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Current plans for Moynihan Station and the surrounding district

Moynihan_East_West_March_2008.JPG(updated: March 14, 2008)

Plans for Moynihan Station have evolved and grown since it was first imagined by Sen. Moynihan fifteen years ago. Here's what's currently in the works:

Create a new train hall the Farley Post Office (Moynihan West)
The Farley Post Office is located directly across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station. It was built at the same time as the original Penn Station almost 100 years ago by the same architects. The mail-sorting room, which is located behind the historic Post Office hall, will become a new train hall for Moynihan Station. This is possible because Penn Station's platforms run underneath the eastern half of the Post Office building; new stairs and escalators will give passengers direct access to the platforms from the new train hall. The Post Office's retail operations will remain in the historic Post Office Hall, while most of its back-of-house will move to other Post Office facilities between 28th and 30th Streets, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.  

Relocate Madison Square Garden
The western half of the Post Office block, where the Annex is located, will be the new home of the Garden. Architects have found a way to squeeze what is now a circular arena into a rectangular space without affecting any of the facades of the historic building; the roofline of the arena, however, will need to be about 30 feet higher than the current roofline. The Garden is also seeking to replace the west wall of the future train hall - now brick - with a large glass wall so the Garden may be seen from the train hall itself.
!   The Friends do not want to see this brick wall replaced with glass because it is historic; because three brick walls and one glass wall will make for a very imbalanced train hall, with all the energy going toward the Garden; and finally because it adds to the cost of construction and precludes the project from qualifying for historic preservation tax credits.

Rebuild Penn Station (Moynihan East)
Although no work will be done to the tracks and platforms, basically everything else in Penn Station will be rebuilt. Much larger LIRR and NJ TRANSIT train halls on Level A, one level up from the tracks. On Level B, a grand new Amtrak waiting room. Higher ceilings, wider hallways, more stairs/escalators, and natural daylight flowing in through the glass roof and openings in floors below. A re-clad 2 Penn Plaza with better access to the station from the street, and of course, a brand-new building in place of Madison Square Garden. On Level C of the train station - street level - huge new entrances to the station from Seventh and Eighth Avenues, and views down to the train halls. Also on Level C and above, at least 1 million square feet of retail.
!
   This is 6 times the amount of retail in Grand Central and 2.5 times the amount in the Time Warner Center, and of great concern to the Friends of Moynihan Station. Retail helps to activate a train station and pay for the building's maintenance, but Moynihan Station cannot look like the Manhattan Mall, from the inside or the outside.

Moynihan-Scope-Map-large.jpgAdd 7 million square feet of commercial space in the neighborhood
As an incentive for building a train station, the developers will be rewarded with the right to build 8 million square feet of office, retail and hotel space (this includes the 1 MSF in Moynihan East). These air rights must be exercised within an area determined by the City, which for now is defined as approximately from 29th to 35th Streets and from Fifth to Eighth Avenues. The specific sites for redevelopment have not yet been identified, with three exceptions: Both ends of the block between 33rd and 34th Streets and Seventh and Eighth Avenues will be developed with a total of 2.5 MSF, with most of the bulk going to the Seventh Avenue end of the block. Also, the block just south of Moynihan East will likely need to be acquired, in part or in full, by the State for any station off-site functions, such as loading docks, railroad back-of-house office space and mechanicals. The block will also likely be able to accommodate a couple million square feet of office space above.

Not only are these 8 MSF of development necessary for the developers to help pay for the station, they will also help to revitalize this part of Midtown.
!   The Friends of Moynihan Station are concerned, however, about where the development rights will land. Community Boards 4 and 5 are justifiably worried about the impact that tall towers will have on their neighborhoods, and historic preservation experts want to make sure that the historic assets of the area are preserved. The Friends are working to identify sites that we believe are appropriate for redevelopment.

Improve pedestrian conditions around the station
As a way to relieve pedestrian congestion on the sidewalks around Moynihan Station, the City is promoting a network of underground passageways, like Rockefeller Center's. This network would be far-reaching from Herald Square to the Hudson River, and up to 42nd Street. It would re-open the Gimbels Passageway that runs under 33rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue, and another long-abandoned hallway that runs under Sixth Avenue from Herald Square to the 42nd Street station on the F line. Construction of the network will be paid for by contributions from developers who build along the network and provide access to it, in exchange for an FAR bonus of 2.
!   The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a member of the Friends of Moynihan Station, is running a campaign to improve pedestrian conditions around Penn Station now. Also, Borough President Scott Stringer has proposed turning 33rd Street into a pedestrian-, bicycle- and bus-friendly street.

Read more about:
Project cost & funding estimates
Project timeline