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

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…