Will Madison Square Garden be forced to move for a new Penn Station?

"The Garden will always be The Garden," is the mantra of Cablevision and Knicks officials whenever they are asked about competition from Barclays Center.

Maybe not. Two key City Council committees Wednesday voted unanimously to limit a special permit that has allowed the Garden to sit atop Penn Station, which increasingly is seen as a blight on the city. The Council vote sends a message to the Garden that it has 10 years to relocate ... this after a $1 billion investment in the arena's "transformation." The city wants a new Penn Station, one that isn't inhibited by the presence of the iconic, but now 45-year-old arena.

As Norman Oder, critic and chronicler of Barclays Center, wrote in his Atlantic Yard Report blog Thursday, "it's a provisional big win for the Barclays Center, which not only may see rival MSG hamstrung by a relocation--though watch who ends up paying for it--but also might emerge, at least for a while, as the city's leading arena."

A lot has to happen -- and billions of dollars have to be found -- before the Garden is evicted, but the city's preservationists and transit advocates are embarrassed at the ugliness and dank atmosphere of the world's busiest train station. So much so that the Municipal Art Society recently sponsored an architectural competition for a new Penn Station. The design with the most buzz? That of SHoP architects, which designed Barclays Center.

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