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Thread: New Penn Station (Moynihan Station)

  1. #1141

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    Good question concerning the Pennmark, Derek. Before I read your caption, I was staring at it, thinking, "I never remember noticing the mechanical junk on the roof before." Could you tell if it was missing the spires on the north side also?

  2. #1142

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    Yea, they're all gone. Maybe it's the cheap new owner of the building, Stonehenge Partners. Read more here.
    I posted some more pics in the Pennmark thread.


    Another of the post office.

  3. #1143

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    Anyone know why they removed those spires on top of The Olivia (The Pennmark)? When lit at night, they were the only thing the building had going for it.
    They shouldn't have stopped with the spires. That whole building is a waste of a prime location near Penn Station, (although it has the only multi-screen theater in that area)...

  4. #1144

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    Perhaps in 5 years, three of those buildings will be gone...

  5. #1145
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The 24-story pink + brown one on the west side of 8th between 33rd / 34th (aka 5 Penn Plaza ) could happily come down as well ...




  6. #1146

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    The 24-story pink + brown one on the west side of 8th between 33rd / 34th (aka 5 Penn Plaza ) could happily come down as well ...

    And that one is also lit up at night I believe. The nerve.

  7. #1147

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    Observer

    Spitzer Aide as Transit Savior:
    Arise Again, Moynihan Station!


    By Matthew Schuerman



    ‘I thought they got a little too cute,’ says former ESDC chairman Charles Gargano of the would-be Moynihan Station builders, Vornado and Related.



    On Election Day last November, Vishaan Chakrabarti, the name and face of the private developers that are planning to overhaul Pennsylvania Station and the area around it, called up Patrick Foye, an aide to Governor-to-be Eliot Spitzer, and asked him to have a meeting. The conversation went something like this:

    Mr. Foye: “How about tomorrow at 8 a.m.?”

    Mr. Chakrabarti: “Won’t you have a hangover?”

    Mr. Foye: “It doesn’t matter. This is important.”

    And so, just a matter of hours after Mr. Spitzer won, Mr. Foye—not even announced as chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation—began to chart the course of an entirely new office district with a double-headed train station. Since then, Mr. Foye and others who work for him have been moving forward quickly to get Moynihan Station back on track after its demise in the final months of the Pataki administration, expanding the scope of any project to include the so-called Plan B, which would involve a new Penn Station as well.

    Mr. Foye, according to sources both inside and outside the Spitzer administration, has organized a working group of representatives of the train lines that use the station—Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority—which has been meeting weekly with the developers, Vornado Realty Trust and the Related Companies, to understand the logistics of a new design.

    He has also, according to these sources, come to believe that the private developers need to share some of the approximately $1 billion cost of ripping Penn Station open to the sky and of earning undying fealty from the 550,000 daily commuters who currently snake around the subterranean tunnels that some have come to call “the pit.”

    THESE EFFORTS HAVE BEGUN TO PAY OFF.

    On Feb. 2, the ESDC signed a memorandum of understanding that extends the state’s option to purchase the Farley Building from the U.S. Postal Service, according to Postal Service spokesman Bob Anderson.

    Former Governor Pataki’s chief economic-development czar, Charles Gargano, had been trying to do the same—the purchase price was set at $230 million—but was unable to do so before he left office on Dec. 31.

    However, the option only lasts until the end of March, which suggests that Mr. Foye plans a quick purchase or will have to renegotiate yet another extension. An ESDC spokesman wouldn’t elaborate.

    In addition, Mr. Foye, who got to know Mr. Spitzer and his wife, Silda Wall, while all three were lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, has made the Moynihan pitch as part of his meetings with elected officials and civic groups.

    “We are taking a fresh look at each of the projects from the Pataki administration, and we are looking at them on an expeditious but deliberative basis,” Mr. Foye told The Observer.

    Mr. Foye and the developers declined to be more specific about any talks. But the interest Mr. Foye has shown in reviving and expanding the Moynihan Station plan has made some observers convinced that he has put it at the top of the new Governor’s economic-development agenda.

