U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D−N.Y.) has called for using federal stimulus money to revive the Moynihan railroad station project to replace Penn Station because “we, too, must have bold visions.”
Schumer, at a Crain’s New York Business breakfast Monday, said even though the Empire State Building teetered on the brink of fiscal collapse in the Great Depression, it was completed in 11 months.
“As New York finds itself in a sea of economic turbulence, we, too, must have bold visions for our future and seek to build the impossible,” Schumer said.
The senator said “one of the smartest places for us to focus these efforts and this funding is on the Moynihan station project.”
It was the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan who envisioned conversion of the Farley Post Office at 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue to a new railroad terminal to replace the present Penn Station.
“Private investment is most likely to begin around this high volume transit hub and then methodically creep west towards Hudson Yards, block by block,” Schumer said. “This is how Park Avenue and Third Avenue developed, block by block.”
Schumer said it was “time to break this culture of inertia and indecision. “There is a window of opportunity to get this shovel−ready project moving by accessing federal stimulus funds,” he said.
Schumer said $100 million in federal stimulus funds would start off the project. He also said Amtrak should be the primary tenant when the Farley Post Office is converted into the Moynihan station.
The present station was built after the original station, designed by the eminent firm of McKim, Mead and White and opened in 1910, was demolished in 1963.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg once characterized the present station as “a dismal, subterranean failure.”
The project has been on and off in the 14 years since Moynihan first proposed using the imposing main post office across Eighth Avenue for the new railroad entrance to Manhattan.
Moynihan, who died at age 76 in 2003, was known as an intellectual and served as an adviser to both Democratic and Republican presidents.
Moynihan, a onetime shoeshine boy and longshoreman as well as a Fulbright scholar, was a World War II veteran and served as ambassador to the United Nations and India.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at news@times
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