MSG plan could derail new Moynihan Station

By Philip Newman

Hank Ratner, vice chairman of the Garden, said,”we will renovate the arena and we will not be moving. We can accomplish anything we want by renovating.” Ratner said work on the renovation will start next spring and is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2011-2012 basketball season. The entire renovation project would be paid for by Cablevision, which owns the Garden. Madison Square Garden's withdrawal has been the subject of much speculation as to what effect it would have on the Moynihan project, which was at least $1 billion short of money even before the MSG announcement. The plans for the basement-to-roof overhaul includes a complete rebuilding of the stands, a new upper level party deck and luxury suites including lower level seats that permit fans closer access to players. Even the highest row of seats is nearly 10 feet nearer courtside. Also, the lobby ceiling will be raised and gigantic windows installed offering the crowd views of 31st and 33rd Streets. Luxury suites would be increased from 90 to 125. Ratner said Madison Square Garden supports the original Moynihan plan to convert the James Farley Post Office into a new rail station to replace the present Penn Station. The original Moynihan plan was expanded to include a new Madison Square Garden, which was to have moved across Eighth Avenue.The expanded Moynihan Station project plan also includes four or five office towers and vast retail space. Unveiling of the renovation plans came a week after the Garden announced it would not be part of the Farley project. The Garden is not only home to the New York Rangers and the New York Knicks but also hosts boxing, rock concerts, the nation's most famous dog and cat shows and a vast array of entertainment, including Ringling Bros. Circus. Ratner said the work on the renovation would be scheduled in such a way as not to interfere with home games of the Rangers or Knicks.Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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