The following is an open letter addressed to the citizens of New York City from Penn Station regarding the New York City Council’s recent decision to give Madison Square Garden 10 years to relocate from it’s current position above Penn Station.
In October of 1963, when the city of New York wrenched my beautiful Beaux-Arts columns away from me, forbidding me to ever reach towards the sky again, I did not cry.
In February of 1968, when Madison Square Garden mounted its large ass firmly upon my face, forbidding me the chance to breathe fresh air any longer, I did not cry.
I am Penn Station, service-provider to millions. Service-provider to New York. Service-provider to you–and that’s what matters the most to me.
So when, after generations of being buried beneath the crushing weight of musicians, athletes, and concrete, the New York City Council voted not to renew Madison Square Garden’s land-permit in order to restore me to my former glory, I was ecstatic.
You, however, were not.
Rage filled your hearts. You cursed my name.
I finally shed my first tear.
As if it wasn’t enough that I was here first, that the indecisive Madison Square Garden had relocated thrice before moving on top of me, that I am the one who consistently provides you with the most reliable service–what hurts the most is that a stadium in which Justin Bieber has performed means more to you than me, your loyal public servant.
Many of your laments focus on the historical significance of Madison Square Garden and what it means for an individual to perform there. I know that Elvis Presley played his first show in New York there. I know that John Lennon performed his last live concert there. I know that Elton John basically leases the place out and everybody loves it. And yes, I know that as a result of Madison Square Garden lifting itself from my aching body that pictures of the golden circle will now haunt the vision boards and dream walls of American teenagers across the country. ‘How is this fair!?,’ you ask. ‘How is this right!?’
Well, I have my own questions too.
How is it “fair” that the hulking white-pillared bitch of the James Farley United States American Post Office is allowed to take up a block of space above ground across the street while I am not allowed a single sunlit passageway? No one even uses the postal service anymore! What’s even inside that building? I’ll tell you what–ME. New York is expanding my Amtrak to run beneath it because of how important I am to you. Why don’t we just tear it all down and airlift Madison Square Garden a few feet away so it can look at me in all of my glory as well as feel me pulse beneath it every day?
How is it “right” to spend money maintaining (or even building a new) Madison Square Garden? Watching people do things online is much better than watching them do things in person. I have seen this firsthand as my passengers bumble about, ignoring one another with their eyes glued to smart phones and tablets. Madison Square Garden seats 20,000. Youtube seats 500 million. You know you don’t actually enjoy watching concerts live.They cost money and sound shitty and there are cheaper ways to impress a date. Listening to your iPhone and ignoring people on the train is free. You don’t need MSG. You need me.
Most importantly, do you really hate Long Island and New Jersey so much as to forbid the place that happens to house access routes to them from having a chance at a happy life above ground in New York City?
Don’t answer that one, actually.
And that is all I have to say about the matter. Personally, I hope plans for the relocation of Madison Square Garden go through. I hope I will once again be beautiful and intimidating and make the James Farley United States Post Office super jealous. I hope one day you will appreciate me as much as you appreciate Madison Square Garden.
I fear this may not happen, but regardless, I will continue to let you know to avoid the gap, stay off the yellow line, and avoid the TGI Fridays. Because, unlike you, I will always love you.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 31, 2013