NEW YORK — State Senators Brad Hoylman, Robert Jackson and Liz Krueger, along with planners, preservationists and community activists, will hold a press conference on Sunday, May 23, at 12 p.m. in front of the Hotel Pennsylvania at 401 Seventh Avenue, to rally against current plans for the Empire Station Complex and in support of new legislation that would subject the plan to community input through the NYC Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) (S.6556).
- Sunday, May 23, 12 - 1 p.m.
- Across the street from Penn Station at the Hotel Pennsylvania, 401 Seventh Avenue (between 32nd & 33rd Streets)
- Senator Brad Hoylman
- Senator Robert Jackson
- Senator Liz Krueger
- Community Board 5 (invited)
- Lynn Ellsworth, Alliance for a Human-Scale City
- Simeon Bankoff, Historic Districts Council
- Members of Empire Station Coalition
While site selection for city capital projects and acquisition of property by New York City are subject to ULURP, as a project being executed by the state under a General Project Plan (GPP) that overrides local zoning, the Empire Station Complex Project is exempt from this review, robbing community members of the important opportunity to participate in a rigorous input-seeking process.
In January 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the “Empire Station Complex” and a blueprint for a reimagined and expanded Penn Station. The proposal demolishes full city blocks in which are historic sites, small businesses and residential tenants, including rent-stabilized tenants. The plan has targeted eight sites in which super tall towers will be built to supposedly fund new entrances to Penn Station, and underground transportation improvements, which to date have not been presented in detail to the public.
Despite calls by residents, elected officials and other community stakeholders for full transparency and accountability, Empire State Development’s initial plans for engaging public input on the development of a new Penn Station and surrounding area are woefully inadequate. To date, the public engagement process has suffered from poor outreach for hearings and comment periods and incomplete information about ESD’s proposals and transportation improvements.
Demolishing full city blocks and working to build a robust transportation hub requires robust public deliberation and consultation, which is why site selection for capital projects and the acquisition of property by every New York City agency is subject to ULURP. The "Empire Station Complex Public Review Act" would require the state to follow New York City’s land use procedures and ensure that residents, commuters, small businesses and other community stakeholders have meaningful opportunities to provide input and recommendations.
Hotel Pennsylvania, which has stood at the corner of 7th Ave. and 33rd St. for over 100 years, is one of the hundreds of businesses and residences which would be demolished in this plan.