Plans for a pretty new Penn Station

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SHoP Architects' vision for a new Penn Station. (SHoP Architects.)
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The voices calling for moving Madison Square Garden to make way for a less dismal Penn Station have grown more insistent lately, but none of them are talking in specific terms about what that new Penn Station might look like.

Today, the Municipal Art Society released the results of its "Design Challenge for a New Penn Station and Madison Square Garden."

Four architecture firms participated: SHoP Architects; H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture; Diller Scofidio + Renfro (which worked with former economic development corporation president Josh Sirefman); and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Unlike the existing, claustrophobic train depot (but quite like the one that preceded it), all of the architects call for an airy and light-filled Penn Station. 

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SHoP Architects envisions an expanded Penn Station terminal that would anchor a more robust neighborhood, as well as improvements to the train platforms below.

 

 

H3 calls for, among other things, "an eight-track high-speed rail expansion to the south," and a two-acre roof garden.

 

 

Diller, Scofidio + Renfro envisions "a city within a city, a porous and light-filled civic structure," that serves not just as a gateway to the city, but rather as a "a destination in itself."

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, meanwhile, envisions "a central, transparent Ticketing Hall" above concourses lined with retail.

MSG responded with the following statement: “It’s curious to see that there are so many ideas on how to tear down a privately owned building that is a thriving New York icon, supports thousands of jobs and is currently completing a $1 billion transformation. These pie-in-the-sky drawings completely ignore the fact that no viable plans or funding to rebuild Penn Station and relocate MSG actually exist. Not that long ago, MSG spent millions of dollars and three years exploring a move to the Farley building as part of the new vision for Moynihan Station. That plan collapsed for a number of reasons that did not involve MSG, but did involve many of the same people now pressuring MSG to move, including The Municipal Art Society, which created enormous obstacles to achieving the relocation. The restoration of Moynihan Station has been a 20-year discussion that has led to very little progress or funding. The fact that this exercise does not include anyone who actually has detailed knowledge of this issue or understands the realities of this complex project exposes this exercise for exactly what it is.”