    But in doing so, this genial, bearded Long Islander is diving headlong into a pit of a different kind: Steven Roth, the chairman of Vornado, which already owns a number of buildings near Penn Station and a portion of its air rights, is known as a relentless negotiator. Jim Dolan, the chairman of Madison Square Garden, is known as a capricious one.

    The $865 million Moynihan Station plan—according to which the front part of the Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue would be turned into a train hall and stairs would be sunk below to meet the same train tracks that run below Penn Station—died in October when State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver blocked it.

    The current talks are focused on much broader plans, first floated by Vornado and Related more than a year ago, in which Madison Square Garden would move to the west end of Farley; the Pennsylvania Station would be redone; and that superblock, between Seventh and Eighth avenues and 31st and 33rd streets, would turn into what the developers like to call a new Rockefeller Center—two to four state-of-the-art office towers containing about five million square feet of office space.

    The inability to get Moynihan Station started before the end of his tenure was perhaps Mr. Gar*gano’s greatest defeat in his 12-year reign as ESDC chairman, all the more poignant because he was there when the state first took over the project in 1995 and shepherded it through several different *iterations as market conditions and Amtrak’s financial troubles changed its scope and function. Suddenly, in the last year, the developers’ ambitious plans to move Madison Square Garden remade the project yet again into something bigger than Mr. Gargano could control.

    In an interview with The Observer, Mr. Gargano said the developers subverted the approval process for Moynihan Station by drumming up support for Plan B among city officials and business and civic groups.

    “I thought they got a little too cute. They went a little too far trying to lobby everyone,” said Mr. Gargano, who is now advising his former boss on a possible run for the Presidency. “They recognized, especially Steve Roth of Vornado, what it would do in terms of value if they were able to move the Garden and have the air rights, that it would give them one to two billion dollars in profits, and, therefore, it was a multimillion-dollar deal for them. That was their motivation.”

    While Plan B first circulated publicly in spring 2006, its origins go back further, when, according to a source familiar with the original Vornado and Related bid, the developers mentioned the Garden swap and Penn Station overhaul as an alternative to their main proposal. That alternative went largely unnoticed inside and outside the ESDC for at least a year. The state publicized the winning bid as one that would have devoted the western end of Farley to vaguely defined big-box retail.

    By March 2006, the Related Companies had engaged a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm, Dutko Worldwide, to discuss the project with federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, which could fund at least a portion of the cost of the Penn Station overhaul. A real-estate industry source said, however, that the developers’ lobbying activities wouldn’t impact financing for the city’s other transportation projects, such as the Second Avenue Subway. The lobbyists, according to the source, are targeting agencies including the Federal Railroad Administration, which oversees funding for Amtrak and the nation’s railroads, rather than mass transit.

    EVEN WHILE THE DRAMA OVER the Moynihan Station approval was unfolding last fall, the developers were explaining the larger Plan B to members of the Spitzer camp, according to sources.

    Since then, the Penn Station project has become a regular feature of Mr. Foye’s presentations to a wide variety of supporters and public officials.


    One of his earliest meetings took place in late November or early December with Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the *chairman of the nonprofit organization’s public-policy committee, John J. Kerr Jr. The conservancy is one of two prominent groups that object to plans by the devel*opers to turn the elegant neoclassical foyer of the post office into a ticket-selling area for the Knicks and Rangers.

    “[Mr.] Foye said that he was listening to everyone and it was too early to say one thing or another, but he was very gracious about meeting with us early,” Ms. Breen told The Observer. “We think that this can be a great opportunity. It’s clearly great for economic development—the developers are going to do well, the Garden will do well, the improvements to Penn Station are a good thing. But everything started with the notion of a great train station at Farley, and we wanted to make sure that that wasn’t lost; and we wanted to make sure that there really was a separate great train station, and that it wasn’t just a forecourt to the Garden.”

    Kent Barwick, the president of the Municipal Art Society, another prominent group anxious about the Garden swap, said that Mr. Foye needs to be a vigorous negotiator on behalf of the public.

