MTA Plans to Start Construction on MLK Holiday

(LEAPS) January 16, 2023

AN URGENT FOR ALL– Demonstration Tomorrow 9:00 AM – MTA Plans to Start Construction on MLK Holiday

LEAPS has received an URGENT call to support a group of senior citizens and concerned citizens who will demonstrating tomorrow morning, and if necessary, risking arrest, as a last drastic effort to try to stop the MTA from starting constructing on the Sub-station on 28th Street (see details below). Let’s support this community effort to defeat the MTA substation by joining them in a peaceful demonstration.

See you out there!   – Tomorrow, Monday, Jan. 16 – 9:00 AM – Bayard Rustin memorial plaque on 28th st.

It is incredible that the MTA and their contractor is planning on starting construction on Monday, January 16, the Martin Luther King Federal Holiday. This is a clear indication that the work on this site is being done buy non-union labor, since work that is done on a federal holiday under most union contracts would pay double or triple scale.

Community forces – LEAPS, Sen. Brad Holyman, the Penn South Board and others have pointed out that there is an alternative site that would not require the destruction of a community nor the massive expense of new construction. It is an abandoned Penn Station power plant on 31st Street, between 7th & 8th avenues. (would be in the path of Vornado). This would be ideal non-residential location for the Sub-Station.  instead of imposing it on a community which disproportionately has health considerations.

Below is the press release that went out yesterday afternoon to numerous members of the New York area press by the Concerned Penn South Cooperators, the group that has been fighting the 28th Street MTA Substation.

We urge you to come out tomorrow morning.

Full background information is below, including what legal steps have been taken to fight the substation.


Senior Citizens are going to risk being arrested Monday Morning to stop the MTA

Dear journalists or friends of journalists,

A group of senior citizens and other concerned New Yorkers are going to risk being arrested on Monday morning, Martin Luther King Day, in a last ditch effort to protest the building of an MTA high voltage electrical substation in the middle of a residential area inhabited mostly by seniors and other vulnerable groups. 

Besides seniors and families that live here, the Penn South buildings also include a United cerebral palsy residential facility; the Church of the Holy Apostles, which feeds and provides services to thousands of people daily ( largest of its kind in all of Manhattan); two access-a-ride stops and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which provides medical care and advocacy for persons living with HIV and AIDS.

Construction is scheduled to begin at 9AM Monday on an unwanted, unpopular invasion of our peaceful neighborhood by an MTA construction team who, starting then, is going to tear up our corner at West 28th Street and 8th Avenue for the next three years despite many other possible places to realize this horrific project. The MTA has not shared information about the other possible sites. They have metaphorically bulldozed us and Monday morning they will literally bulldoze this community which is united in opposition to their decisions and their secretive and arrogant process for making them.

Seniors will meet at 9AM near a plaque on W. 28th Street that honors Bayard Rustin, a former senior member of this community who was Martin Luther King’s right hand man at the famous March on Washington. The plaque declares his residence in this community a National Landmark. Also overlooking the site is the Hopper-Gibbons House, one of the few buildings in Manhattan that was a way station on the Underground Railroad on West 29th Street. It is very ironic that the MTA has chosen this particular time and this location to build their dangerous, invasive project.

We will peacefully stand in opposition to this project in the spirit of Bayard Rustin and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (as well as President Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt who were present when this Naturally Occurring Retirement Community [NORC], Penn South, was dedicated in 1962) by showing up Monday at 9AM and invite you to please join us and cover this.

Here is a link to a preliminary article I wrote about the project on behalf of our ad hoc group, the Concerned Penn South Cooperators, and why we oppose it.

Here are the legal steps that have been taken to stop the substation.

Here is a petition signed by over 1000 locals who are opposed to locating the substation here.

If you have any questions you can text me at 212 982 8454. I would be happy to call you back.


Mark Bloch

Senior Citizen and Penn South Resident