June is turning out to be a good month in New York City for rock ‘n’ roll. In the coming days, Bruce Springsteen will return to Broadway, the Foo Fighters will perform at Madison Square Garden, and The Strokes are taking on Irving Plaza. All performances will be at 100 percent capacity and for fully vaccinated fans only.
Madison Square Garden
Two major sports arenas in New York City will serve as polling sites for the general election in November, providing a socially distanced way for residents to vote in person. The city’s Board of Elections announced that Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center will both be Early Voting and Election Day poll sites, the result of a deal made between players of the National Basketball Association and the league to resume playoffs after teams refused to play following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The agreement involved several social justice initiatives, including the use of NBA arenas across the country as voting locations for the upcoming election.
To show support for New York City’s essential workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, a number of buildings turned blue Thursday night. Madison Square Garden, One World Trade Center’s spire, Beacon Theatre, Pier 17, Hudson Yards’ Vessel, and more join more than 100 landmarks across the country as part of the #LightItBlue campaign. The nationwide lighting will occur weekly every Thursday.
Rendering of new entrance on 8th Avenue to Penn Station via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is returning to one of his favorite infrastructure proposals: the overhaul of Penn Station. During an event on Monday hosted by the Association for a Better New York, the governor announced plans to build the Empire Station Complex, a station that would link a modernized Penn Station, the soon-to-be-open Moynihan Train Hall, and a new terminal one block south of the existing site. The plan, first introduced by the governor in 2016, would add eight new tracks and increase train capacity by 40 percent at the station, which currently serves more than 650,000 passengers each day.
MSG reimagined as a cemetery (L); Memorial walls in the subway stations (R). Via DeathLab
The rant that traveling via Penn Station is enough to kill you just took on a whole new meaning. Untapped Cities shared this vision from Columbia University’s DeathLab (yes, this is a group dedicated to dealing with death in the city) that reimagines Penn Station and Madison Square Garden as a giant cemetery and public space. The general idea is to be more eco-friendly and accessible. Not only will the human remains be used to fertilize the gardens, but family members and the general public will be able to record digital memories to be stored on a central server.
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.
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.