The state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority has signed off on a bombshell 11th-hour report claiming that Penn Station and Madison Square Garden are no longer compatible together.
“The Garden’s site plan and loading arrangements may have been compatible with Penn Station and the surrounding community in the early 1960s,” the agency declared along with station tenants Amtrak and NJ Transit.
“Today, however, MSG’s existing configuration and property boundaries impose severe constraints on the station that impede the safe and efficient movement of passengers and restrict efforts to implement improvements, particularly at the street and platform levels,” according to the analysis, first reported by the West Side Spirit.
The timing of the report’s release by the trio of railway giants is head-scratching, as city officials are set to decide whether the World’s Most Famous Arena can remain long-term at its present site atop Penn Station.
The City Planning Commission on June 7 will begin hearing testimony on MSG owner James Dolan’s bid to operate the Garden in perpetuity after its current city permit expires on July 24.
He sought the same concession when MSG’s original, 50-year permit expired in 2013, but the City Council only gave him a decade.
The Council has the final say on the extension.
The Garden — home of the Rangers and Knicks — owns the property it sits on, but the permit extension is needed for it to continue holding its 19,800-seat capacity.
Without it, the arena can host no more than 2,500.
A spokesperson for MSG Entertainment, which owns the Garden, said: “We are disappointed to see this compatibility report from the MTA and the other rail agencies, considering how we have been cooperating throughout this process. This is the opinion of a few and not all stakeholders involved.”