NEW YORK - Madison Square Garden is one of a kind: A transportation hub with a gigantic sports arena on top of it. But three major transportation agencies say it's a one-of-a-kind that does not work.
A new report from the MTA, Amtrak, and NJ Transit states that MSG impedes "the safe and efficient movement of passengers." It also says that the heavy weight of the Garden bearing down on the tracks and platforms below limits their ability to improve the largest transportation hub in the U.S.
The report comes just as MSG is asking the city to extend its permit to operate the large arena, a permit which otherwise expires on July 24. This as a growing chorus of community leaders say putting MSG on top of Penn Station back in 1963 was a mistake.
"You don't see that anywhere in the world and in our country. We are the only city that decided to do something that stupid," offered Layla Law-Gisiko, who sits on Community Board 5 and is among those calling for MSG to be relocated. "Everybody says, 'Oh my God it's so big you want to move MSG!' It's actually not that ambitious; MSG has already changed locations four times in its history."
Transportation experts say it's all the more crucial to address the issue of incompatibility right now because more commuters will soon be coming through Penn Station via projects underway including the Gateway Tunnel being built underneath the Hudson River, and Penn Station Access coming in from the Bronx.
Hearings will begin on Wednesday regarding MSG's request to be granted a permanent permit. The City Planning Commission will hear testimony and then make a recommendation to Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council.