In the shadows of Madison Square Garden, a storied boxing mecca, there’s a political brawl between New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio going on over the future of the Penn Station.
It’s now entering “the championship rounds” after plans leaked of Governor Cuomo’s proposed re-envisioning of the neighborhood surrounding Penn. The plans did not appear to include input from his de Blasio or other local and community officials.
Mayor de Blasio weighed in Thursday.
“If we’re going to make decisions about a big swath of the city, the community has to be involved,” he said. “We have to abide by environmental rules and regulations. Any locality in the state should be very worried right now when they see that kind of proposal. Because if the state comes along saying they’re going to make New York City’s decisions, New York City’s power to make decisions about its own city – well then you could do it in Buffalo, Syracuse, or Westchester County or Nassau County. It’s a very, very dangerous precedent.”
But Governor Cuomo’s office is pushing back, saying all the hoopla over the leaked proposal is much ado about nothing, adding its existing plan to build a new train station across the street from Penn, in the old Farley Post Office building must also include improvements at Penn.
A statement from Governor Cuomo’s press secretary reads, in part, “Penn Station is currently untenable. It is congested, chaotic and poses a serious threat to public safety in this time of heightened terrorist threats…Our proposal is in accordance with all existing laws governing such projects in terms of planning, consultation with community leaders and elected officials, environmental reviews and local government reviews.”