    “The Empire State Development Corporation has extraordinary powers. What we saw in the last few years was the state using those powers to achieve what the private developers wanted to do, without appropriate consideration for the public good,” said Mr. Barwick, who is planning to meet with Mr. Foye in the coming week or two. “You need a person—it could be a nicer Bob Moses, or an Eliot Spitzer who can read plans—someone who has the ability to push back when it is required.”

    Last month, Mr. Foye spent two hours talking about the project to the Friends of Moynihan Station, an advocacy group affiliated with the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit planning group.

    “He was very nuts-and-bolts. He laid out this and this and this—all the things that needed to get done to make this thing happen,” said Maura Moynihan, the daughter of the late Senator after whom the renovated Farley Post Office will be named. (She told The Observer the story about the post-Election Day meeting.) “He is this wonderful Irish gentleman from Long Island who must suffer the indignities of the pit on a daily basis coming in on the Long Island Rail Road. Everybody is stunned and amazed by the energy that the Spitzer team is bringing to this project.”

  8. #1148
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    Great news. Two cheers for clean, energetic government!

    (I'm saving my third cheer for when it is announced that this project will indeed preserve the retail post office)

  9. #1149

    Default I like the post office

    But if someone comes up with a truly awe inspiring plan that creates a new modern building with the stunning power of the old Penn Station, and it integrates Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit, I'll get out there with a hammer and chisel myself.

    I still say, tear down the post office, move MSG and build new office towers on that site, then tear down MSg and the hideous office tower on top, rebuild the old Penn Station with its glorious interiors on the original site as it was for the most part. It could even have some super modern addition on top like the Hearst tower.

  10. #1150
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Hammer and chisel? To tear down the Post Office building would be lunacy no matter what would replace it. I don't think that's actually been suggested by anyone.

  11. #1151

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    While it's too late to rescue the WTC from the evil that Pataki wrought, there's still time to build this one right. All that's needed are imagination, courage, civic-mindedness, arm-twisting and creative use of eminent domain. Clear the site by razing MSG and 2PP. Re-erect the closest-possible facsimile of the original Penn Station. Properly configured and with the addition of the new capacity planned beneath Macy's, it could handle the demands of all three railroads. Putting a railroad station anywhere other than between 7th and 8th Aves (and the subways beneath them) makes little sense. Move new office and residential construction and MSG to nearby blocks that actually need redevelopment. Do something good with Farley, and if something must be sacrificed, let it be the Farley annex. I think a hotel could work back there.

  12. #1152

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    Chelsea Now
    Volume One, Issue 18, February 2 - 8, 2007


    Two visions proffered for single regional rail plan

    By Chris Lombardi




    George Haikalis, a member of Com-munity Board 5’s Transportation Com-mittee, gave a shy smile under his white beard as he looked across the room on Wednesday night. “We are at a unique moment,” he said quietly. “We have two new governors who can join hands to make this a priority.”

    Haikalis, a committee member and veteran of the Tri-State Regional Planning Commission, wasn’t talking about the World Trade Center site. He was talking about changing the way tens of thousands of people enter New York City every day.

    According to New Jersey Transit, some 70,000 people stream across the Hudson River from New Jersey daily on New Jersey Transit and Amtrak, emerging just north of Chelsea. More than 40,000 of them jam Penn Station during rush hour, before hustling to their offices elsewhere in Manhattan. And the jam is only bound to increase. By 2020, New York City is slated to grow to 9 million people, while by 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, New Jersey’s 2000 population of more than 8 million is projected to increase by 16 percent, to nearly 1.4 billion. (?)

    Transit agencies and advocates in both states agree that a new tunnel with extra train tracks is necessary to handle the projected passenger-load increase, and this week New Jersey Transit announced progress on its new Trans-Hudson Extension Tunnel, conceived in 2003, which will add two tracks to transport twice as many trains into New York City every day. The plan also includes a second mini-Penn Station on 34th St., under Macy’s, to accommodate the extra passengers.

