Madison Square Garden faced a tough crowd at Manhattan Community Board 5 Thursday, as the board voted against a permit allowing the venue to operate permanently above Penn Station.
Instead, the board backed a permit that gives MSG another three years.
The vote is advisory. But many New Yorkers who logged into the community board’s zoom meeting wanted to give MSG the boot.
What You Need To Know
- Madison Square Garden is seeking a permit to operate at its current location on top of Penn Station permanently
- MSG's current permit ends in July
- Critics of MSG's location want it gone, so that a newer, bigger Penn Station could be built in its place
“It should not forever roost above a bargain-basement Penn Station,” said Pamela Wolff of Save Chelsea.
“One of the worst mistakes is to allow Madison Square Garden to remain on top of Penn Station, which locks the busiest transit hub in North America below ground, in the basement and handcuffs any truly significant transit improvement,” said Eugene Sinigaliano.
He stands to lose his home in a building under a plan from Gov. Kathy Hochul that would see his building, and others, torn down to make way for skyscrapers. The development would fund a renovation of Penn Station.
MSG hopes to land a permit to operate the arena at its current location permanently. Its first permit in 1963 lasted 50 years, while the one in 2013 lasted just 10 years and expires this July.
Meanwhile, Hochul is pushing a redevelopment of Penn Station and the surrounding neighborhood that faces stiff opposition from some Albany lawmakers and residents.
But there are MSG fans who like where it is currently located.
After a Long Island Rail Road trip from Queens, James Ellerby and Melissa Wong are an escalator ride away from going to Madison Square Garden to catch a Rangers home game on Thursday.
“I think it’s super convenient when you compare it to other arenas and sporting events that usually require a car to access,” Ellerby said.
“It’s so much easier to commute on the Long Island Rail Road to come to games at Madison Square Garden or even just any event at MSG,” Wong said.
And they want the Garden to stay where it is.
The community board vote is advisory in nature and members have supported moving the arena to make way for a new Penn Station.
“We believe this permanent solution should be the relocation of Madison Square Garden,” said Layla Law-Gisiko, a Community Board 5 member.
In a statement, an MSG spokesperson said: “The special permit process is not about whether Madison Square Garden should move, and we have no plans to do so.”