City Council approves 10-year limited permit for Madison Square Garden

Architecture firm H3's produced this rendering of a new waterfront Madison Square Garden as part of a competition spearheaded by the Alliance for a New Penn Station. Credit: H3 Hardy Architecture.
Architecture firm H3′s produced this rendering of a new waterfront Madison Square Garden as part of a competition spearheaded by the Alliance for a New Penn Station. Credit: H3 Hardy Architecture

It looks like Madison Square Garden will be looking for a new home soon: The long-awaited City Council vote for a 10-year permit passed 47-1 today.

The owners of the Garden had requested an in-perpetuity permit, which would have allowed them to remain at that location atop Penn Station forever. The Alliance for a New Penn Station, a recently formed community group, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other elected officials have argued that it is imperative that Penn Station be expanded and remodeled, which cannot happen unless Madison Square Garden is relocated.

“We need to make sure that Penn Station becomes what we need it to be,” Quinn said before the vote this afternoon, “a really 21st-century grand entrance into the greatest city in the world.”

She added: “Not, I guess, what Sen. Moynihan or others have described as a bunch of rat tunnels that lead people in and out of the city every day. That’s not appropriate.”

Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron was the one dissenting vote. Barron said his “no” vote was unrelated to the push for a new Penn Station, but was out of indignation that the Garden has remained at that location “paying little or not rent to the city for years.”

The 10-year permit continues that agreement, Barron said.

“I just think that they should pay the city their fair share of rent,” the Councilman insisted, calling the long-standing agreement equivalent to being on welfare.

Barron said the new permit should not only have changed the agreement so that the Garden would be required to pay rent going forward, but should also have mandated that the Garden pay back rent.

The Garden did not respond to a request for comment, though their owners have persistently balked at the proposal of relocation.

The council-approved permit is, for the most part, binding: The mayor can veto it, but the council could then override his veto.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s spokeswoman Julie Wood affirmed the mayor’s support for a new Penn Station, stating that improving the transit hub was “our goal from the outset.”

Bloomberg had been a proponent of the City Planning Commission’s proposed 15-year permit, which advocates for the Penn Station revamp. The initiative initially received some support, but was ultimately balked at due to a clause the commission said would allow the Garden to remain at the site in perpetuity if they struck a deal with the railyards that operate in Penn Station.

The Garden can reapply for a longer permit at any time, but now that the council has voted, any change would require full public review and go through a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Madison Square Garden Company provided the following comment in response to the 10-year permit: “Madison Square Garden has operated at its current site for generations and has been proud to bring New Yorkers some of the greatest and most iconic moments in sports and entertainment. We now look forward to the reopening of the arena in Fall 2013, following the completion of our historic three-year, nearly billion-dollar transformation, which will ensure our future is as bright as our celebrated past.”

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Pioneers for domestic violence push on

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. Two decades have passed since the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the country. But in the 20 years…

Local

Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…

National

Black and white are the new orange at…

By Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail…

National

Traps set after reports of giant snake on…

New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Music

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks more accessible than Animal…

Believe it or not, Avey Tare — the man in the mustachioed mask pictured here in the pool of blood — may have made the poppiest music of his career.

Entertainment

‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…

Movies

Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.

Music

Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.