What If Moynihan Station Doesn't Happen?

Plus, the clock is ticking.

The Garden, which has been considering a renovation of its existing facility for years, has made motions that it is ready to proceed if Moynihan Station does not progress. Such a move would shut the window for decades on a redevelopment of Penn Station, as a reconstruction is not possible without the Garden first moving elsewhere. Without a reconstruction of Penn Station, based on a restriction in the zoning, Vornado would not be able to transfer more than four million square feet of air rights from the Garden site, as it had been intending.

If the Moynihan Station project as is were to collapse, the next step would be unclear. Officials declined to speak about any possibility other than the one being considered, saying that they expect the Garden to move, though theoretically, a return could be made to the smaller-scale Pataki-era plan, which involves New Jersey Transit expanding into a remade Farley building.

For years, this was the plan in its entirety, pushed forward by Senator Moynihan. Ever since the developers and the Garden dreamed bigger, few have been out supporting a return to the smaller project, save a group of preservationists that has concerns over how an arena would affect the Farley building.

Related and Vornado were selected by the Pataki administration to complete that plan. But, after a push by the Garden and others in favor of the large-scale plan, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver blocked final approval of the project in late 2006. Vornado, which owns seven properties in the immediate area, would still benefit, albeit less so than in the large-scale plan, as the value of its properties would likely increase with an improved transit hub.

The state could also renovate Penn Station to the best of its ability with the G
arden still overhead; and, while it is hard to imagine the natural-light-filled concourses envisioned in the large-scale plan re-created in such a modest renovation, the quality of Penn Station could potentially improve.

But that seems to have few supporters.

“It is probably better than nothing, but kind of a joke,” said Maura Moynihan. “How can you renovate a trailer park?”