Cuomo would rather not talk about a new Penn Station right now
Governor Andrew Cuomo would rather not talk about the notion, pushed by a determined group of high-powered urban planners, that Madison Square Garden should relocate to make way for a new Penn Station after its operating permit expires in a decade's time.
"I think that's something we'll think about in year nine," said Cuomo this afternoon, when I asked him about it.
Recently, an alliance of urbanists won an unexpected victory when the City Council and the Bloomberg administration extended the Garden's operating permit for just ten years, rather than in perpetuity, as Garden owner James Dolan had sought.
The Regional Plan Association and the Municipal Art Society, which together founded the Alliance for a New Penn Station, argue that the existing, overburdened, uncomfortably congested Penn Station can only be transformed into a gateway befitting New York City if Madison Square Garden moves to a new location that isn't right on top of it.
That Cuomo is not overly keen on the idea was reflected in his schedule today.
This morning, he attended the ribbon cutting for the $1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden and, sitting between Knicks legend Willis Reed and Garden owner James Dolan, marveled at the multimedia display hung from the ceiling of the Garden's new lobby.
"It is a great New York icon," he said, speaking to the audience of star athletes and sports reporters in the Garden's new lobby. "It's an international symbol for New York, Madison Square Garden."
This afternoon, when I asked him about the Garden and the prospects for its relocation, he went on in a similar vein.
"Look, Madison Square is there for 10 years," he told me. "There's a permit that's been granted by the city. Madison Square Garden just put $1 billion into Madison Square Garden. $1 billion is a lot of money. It was all private sector money. They built what is arguably one of the greatest arenas on the globe. It's going to be a great economic engine for the state of New York. I'm very excited about it."
Madison Square Garden C.E.O. James Dolan is a major donor to Cuomo.