When Governor Cuomo revealed his plans for a new Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex early last week, things seemed to be moving full steam towards a 2020 completion date thanks to flashy renderings and the selection of a high-profile developer-builder team. But architect Vishaan Chakrabarti was not convinced, and he and his firm the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism decided to create their own vision, one that repurposes Madison Square Garden, a facet of the plan he feels Cuomo failed to address.
Madison Square Garden
Vishaan Chakrabarti reveals idea to repurpose Madison Square Garden as part of the Penn Station overhaul, Fri, September 30, 2016
Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo revealed plans to transform a revamped Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex into a “world-class 21st century transportation hub.” Despite the flashy new renderings and promise of a 2020 completion date, not everyone is sold on the plan, including Vishaan Chakrabarti, former principal of SHoP Architects and founder of the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism. As outlined in the Times, he feels that Cuomo’s scheme has one glaring omission–Madison Square Garden. Instead of demolishing the arena, as earlier plans had called for, Chakrabarti proposes repurposing it and “using its stripped skeleton to make a glass pavilion, which becomes a neighborhood gathering spot, not just a station.” The venue would then move to the west end of the Farley Building.
A 1971 issue of the New Yorker described Evel Knievel as “a thirty-two-year-old native of Butte, Montana, who makes his living by riding a motorcycle at high speed up a wood-and-steel ramp, off the top, and into the air, with the intention of landing it on another ramp some distance away.” Today, we’re all familiar with the images of videos of the famed daredevil jumping over things on his Harley, but 45 years ago, Knievel was making his first trip to NYC.
Madison Square Garden was hosting an event called the Auto Thrill Show, and as part of it, Knievel jumped over 10 vehicles, nine cars and one van–the max that could fit in the space–to a crowd “worked up to a point of high tension, apprehension, and excitement.” These feelings weren’t based on the length of the jump (he had set a world record earlier that year when he made it over 19 cars in Ontario, California), but rather the mere 75 feet of concrete between the end of the takeoff ramp and the beginning of the landing.
If you walk by Madison Square Garden today, you’ll likely notice a group of people snapping photos of the street sign at the southwest corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue. That’s because yesterday a temporary honorary street name was added in memoriam of Muhammad Ali (h/t Untapped). The sign that reads “Muhammad Ali Way” is positioned in front of a digital billboard that features another tribute.
Rendering for a proposed new MSG by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Moving MSG to make room for a bigger, better Penn Station train hub would be really expensive and probably not a good idea, according to a new report by transit think tank Rudin Center for Transportation Policy. Commercial Observer reports that the just-released study outlines the concern that moving the arena would come with a price tag of over $5 billion, take, like, forever, and would generally “become an urban planner’s worst nightmare.” The study refers to the proposed overhaul of Pennsylvania Station and the idea of extending it to the post office off Eighth Avenue as well as suggestions by urban planners for relocating MSG.
- If we’re ever going to get a new Penn Station Madison Square Garden will have to move, so a group of urban planners has proposed relocating the arena to a nearby post office.
- Ghislaine Viñas’ colorful and eclectic loft design seamlessly blends together in Tribeca.
- Ever wonder about those strange faces on the Woolworth Building? We’ve got the answers, as well as ten other fun facts about the landmark.
- Lots of Basketball player/real estate news this week. Jason Kidd puts his Hamptons mansion on the market for $7.995 million; Carmelo and LaLa Anthony check out a $15 million Chelsea penthouse; and Brooklyn Nets all-star Joe Johnson shops for a home in DUMBO’s Clocktower Building.
- Terra cotta in New York City: Our favorite buildings adorned in ceramic.
Images: Greenwich Street loft via Ghislaine Viñas (L); Woolworth Building detail via Library of Congress (R)
If there’s one thing that all New Yorkers can agree on it’s that Penn Station is pretty awful. And if we’re ever going to get a new home for NJ Transit, Amtrak, and the LIRR, Madison Square Garden will have to move (just don’t tell any die-hard Rangers fans that).
The Alliance for a New Penn Station, a coalition of the Municipal Art Society and the Regional Plan Association, is proposing in a new report (revealed at this morning’s MAS Summit) that the world-famous venue take up residency in the Morgan Post Office and Annex, occupying the block bound by 9th and 10th avenues and 28th and 30th streets. The mail sorting facility site is large enough to accommodate a new state-of-the-art arena and is just a quick walk to Penn Station. The coalition told Capital New York: “Relocating the Garden to this site will provide the city with a new arena and allow for the reconstruction and expansion of Penn Station, each of which can be designed to vastly improve the conditions of the district.”