The Farley Building, the former 1912 James A. Farley Post Office, is an adaptive reuse of an iconic civic building designed by the original Penn Station’S famed architects McKim, Mead, and White. The property is located on the double block bound by 8th and 9th Avenues and 31st and 33rd Streets, across the street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.
The Farley Building features 740,000 square feet of office space, 120,000 square feet of curated retail, and the majestic new Moynihan Train Hall, with a striking open glass-covered atrium. This horizontal campus is located atop the country’s busiest transportation hub, with nearly every NYC subway line, Amtrak, LIRR, and NJ Transit directly accessible from the building. The surrounding neighborhood includes Empire State Building, Macy’s, Hudson Yards, The Vessel, and Manhattan West.
COMPLEX SECURITY CHALLENGES
Major Transportation Hub
Moynihan Train Hall is the hub for both Amtrak and LIRR. NJ Transit and most NYC subway lines are also accessible within Moynihan Train Hall. Every day thousands of passengers pass through, utilizing dozens of points of entry and exit. Pedestrian safety is a top priority.
Multiple Ownership Stakeholders
Multiple city government and private sector entities have ownership stakes throughout the complex. Each plays a critical role in safety and security. Cooperation between stakeholders is essential.
The Farley Building sits at the epicenter of New York, in the heart of The Penn District. Similar high-profile real estate surrounds the property, such as Hudson Yards, Madison Square Garden, and Penn Station, each with its own set of security concerns.
Complex Mixed-Use Space
In addition to housing a mass transportation hub, The Farley Building houses a vast USPS processing center, commercial office space, commercial condominiums, high-end restaurants, and numerous retail tenants. Facebook is the primary office tenant, occupying approximately 730,000 square feet and a dedicated common area. The USPS center includes a large loading zone for delivery trucks at a 9th Avenue driveway. Because of these varied uses, security needs differ significantly throughout the facility.
Safety and Crime Concerns
The neighborhood faces typical urban safety and crime challenges, including aggressive panhandling, petty crime, unlicensed street vendors, and counterfeits peddlers. There has also been a significant uptick in illegal drug use and sale and loitering. Regular police engagement is necessary to manage these concerns effectively.
THE GMSC SECURITY SOLUTION
Closed-Loop Security Program
GMSC integrates and self-manages the property’s essential security elements, delivering a comprehensive solution. Elements include:
- Onsite security guard service.
- Canine bomb patrol service.
- Video surveillance CCTV monitoring.
By having a single entity manage both the physical staff and electronic security operations, communications are streamlined, and operations and investigations are more efficient. All elements are managed in real-time by GMSC from two state-of-the-art command centers: Moynihan Train Hall’s Central Command Center (MCC) and GMSC’s offsite Security Operations Center (SOC), located nearby.
Centralized Command Centers
The MCC and SOC combine technology, people, and processes to deliver powerful results. The MCC, staffed by GMSC, is the primary command center for all Moynihan Train Hall security and video surveillance monitoring around the clock. The offsite GMSC SOC supplements the MCC. Using AI-based smart video analytics, SOC staff can conduct expeditious investigations, often as events are unfolding. The SOC utilizes sophisticated tools allowing it to understand the threat environment at any given time. Examples include real-time location-driven crime and police activity alerts, and social media aggregation for intelligence gathering.
GMSC leverages video surveillance monitoring to make onsite guard staff more efficient and effective. This includes video tours to supplement guard tours and live “look-ins” on guard staff for quality control. This staff/technology integration results in a true guard force multiplier.
GMSC NYPD Partnership
Regular communication between GMSC and NYPD is essential because of the public safety and security risks in and around The Farley Building. NYPD frequently requests information and research from GMSC related to ongoing investigations. GMSC also receives operational intelligence from the NYPD that may impact The Farley Building.
Because The Farley Building has such a high volume of pedestrian traffic, a dedicated police presence makes a significant impact. GMSC deploys NYPD Paid Detail Officers to provide dedicated patrol. GMSC contracts these fully equipped, uniformed NYPD officers in coordination with NYPD. While on duty for GMSC, these dedicated officers patrol only GMSC specified areas.
In addition to working with NYPD, GMSC employs numerous former NYPD staff who actively support The Farley Building. GMSC staff have over 300 years of combined law enforcement experience.
Moynihan Train Hall Joint Operations
GMSC is a key participant in Moynihan Train Hall’s Joint Operations Command, comprised of GMSC, MTA, Amtrak, and LIRR. Joint Operations Command is activated when situations arise in which all entities need to be strategically in the same location. Joint Operations Command, when activated, will allow the entities to rapidly pool and share security information. This enables the group to develop a full picture of events that might otherwise fall out of each entity’s perimeter.
Neighborhood Security Coalition
The Farley Building shares public space with surrounding properties, including Hudson Yards, Macy’s, AMC Movie Theater, Madison Square Garden, and several other commercial complexes. Many have direct points of entry and egress to Moynihan Train Hall.
To address shared security concerns between these properties, GMSC created and chairs a neighborhood security coalition. The coalition, which meets twice weekly, comprises security leadership across neighboring entities between 10th and 6th Avenues.
By leveraging each other’s security platforms, the coalition has created a “geofence,” or virtual perimeter, around the area between 10th and 6th Avenues. The geofence maps every entity’s CCTV cameras and allows video information to be cross-shared. The coalition coordinates each other’s guard staff and partners to conduct investigations and share information. This regular sharing of information helps each entity better protect its assets. The result is an increase in security and safety across the entire neighborhood.
The complexity of The Farley Building calls for a multi-faceted security approach. Success is dependent on collaboration and cooperation between numerous stakeholders. In addition to delivering a robust onsite physical and electronic security program, GMSC proactively developed partnerships with essential internal and external stakeholders. This combination of technology, expertise, and stakeholder collaboration results in one of the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art, and forward-thinking private security deployments in the city.
For over 30 years, GMSC has provided security to high-profile buildings and offices across New York and Chicago. It is a large volume company that offers a boutique service. GMSC secures over 25 million square feet of commercial, retail, and Fortune 100 companies, including IPG, Amazon, Facebook, The Farley Building, Bloomberg, Vornado, Manhattan Mall, The Merchandise Mart (theMART), Rego Park Center, and many more. GMSC’s services include guard management, CCTV video surveillance, access control, and security monitoring through its state-of-the-art Security Operations Center.