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IT’S TIME FOR NEW YORK TO RECAPTURE ITS  GREATNESS!

(RETHINKNYC) Sam Turvey, January 17, 2023

It’s time to lift our eyes from the sidewalks to the skies. We have weathered the worst of Covid. Now is the time to remember that New York is a city of greatness.

New York needs more than the current tired plans for Penn Station that would enshrine dated ways of thinking about transit, urbanism, and architecture in steel, concrete, and glass for a century to come.
 
What’s called for now is truly transformative solutions to the challenges we face.
 
In past pandemics, as the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Lewis has so aptly pointed out, great cities overcame their travails, in part, by building great, forward-looking public works projects, such as London’s Thames embankment, Philadelphia’s Fairmount Water Works, and Paris’s Champs Élysées.

We need to respond similarly and opt for greatness, not settle for more of the abject mediocrity of the recent past – such as continuing to use Penn Station as a terminal facility rather than as a through station, and continuing to keep it trapped in the basement of a sports arena.
 
We need to flip the equation: we need through-running, and we need a great above-ground station.
 
As for Madison Square Garden, it is the oldest arena in the NBA. It has moved numerous times before and should do so again – to an even better facility.
 
Would opting for greatness be expensive? Yes! The Governor’s plan is also expensive and will likely cost much more than what we propose. As Richard Ravitch said at a recent Crain’s breakfast, the “two governors” (of NY and NJ) need to get together and come up with a worthy plan for the future. If the whole region benefits from such a plan, it should be relatively easy to find an enlightened way to finance it, as opposed to employing the unusual dodgy methods of selling zoning variances and renewing a neighborhood by demolishing it.
 
The present plan would destroy much of the Penn Station neighborhood – displacing its residents and small businesses and eliminating countless historic, landmark-worthy structures.
 
Greatness is called for; this is no time to be doubling down on the terrible decision to tear down the original Penn Station and jam its successor into a soulless, subterranean hellhole.
 
Why we need a great above ground-Penn Station for today, tomorrow and beyond. 


First, it would improve the overall transportation infrastructure of the City by providing a modern, efficient hub which would anchor a unified regional transit network. The same connectivity the subways have brought to the outer boroughs would now extend to our neighboring counties and beyond.

Second, it would help to alleviate the overcrowding and congestion that currently plagues the station.
 
Third, it would provide a significant boost to the local economy by creating jobs and allowing for the development of the surrounding district with bona fide and legally required community input. This should all be done with an eye towards preserving or adaptively reusing the best of old while also allowing the development of new.
 
Fourth, it would improve the overall aesthetics and image of the City, making it a more attractive destination for commuters, tourists, and businesses. The brand impact of a well-done station will be inestimable.
 
Overall, a great Penn Station would make New York more livable and enhance connectivity in the whole metropolitan area.  

It’s time to create a place where, when you get there, you have to resist the temptation to shout, “I’ve arrived.”
 
On January 26, ReThinkPennStationNYC, through architect Richard Cameron, will present its vision for a modernized version of the original Penn Station alongside the plans and distinct visions of two other prominent architects, Vishaan Chakrabarti and Alex Washburn.
 
The general public is invited to this free event which will be held at the Great Hall of Cooper Union and also will be livestreamed via Zoom.  Details can be found here
 
It’s time to opt for greatness!

Source: Rethink NYC