The Accidental Ingenuity of James Dolan

In a statement, the Port Authority’s executive director, Christopher Ward, said all parties are working “to quickly resolve outstanding questions and make the project a reality.”

 

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER the developers’ plan comes together, the Garden’s departure has had an effect of raising the expectations of many involved.

For well over a decade, Moynihan Station in its entirety consisted of expanding Penn Station into the eastern half of the Corinthian-column-lined Farley building. But ever since the developers tried to push the Garden to move, officials and some advocates have seen their appetites grow for a larger-scale version, with a corresponding redo of Penn Station and the release of development rights to the surrounding area.

Should the Garden stay put, Senator Schumer is pushing to move Amtrak’s offices and other uses out of Penn Station, freeing up some 200,000 square feet of additional space. Taken with a possible move of the WaMu theater from the base of the Garden to the rear of the Farley building, Penn Station could get a decent makeover, Mr. Schumer has argued.

Still, others are using the void to push the older, smaller plan, at least as a starting point, as almost all the approvals are in place to move forward on the expansion into Farley.

“The most important thing at the moment is to get going, and the way you get going is the way Moynihan would have got going, and it’s to build on the Farley Post Office,” said Fred Papert, a preservation advocate who has been active in pushing the Farley building redevelopment. “If they would build a really great train room, that would have the impact on the West Side that Grand Central had on the East Side.”

Advocates and officials have also said all the funding is in place to move forward on that smaller plan, though the reality is a bit different.

The city, which had committed $154 million to the Farley project, has reallocated that money to other items in its capital budget, according to testimony earlier this month at the City Council by Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Should that money return to the project, it would need to go through the normal budgeting process, with approval by the Council, Mr. Pinsky said.

The Accidental Ingenuity of James Dolan