Manhattan politician Erik Bottcher floats MSG
On Wednesday, council member Erik Bottcher suggested relocating Madison Square Garden in an effort to improve the underground transit system at Penn Station.
“We need a new Penn Station, but we’ll never have the world-class trainroom we deserve as long as Madison Square Garden sits on it,” said the politics tweeted. “No serious effort has ever been made to identify alternative locations for MSG. It has to happen.
We need a new Penn Station, but we’ll never have the world-class trainroom we deserve while Madison Square Garden sits on it. A serious effort was never made to identify other locations for the MSG. It must happen. pic.twitter.com/J508uDeqOL
— Erik Bottcher (@ebottcher) June 15, 2022
The council representative’s comments come as New York struggles to upgrade the 34th Street train station, despite years of attempts and the successful launch of Moynihan Train Hall, which sits across from the arena, and started operating fully last year.
The state also solicited bids from contractors to work on a project $7 billion overhaul of Penn Station, the governor announced earlier this month. This plan does not include any major changes to the garden.
City Hall, led by Mayor Eric Adams, declined to comment on Bottcher’s tweet. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
For more coverage from Erik Bottcher and Madison Square Garden, visit amNY.com.
Governor Hochul, who took office after the former state executive Andrew Cuomo resigned last year amid allegations of sexual harassment, and is seeks to win the governorship in 2022, may not want to deal with the construction of another potential stadium, after leading the state to shell out funds for a A $1.4 billion stadium for the hometown Buffalo Bills.
Currently home to the Knicks and Rangers, Madison Square Garden was built in 1964, when railroad mogul Graham-Paige commissioned the building to increase rail traffic to the Big Apple.
After years of debating the location of the future arena, the city finally landed at the corner of 34th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.
Before the pandemic, in 2019, more than 600,000 passengers commuted through Penn Station every working day. During this time, the arena has developed a reputation as a historic stadium for basketball and hockey, with countless memorable moments inside the Midtown facility.
Bottcher, who alluded to residents’ complaints about noise and foot traffic, did not specify where MSG might be moved, but advocates have long suggested Hudson Yards as a possible destination for a professional sports team. Mayor Michael Bloomberg-era plan wanted build a football stadium in the neighborhood along the Hudson River (which could have brought the New York Jets in the five boroughsfrom their current home in New Jersey).
That plan was shot down prematurely by neighborhood advocates, who questioned the idea of bringing a new stadium (and accompanying traffic) to Midtown.
After that plan fell through, city officials turned to redeveloping the land for housing – and the area is now home to thousands of people, where a plan to rezone the city’s 28 acres has led to a boom in apartment building in the area.