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“No need of a real estate deal to fix Penn Station”: Activists warn fellow New Yorkers

(THE URBAN ACTIVIST) April 2, 2022

Fear rarely suits New York. Scenes of kids in the 70s playing a roller-skate version of improvised hockey on a sidewalk or the street, despite the gangs and muggers roaming around, are relics of the old human-scale city gone long ago. However, some New Yorkers suggest that this improvised life at street level still lives in places such as in the frenzy commuting of Penn Station, whose cult chaos has taken over a neighbourhood with historic buildings and small businesses worth preserving. Meanwhile, others have welcomed big plans in this neighbourhood that will supposedly uphold the renovation of the much-hated Penn Station.

But activists warn; the proposed project by the mega-real estate firm Vornado Realty Trust to build ten giant glass towers around the station – a project that requires the demolition of historic buildings and evictions of residents – is not necessary in order to have a world-class transit hub. Misconception and the polarisation of New Yorkers over the issue may play into the hands of real estate interests. Again, the urban development of New York faces anger from all directions: for people to whom historical preservation and benefits at street level matters, New York is losing its distinctive character; to pro real estate planners and citizens that say opposition to these towers hinders economic growth.

Source: The Urban Activist