Coalition and Contacts
PENN FOR ALL is a coalition of 14 organizations opposed to the plan to demolish the neighborhood around Penn Station and replace it with ten glass skyscrapers owned by Vornado, our city’s largest real estate investment trust.
The Coalition’s Statement of Purpose
The destruction of the original Penn Station in 1963 was the driving force behind the enactment of New York City’s celebrated landmarks preservation law. It also marked the beginning of the long deterioration of the immediate neighborhood as the new Madison Square Garden and surrounding towers created a hostile urban dystopia that people sought to flee, not enjoy. The fix is obvious: a new, rebuilt, above-ground station that also addresses our transit needs could restore the neighborhood to its former greatness. We need and deserve a station as iconic and welcoming as the original Penn Station or its peers, Union Station in Washington D.C., St. Pancras in London, or the Gare du Nord in Paris. Moreover, a rebuilt above-ground Penn Station could serve as the heart of a desperately needed regional unified transit system that would spread economic prosperity equitably throughout the region. Such a transit system is the norm for our peer cities at home and abroad.
We are a coalition of New York City civic organizations working in the areas of transportation, urban planning, small business advocacy, housing, neighborhood livability, and historic preservation. We have come together out of mutual interests and concerns regarding the proposed Empire Station Complex. We are unified on the following points.
- We oppose the gratuitous demolition of people’s homes and eviction of residents and small businesses. The trauma of such displacement does irreparable harm that cannot be compensated for. We also oppose the proposed demolition of several historic buildings.
- We support Amtrak’s Hudson Tunnel project, the Gateway Project.
- We request that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) halt the proposed Empire Station Complex and Penn Expansion (aka Penn South). With the project stopped we request that an independent cost-benefit analysis of alternatives is conducted and that a comprehensive through-running near- term implementation plan be developed for New York’s Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station). Through-running should be implemented now and within the existing footprint of Penn Station. The suggestion that through-running should happen in 2080, as suggested by the MTA and Amtrak, and only after a southern expansion of Penn Station and after the creation of additional tunnels should be rejected out of hand..
- The plan for the neighborhood surrounding Penn Station should prioritize human-scale development within the current zoning envelope. It should be mixed-use buildings that integrate with the historic areas to the north, south, and east and provide multiple spaces for small businesses to thrive, while creating thoughtful additions to the public realm.
- The public and our elected officials have not been given an opportunity to fully consider the benefits of a bonafide through-running operation. This and similar projects should not circumvent local review and must go through New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).