Today Governor David Paterson announced conditions related to the future of Moynihan Station at New York Building Congress forum. Kent Barwick, President of Municipal Art Society, commented on the Governor's plans:
“The original Penn Station, while architecturally spectacular, was primarily a visual symbol of a great transportation system. The tunnels that lead into that station, which connected New York City to the mainland for the first time, were engineering marvels of the time. The Penn Station architecture was important and beloved, but the infrastructure it housed was a critical element of New York City’s rise to its position as the nation’s greatest city.
“Paterson reminds us that, at this time in our history, it’s time to revive the railroad, and we couldn’t agree more with his priorities. We must put transportation first. Penn Station was built in the beginning of 20th century, and we are confident that it is possible now, at the beginning of the 21st century, to accomplish the Governor’s transportation priorities while also creating the great entryway into New York City that Senator Moynihan envisioned.
“Paterson’s plan of investment in the economy and our rail system shows a comprehensive grasp of all of the issues that the station embodies, from infrastructure to architecture. When MAS conducted a poll last year, we learned that people were dismayed with the inefficient and sloppy management of Penn Station. We know it will be difficult to work through the management problems with the three railroads, but we are confident it is possible.
“We support the Governor’s approach and vision and we are pleased that the Port Authority has been given responsibility for this project -- they have the capacity, resources and management to bring this project to fruition. We look forward to deputy secretary Gilchrist’s plan of action.”
Today on WNYC’s Morning Edition, MAS President Kent Barwick described the public benefit of Moynihan Station and suggested that the State should consider using its powers of eminent domain to take the Garden's property. From WNYC:
“The state has been willing to use its powers to take land for Bruce Ratner in Brooklyn to do Atlantic Yards or to take land in Morningside Heights away from private property owners to give to Columbia. Those are arguable public benefits, but there’s no question about the public benefit of having a great new rail station. This is the most important project in New York and is the single most important step in getting the West Side developed which we need for the future of the city. And so the public benefit is clear and ultimately if the private property owners who everyone has been trying to deal with for years can’t be brought into a realistic arrangement then the state should consider using its powers to take the property.”
Municipal Art Society President Kent Barwick is featured in a short interview [Kent Barwick, Municipal Art Society] by Gideon Fink Shapiro in today's Gothamist. Highlights include:
How important is the outcome of this project to the future of New York, compared to other large projects on your radar?
This is probably the most important transportation project on the agenda of New York, and has the most promise for the future. We think the redevelopment of Penn Station as Senator Moynihan envisioned will be the greatest catalyst to the Far West Side. It is as important to the development of the West Side as Grand Central Terminal was to Midtown.