MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — The show will go on at Madison Square Garden.
The New York City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and the New York City Council Committee on Land Use voted unanimously Monday to extend Madison Square Garden’s special-use permit for five years.
New York City Council member Erik Bottcher represents the area and said the plan will keep the stakeholders at the table. It calls for transportation management and truck loading to be addressed during the next five years.
“At this time, we cannot determine the long-term use of it as an arena. This will give space and time to figure it out,” Bottcher said after the vote.
Development around Penn Station has been swiftly moving.
As required to address the permit, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing and heard presentations from Madison Square Garden.
A 10-year permit was recommended to the council, and the deadline for a new agreement was extended to Aug. 28, 2023.
Madison Square Garden representatives have initially been requesting a permit in perpetuity.
After the vote, officials with Madison Square Garden expressed disappointment.
“A short-term special permit is not in anyone’s best interest and undermines the ability to immediately revamp Penn Station and the surrounding area. The committees have done a grave disservice to New Yorkers today, in a shortsighted move that will further contribute to the erosion of the City. That’s true now and will be true five years from now,” executives said in a statement.
Neighbors, advocates, and Manhattan Community Board 5 have also been a part of the process.
“We don’t want to turn the Garden dark. That would be silly. They sit on top of the busiest transit hub and it is a tremendous asset to them. They should give back, it’s very simple. It’s not to punish,” said Layla Law-Gisiko with Manhattan Community Board 5.
The MTA and Amtrak also seek additional transit improvements.
“Governor Hochul has made it clear that her priority is delivering a world-class Penn Station. Penn Station passengers are already experiencing improvements from the new LIRR Concourse and MTA will continue to work with our railroad partners and all community stakeholders to deliver the Penn Station that New Yorkers deserve,” said MTA Spokesperson Aaron Donovan.
The arena, which is privately owned and built in 1968, operates with a city-issued permit that allows a larger capacity. The permit has been previously amended and extended, most recently in 2013.
During previous discussions, a statement from Madison Square Garden referenced collaboration with the state and stakeholders “on making Penn Station a world-class transit facility.”
The full City Council and Mayor Eric Adams will also have to agree to the current plan.