NYT Editorial Backs Replacement for Penn Station

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You don't have to be an architectural historian or urban planner to know that something is wrong at Penn Station. Every commuter knows it, every day. How could this station, tucked away under the manhole cover of Madison Square Garden, have ever seemed like a plausible alternative to the glory of the McKim, Mead & White station that was torn down in the early 1960's? This was a question very much on the mind of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan before he died. He proposed creating a new station in another McKim, Mead & White building — the grand post office called the James A. Farley Building across Eighth Avenue from the Garden. It seemed like a brilliant idea in its first incarnation. Then it was put on hold.

Last month the Empire State Development Corporation unveiled a new plan for Moynihan Station. It is a bold reinvention of the current Penn Station, which could become a truly breathtaking entrance to this city. But this plan is also a bold — and necessary — reinvention of the previous vision of Moynihan Station, which was flawed by the simple fact that the broad expanse of railroad tracks lies east of Eighth Avenue and not under the post office....

All of this depends on one thing: moving Madison Square Garden. In the draft environmental impact statement that accompanies this plan, the prospect of moving the Garden is described as an alternative. It is nothing of the kind. If the Garden does not move, its owners will renovate it where it stands, putting an end to any real prospect of expanding or improving Penn Station.

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