Nearly half a century after Madison Square Garden was built atop Pennsylvania Station, time may be running out for “the world’s most famous arena.” On Wednesday, the Garden’s operators go before the City Planning Commission to renew the special permit that allows them to run the facility in the heart of Manhattan. MSG executives fully expect the permit to be renewed in perpetuity. But suddenly, it looks like that might not happen.
After decades of complaints about increasingly cramped conditions in Penn Station, a loose coalition of civic groups, transit advocates and political leaders is gaining traction in its efforts to force the Garden to move so that the station down in its basement can expand.
For those who want the Garden to eventually go, a key number is 650,000. That is the number of people who pass through Penn Station each day, more than triple the amount when the arena was built back in 1968.