Both the old Penn Station and the post office building were designed by the same firm — McKim, Mead & White.That plan probably had some support from Times management, which went on record recently as favoring the removal of Madison Square Garden from above the station.
But the development partners had a far more ambitious, $14 billion plan in mind. They sought to demolish Madison Square Garden, which sits over Penn Station, and build a new arena for the Knicks and Rangers inside the post office. With the Garden gone, they planned to overhaul Penn Station, erecting a glass-enclosed train hall, along with department stores and, nearby, office and residential buildings.
The complicated plan collapsed in 2008 because of the recession.
Whether the new train hall would have the grandeur of the original remains to be seen.
They also exhibit frustration with what passes for process in New York, in light of the new plan to move some community college facilities into the old post office building, and build some kind of additional waiting and ticketing facilities on the Eighth Avenue side.
“We do need to get going on this station,” said Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a civic advocacy group. “I’d like to see something exceptional done there.”Last December, I had this to say about procedural delays.
The long delay on the Moynihan project is typical of large, complicated redevelopment efforts involving partnerships between private developers and government, like Battery Park City, Hudson Yards or the rejuvenation of Times Square. The projects can languish through the ebb and flow of the economy, legal challenges and changes in Albany or at City Hall.
This outlander notes only that Pennsylvania Station was about five years in the construction, and five years to redevelop. The Empire State Building was less than five years in the construction.The hole at Battery Park is being filled in, but only slowly.