MSG Permit Expires

Madison Square Garden is operating without a zoning permit – one that was granted back  in 1963.

At the time, the city’s most powerful governing body, the Board of Estimate, granted a special permit to build the new Garden above Penn Station, according to the New York Times. The arena exceeded the 2,500-seat limit imposed by zoning laws, and was to expire on Jan. 24, 50 years later.

To no one’s surprise, MSG is not panicking, and CEO James Dolan issued a statement: “We fully expect to continue to operate the arena in the ordinary course.”


In fact, Madison Square Garden could use the expiration as leverage to rethink the Garden’s future, possibly changing it to another incarnation that would not be above the train station.

“We shouldn’t just resign ourselves to the status quo,” Raju Mann, acting chairman of the land use committee of Community Board 5, told the Times.

MSG applied for a permit extension, and larger signage on Eighth Avenue, but was denied by the board 36-0, with one abstention.  However, the board proposed permitting an extension of 10 years, which would make Garden executives and city officials think about the immediate future of the building, according to the Times.

The board supports a move for the Garden, saying it is “in the long-term interests of the tens of millions of people who travel through Penn Station every year.”