigh in":

New York Times

Fair Use:
If the latest flurry of news around two dueling plans to fix New York’s Pennsylvania Station has left you scratching your head, you’re not alone. Various officials I have spoken with are also fuzzy on details.

The only thing everyone seems to know for certain is that nothing meaningful ever really happens to improve North America’s busiest and most miserable train hub, despite decades of demands and promises. Hope has long gone to die on the 6:50 to Secaucus.

But now may actually be different.
But lest we not forget this journalist is The Times' architecture critic. Concerns we hold here that first and foremost is that NJT would like a facility into which they can "funnel" all their DL&W, NY&LB, CNJ, and if they can get the needed funding for the "Loop" @ Secaucus, the ERIE as well. NJT's interests are best served with an "infrastructure first" approach.

I think "we" here at this Forum hold same.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Not sure, but maybe this interview with The Times' architecture critic (whose "Notebook" I previously posted) might break new ground. Also I cannot be certain whether or not its readable here (love some feedback on this point) as I'm fresh out of Gift Articles (Gray Lady only lets even print subscribers have ten a month)

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/12/nyre ... =url-share

Fair Use:
[Journalist] We learned last month that a private development firm had come up with a renovation plan for Penn Station, a potential competitor to a proposal that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is working on. The Times’s architecture critic, Michael Kimmelman, wrote that the alternative plan was better than the M.T.A.’s. I asked him to explain.

You say there’s a lot to like in the alternative proposal for Penn Station. Like what?

[Critic] For starters, it has a kind of seriousness and plausibility that other proposals that have come and gone didn’t have.

One reason for that, the main reason, I think, is that the person behind this plan is Peter Cipriano, who runs ASTM North America, an infrastructure development firm that has built lots of toll roads in Europe and other places.

Cipriano spent at least a couple of years quietly, behind the scenes, talking to Amtrak, talking to the people at Madison Square Garden, trying to amass a realistic and detailed picture of what it would take to do something with the station that did not involve moving the Garden itself. And so when our colleagues Stefanos Chen and Dana Rubinstein broke the news that this “other” plan existed, it already had a lot of specificity.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Literailman, the number of us around here, who can claim to have seen "Old Penn" diminishes with every passing year. The Late Tom Nelligan, Randy Resor (Nellie Bly), Noel Weaver, along with my "still hanging on" self all used it as paying passengers or operating employees.

I think to a man we all agreed that eyesore had to go; speaking for myself, good riddance.

Needless to say, to resurrect it with its 1900 vintage design simply fell as a "thud" with me.
  by Jeff Smith
I remember quite clearly that Mr. Weaver had no love for the original Penn. Magnificent architecture? Sure. Functional? I can't say. But I do know what replaced it was a crime against humanity, and is thankfully being improved. I know not what will come of the "Empire Complex", but I just don't see Dolan moving, so it will have to allow for the Garden to stay while restoring some sense of grandeur.
  by sandcastle
An earlier article may have provided better coverage of this concept. https://nypost.com/2023/06/28/astm-unv ... -overhaul/

Does anyone know how current Penn Station operations and maintenance costs are and how they are funded?

Once construction on the site was completed, ASTM would remain involved to oversee operations and maintenance at the revamped Penn Station site for a 50-year term – during which it would receive annual payments from Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit.

ASTM officials said the annual payments were expected to be about $250 million – money that would cover any maintenance costs and be “constrained” by the station’s financial performance.
ASTM’s team called the $6 billion price tag a “fully wrapped” solution for the project that included the cost of construction, design, property acquisitions and long-term asset management.

The firm said it would commit $1 billion in “upfront equity” to acquire necessary property at the site. A further $2 billion would come from public funding – including a projected $1.5 billion Federal Railroad Administration grant derived from the Biden administration’s bipartisan infrastructure bill and $500 million in state funding from New York’s existing appropriations budget.

The remaining $3 billion would be drawn from loans through the Department of Transportation.
  by Tom V
Madison Square Garden is old, regardless of the renovations they did in the public arena areas it's still old. Most MLB, NFL, NHL and NBA franchises have venues that are much younger than MSG. It's unthinkable that Garden management wants to just keep rehabbing a 60+ year old venue instead of building something remarkable. Look at the Sphere that just opened in Las Vegas, built by MSG. Imagine something like that in Manhattan, near Times Square or on the Hudson River in Hudson Yards.


There are several places to put a new MSG:
Hudson Yards, Pennsylvania hotel site or as part of the new Port Authority Bus Terminal the agency is building.