Madison Square Garden On The Move?

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There are some people in New York who would rather see a train station on the site and move the arena elsewhere in Manhattan.

To some people, particularly in the New York City area, Madison Square Garden is known as the “World’s Most Famous Arena” although there may be some people living in Rome, Italy who might disagree because The Colosseum sits in that city. But there are people in New York who don’t really care, it is billed as the “World’s Famous Arena” and want to see the venue removed from its Manhattan perch between 7th and 8th Avenues and 31st and 33rd Streets. Madison Square Garden, which opened in February 1968, sits on top of a rail station. The site was once housed Penn Station which was razed beginning in 1963.

Manhattan Community Board 5, which is a locally appointed volunteer board which reviews planning issues, among other duties, voted in March to petition the New York City Planning Commission to approve renewal of the arena’s special use permit for just three years, after which it would be required to move. That permit expires in July. That permit allows events at the arena’s capacity of 19,800 people. Without the permit, the arena can host no more than 2,500 people. MSG is the home to the NBA’s Knicks, the NHL’s Rangers, concerts and other events. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Amtrak, and New Jersey Transit report to the New York City Planning Commission claimed that, for the arena to be compatible with safe and acceptable operation at Penn Station, James Dolan’s MSG representatives should talk to someone about a land swap that would allow for improvements at the station, and Dolan should contribute to those improvements. The report states that “MSG’s existing configuration and property boundaries impose severe constraints on the station that impede the safe and efficient movement of passengers and restrict efforts to implement improvements, particularly at the street and platform levels.” There have been three other Madison Square Garden venues in Manhattan.

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