Stop the 28th Street Substation

1065 signers. Add your name now!
1065 signers. Almost there! Add your voice!
Maxine K. signed just now
Adam B. signed just now

The MTA’s plans to build an underground high-wattage substation on 28th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in the midst of Penn South, a historic NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community), the first in the U.S. to be recognized as such, has stunned residents and neighbors. Penn South, one of the last middle-income cooperatives in Manhattan, is a socio-economic enclave surrounded by the newer, high-income areas of Hudson Yards, Manhattan West, the High Line, and the Penn Station / Madison Square Garden business and commercial district.

The proposed location for the substation is adjacent to three of Penn South’s apartment buildings which are home to thousands of people. More than 50% of Penn South’s residents are senior citizens, many of whom are in poor health, have mobility issues, or are homebound and live with caretakers. Other residential buildings, medical and social-service facilities (including dedicated services for seniors and for patients with AIDS and cerebral palsy), and two landmark buildings (including the Bayard Rustin National Historic Site) are located on or adjacent to the 28th Street block. On the western end of the block, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen serves more than 5,000 people every week as the largest emergency feeding program in New York State and the second largest in the U.S.

The MTA counters the deep concerns of residents and the wider public by stating that the substation "will be built entirely in the NYC Department of Transportation Right of Way...with no property easements required." Residents and the Board are asking MTA to move the substation to a more appropriate non-residential site available nearby. Also of concern is the fact that the MTA has not conducted an Environmental Assessment Study or an Environmental Impact Study, nor have they conducted pre-construction engineering studies to determine whether Penn South’s 60-year-old residential buildings will be able to withstand the deep excavation and construction vibration.

Please sign the petition and call elected officials. Share the link with as many people as you can. The more signatures, the better! You can write your comments at the end of the petition.

NOTE: If you are asked to donate when you sign, please note that there is no need to donate. Money is not being collected for this cause - only signatures and comments are needed.


  • The project will last 39 months (over 3 years) and construction will take place Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m. – 6 p. m. and Sat. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. (10-11 hours per day).
  • Despite opposition from the Penn South Board and local elected officials, at a September 21st Community Board 4 Meeting, the MTA said “We chose the site despite the opposition.”
  • The MTA says they plan to begin construction during the first quarter of 2023, so time is of the essence in opposing this project.


  • Noise Pollution from deep excavation and construction for an extended period of time.
  • Air Pollution from the 40-foot-deep excavation will generate particulates affecting the health of residents, especially Penn South’s seniors and young children.
  • Chance of substation fire or explosion and the difficulty of quickly evacuating the mobility-impaired senior population.
  • Pest Infestation: The deep excavation may cause an increase in rodents, roaches, and water bugs in nearby buildings.
  • Disruption and back-up of traffic and sidewalk access during construction.
  • Increase in Electro-Magnetic Frequency (EMF) levels.
  • Possible structural damage to Penn South’s nearby 60-year-old apartment buildings from the 40-foot deep excavation and vibration.

Constructing the substation between 8th and 9th avenues on 31st street, where there will already be construction going on, or on 33rd street along the side of the post office, would make more sense and would not affect vulnerable residents of apartment buildings on 28th and 29th streets. The MTA states that the reason for choosing 28th street is that it's easier for them to do this type of construction on a wider street. But the MTA may be choosing 28th street over commercial / non-residential nearby blocks, where large real estate entities and powerful corporations have more influence.

Residents surrounding 28th street deserve a healthy place to live. They deserve to be kept safe by the New York State Governor's Office, local politicians, and by the MTA.

Help fight the substation on 28th Street.

Call and email these politicians to voice your opposition:

Senator Brad Hoylman 212-633-8052

Assembly Member Dick Gottfried 212-807-7900

City Council Member Erik Bottcher 212-564-7757

Governor Kathy Hochul 518-474-8390

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams 212-669-7200

To be added to email list or to help out, email:

NOTE: This petition is NOT collecting donations or contributions. If you are asked to contribute, just ignore that message. That money does not go to this cause. It goes to the general free petition service website.

This petition was created by concerned Penn South cooperators.

Share for Success