Continuing the discussion from NEW YORK | Hudson District - Farley Corridor Subdistrict:
For over fifteen years, MAS has been working with city, state, corporate and civic partners to advocate for the transformation of the Farley Post Office into Moynihan Station. The central goal of the project is to help alleviate pedestrian congestion at Penn Station by allowing passengers to access Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and Long Island Railroad trains at a farther west entrance located at the Farley Post Office. This in turn would make Midtown Manhattan, the largest central business district in the United States, more welcoming to New Yorkers and out-of-towners alike, while also encouraging train travel from New York City throughout the country.
It was in the late 1990s that MAS became engaged in the Moynihan Station development project. At the suggestion of the late New York State Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, MAS produced a vision for the full conversion of the Farley Post Office into a train station and civic center. With the unveiling of this vision, MAS became a leading organization in a larger consortium of civic organizations working to transform the Farley Post Office into Moynihan Station.
Over the years, there have been numerous visions. At one point, the plan included the relocation of Madison Square Garden from its current location on 7th Avenue to the Western Annex of Moynihan Station. In its place, 5.5 million square feet of office development would have been created on the Madison Square Garden site.
In 2006, MAS played a leading role along with the Regional Plan Association, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, General Contractors Association and Manhattan Community Board 4 in the creation of the group, Friends of Moynihan Station. The Friends worked together to leverage support for the creation of Moynihan Station.
In 2008, upon news that Madison Square Garden was not going to move into the Western Annex of the Farley Post Office, the project was rethought and divided into three phases. Phase 1 primarily involves creating points of entry and exit from the Farley Post Office to the tracks that run below it from Penn Station (see MSDC June 2010 General Project Plan). Phase 2 consists of the restoration and design of the main train hall. Phase 3 includes the development of the Western Annex as a public space. In 2008, as a shovel ready project, Phase 1 was deemed eligible for federal stimulus funding from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.
In September 2009, Amtrak announced its intention to move the majority of its operations into Moynihan Station. This announcement created great momentum for the project, and in February 2010, Moynihan Station received $83.3 million in TIGER federal stimulus funds to begin construction on Phase 1.
With the completion of Phase 1, individuals will be able to access Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road trains through entrances at the Farley Post Office. This will alleviate passenger congestion in Penn Station and its surrounding streets. Specific work that is to be completed as part of Phase 1 includes:
Points of access to eight additional tracks currently not served by Penn Station.
The development of nineteen vertical access points (stairs, escalators and elevators) to and from the train tracks below the Farley Post Office.
Two new above-grade entrances through Farley just west of 8th Avenue – at 31st and 33rd Streets.
Improved connections from Farley to the 8th Avenue (A/C/E) Subway and Penn Station.
The addition of new platform ventilation fan rooms.