The Village Voice blog ran an open letter yesterday from the hand of the beleaguered Penn Station itself. The letter gave the station an opportunity to sound off on recent events that have thrust it back into the spotlight including the City Council's decision to grant Madison Square Garden a 10 year stay in order to relocate from its present location. This decision has made many who have pushed for the revamping of Penn Station very happy and those in MSG's camp infuriated.
At first the letter makes Penn Station out to be like an old put-upon mother who reminds you that you only come around during holidays or when you need something. And what's worse, for 50 years she's been through hell for you and sucked it up along the way:
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.
To play devil's advocate, the station does admit that MSG now holds its own place in some people's hearts regardless of its appearance and location:
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!?'So one does get the feeling that with this decision, it's hard to say who is really winning here but happily, the station is not without a sense of humor:
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.
For its final thought, Penn Station speaks as a wise and forgiving servant of the public who has resigned itself to carry out its duty no matter what the fates may have in store.
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....
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.
Of course we walk away with the sense that a huge mistake was made 50 years ago and no one really knows how to make it right. There are and will continue to be victims on all sides as this debate plays out, but it is clear that Penn Station and all who come through it suffer the most.
You can read the entire letter at the Village Voice blog.