Thursday, July 25, 2013

Madison Square Garden to Seek Its Fifth Home – Evicted by NYC City Council – Ten Years to Vacate Important Transportation Hub in Midtown

The City Council voted Wednesday to limit the arena’s permit for its location atop Penn Station to a decade — ignoring pleas from the Garden’s owners and celebrities like Knicks superfan Spike Lee and former Knicks greats like Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier, who lobbied the Council to extend the Garden’s permit indefinitely.

Council members say they would rather see the Garden move to make way for an improved Penn Station and voted, 47 to 1, to offer the more limited permit, although it could be extended in the future.

It was never a great idea to tear down the legendary classic designed Old Penn Station in the mid-sixties. Kind of creative to put a big arena over the subterranean tunnels and rail tracks below street level. But everything else was a hassle and crowded, crowded, crowded when a well-functioning train station got shoved underground to make it convenient for season basketball tickets holders to grab a ten minute subway ride to midtown.

After 911 they did a major redo of the subterranean tunnels, labyrinth station under MSG that served both east coast trains and the Long Island Railroad traffic. Now they are digging a tunnel to connect Grand Central and Metro North with Penn Station. There are plenty of other empty places or underused places in the five boroughs to serve a new arena. Case in point the Barclay Arena across the East River and built over a bunch of rail tracks of the Long Island Railroad.

The flow of the pedestrian tunnels in the post 911 redo was directed toward expanded and increased exits with disasters or acts of terror in mind. The old World Trade Center went through a similar major redo of expanded and increased exit space after the 1993 bombing. Perhaps some lives were saved in the 911 attack in the underground plaza area of the WTC with the redo. It was needed even if the result to fulfill maximum usage in time of emergency was not realized.

The conversion of the Old Classic Central Post Office into a new above ground Penn Station needs a lot of other components in the new connecting tunnel with Grand Central Terminal and the expanding transportation hub of the now old number four Madison Square Garden. 

New York is a forever changing fluid place of building, tearing down and rebuilding the New York Dream.


Montgomery County Pennsylvania Issues Same Sex Marriage Licenses – Same Sex Marriage Performed and Registered – “State’s Constitution Unconstitutional”

"Craig Andrussier, a non-denominational minister from Landsdale, said the two women had contacted him early this morning after they applied for a license at the courthouse."

Andrussier said he met with the Limerick couple and performed a quick ceremony, signed the license then returned to the courthouse to file it with the county.

“We tried to legalize this process as quick as possible,” he said. “That’s why I’m down here filing in person instead of putting in the mail and waiting a day or two. I didn’t want anything to change between now and then.”

“This is further proof that Governor (Tom) Corbett should refuse to defend discrimination in Pennsylvania,” said Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, president of Harrisburg Hope, a bipartisan advocacy group. “ There is momentum for marriage equality and it will become law in Pennsylvania sooner than many people think.”

The announcement from Hanes comes just two weeks after a lawsuit was filed in federal court challenging Pennsylvania marriage law.

“Based upon the advice of [my solicitor], my own analysis of the law and mindful of the Attorney General’s belief that Pennsylvania’s marriage laws are unconstitutional, I decided to come down on the right side of history and the law, and was prepared to issue a license,” Hanes said in a press release.

On July 9, the ACLU of Pennsylvania on behalf of 23 gay and lesbian plaintiffs, and two of their teenage children, filed a lawsuit in U.S. Middle District Court seeking to overturn Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act and to have the state recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Along with Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the Whitewood v. Corbett lawsuit names the Washington County Register of Wills - Mary Jo Poknis -  as one of the defendants. Register of Wills issue marriage licenses.

Kane swiftly announced she would not defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.