    But transit advocates like Haikalis, backed up by the Lackwanna Coalition, which represents New Jersey commuters, were at C.B. 5 this week questioning the Penn Station mini-terminal and urging a solution known as “regional rail.” Their proposal would create an interconnected rail network among the four railway systems that now serve the tri-state area and Manhattan’s two train terminals. Advocates claim that such a broadly conceived system could alleviate auto-traffic congestion and increase convenience, while stimulating the economy and fostering more sensible development.

    For at least five years, transit agencies have been working on ways to increase rail capacity across the Hudson River — a project they call Access to the Region’s Core. The Federal Transportation Administration, which administers federal mass-transit funds, recently green-lighted the release of an environmental impact statement on the Trans-Hudson Extension Tunnel and permitted New Jersey Transit to start the design process.

    The project is “going forward at a rapid pace,” according to New Jersey Transit spokesman Dan Stessel, with an “unprecedented level of support” from elected officials. “Governor Corzine says he’s determined to get shovels in the water” as soon as possible, added Stessel, who said that federal funds could then cover as much as half of the estimated $5–7 billion cost.

    But Haikalis and local engineer Joe Clifton, a fellow board member of the Regional Rail Working Group, offered C.B. 5’s Transportation Committee a different vision — one that had already been outlined by NJ Transit itself, which considered tunneling east of Penn Station and Macy’s and sending a third of its trains directly to Grand Central Station, where 40 percent of passengers are currently headed.

    Clifton, a lanky engineer with an untended mustache, spoke on behalf of that concept, as well as the group’s “regional rail “ approach.

    “East Side Access” (ESA), as they call it, would eliminate both New Jersey Transit’s planned new terminal and the Long Island Rail Road’s current plans for a similar terminal at Grand Central Station, instead making better use of existing tracks,” he said, adding that tracks and terminal space would be freed up by letting the more than 12,000 passengers going to the East Side (40 percent of the total) avoid Penn Station entirely.

    The result would cost less, increase capacity and “and get people where they actually want to go,” said Clifton. He set the cost of the East-West tunnel at $6.2 billion, versus approximately $21 billion for both the Penn Station and Grand Central mini-terminals.


    After Clifton’s presentation, some committee members were unimpressed. Committee chair John Mills said, “Penn Station certainly doesn’t seem under-utilized to me…it’s always packed.”

    Clifton smiled. “What if half the LIRR passengers disappeared?” he countered. “Remember, they’re gone, with [the] East Side Access [plan]. They’re on their way to Grand Central.”

    Despite the board’s skepticism, the advocates said the strongest barrier to the activists’ vision will be getting three transit organizations to agree to coordinate. But now that all three agencies have new directors, “a push from the top” — like Corzine or Spitzer — would get more response.

    Chelsea residents will have a chance to compare the two visions in the next few months. An exhibit sponsored by the Durst Organization called “Making the Connection: Moving Forward on Regional Rail” opens Feb. 8 at the Condé Nast Building at 4 Times Square.

    Meanwhile, a public hearing is scheduled for March 27 at F.I.T. on the New Jersey Transit proposal’s draft environmental impact statement.

    New Jersey Transit spokesman Stessel, who called its terminal “essential,” sounded weary of the advocates.

    “Respectfully…they need to get over it.”

  13. #1153

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    ^ Sounds like the right solution to me. It will gather steam as time goes by, basically because it's the right thing to do. Entrenched interests will oppose it. Interesting to see who'll win.

    London and Paris (RER} have both done this and it's been a big improvement over the preceding terminus-to-subway model.

  14. #1154

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    What's ignored is the planned commercial development at the Penn Station site and the eastern railyards.

    A decade from now, will 40% of NJ Transit riders still want to go to Grand Central?

  15. #1155

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    What's ignored is the planned commercial development at the Penn Station site and the eastern railyards.

    A decade from now, will 40% of NJ Transit riders still want to go to Grand Central?
    Maybe not, but perhaps 40% of Long Islanders will actually want to go to Penn Station at last.

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