|Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Rangers, New York Knicks and New York Liberty.|
Madison Square Garden is a multi-purpose indoor arena in midtown Manhattan in New York City. Located between Seventh and Eighth Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets, it is situated atop Pennsylvania Station. It is the fourth venue to bear the name, the first two of which were located on Madison Square, with the third Madison Square Garden further uptown at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street. The Garden is used for professional basketball and ice hockey, as well as boxing, concerts, ice shows, circuses, and other forms of sports and entertainment. It resides in close geographic proximity to other midtown Manhattan landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Koreatown, and Macy’s at Herald Square.
Opened on February 11, 1968, it is now the oldest active major sporting facility in the New York metropolitan area and is the oldest arena in the National Hockey League and the second-oldest arena in the National Basketball Association. Madison Square Garden is the third-busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales, behind Manchester Arena and The O2 Arena, both in England. At a total construction cost of approximately $1.1 billion, Madison Square Garden has been ranked as one of the ten most expensive stadium venues ever built. It is part of the Pennsylvania Plaza office and retail complex. Several other operating entities related to the Garden share its name.
On February 11, 1968, the current Madison Square Garden (sometimes referred to as Madison Square Garden IV) opened after the Pennsylvania Railroad tore down the above-ground portions of Pennsylvania Station. The new structure was one of the first of its kind to be built above the platforms of an active railroad station. It was an engineering feat constructed by Robert E. McKee of El Paso, Texas. Public outcry over the demolition of Pennsylvania Station structure—an outstanding example of Beaux-Arts architecture—led to the creation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The Garden is located in the office and entertainment complex formally addressed as Pennsylvania Plaza and commonly known as Penn Plaza, named for the railroad station.
In 1972, the Garden’s chairman, Irving Mitchell Felt, proposed moving the New York Knicks and Rangers to a venue in the New Jersey Meadows (now completed and known as Meadowlands Sports Complex or Izod Center). The Garden was also the home arena for the NY Raiders/NY Golden Blades of the World Hockey Association. The Meadowlands would eventually host its own NBA and NHL teams (the New Jersey Nets and the New Jersey Devils, respectively). The NFL’s New York Giants and Jets also relocated there. Felt’s efforts fueled controversy between the Garden and New York City over real estate taxes. The disagreement again flared in 1980 when the Garden again challenged its tax bill.
In 1991, Garden owners spent $200 million to renovate facilities and add 89 suites in place of hundreds of upper-tier seats. The project was designed by Ellerbe Becket. In 2004–2005, Cablevision battled with the City of New York over the proposed West Side Stadium, which was cancelled. Cablevision then announced plans to raze the Garden, replace it with high-rise commercial buildings, and build a new Garden one block away at the site of the James Farley Post Office. Meanwhile a new project to renovate and modernize the Garden completed phase one in time for the Rangers and Knicks’ 2011–12 seasons, though the vice president of the Garden says he remains committed to the installation of an extension of Penn Station at the Farley Post Office site. While the Knicks and Rangers will not be displaced, the New York Liberty will play at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey during the renovation.
The renovated lower bowl opened on October 27, 2011, with features including new lower-level luxury suites and clubs. The number of restroom facilities was also increased, and following the renovations the quantity and variety of food options will also increase. The renovation is scheduled to be completed in 2013.Accessibility and transportation
Madison Square Garden sits directly atop a major transportation hub in Pennsylvania Station, featuring access to commuter rail service from the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit, as well as Amtrak. The Garden is also accessible via the New York City Subway. The A C E trains stop at Eighth Avenue and the 1 2 3 trains at Seventh Avenue in Penn Station. The Garden can also be reached from nearby Herald Square with the N Q R and B D F M trains at the 34th Street – Herald Square station as well as PATH train service from the 33rd Street station.
Penn Station renovation controversy
Madison Square Garden is seen by some as an obstacle in the renovation of Penn Station. On February 15, 2013, Manhattan Community Board 5 voted 36 to 0 against granting a renewal to MSG’s operating permit in perpetuity and proposed a 10-year limit instead in order to build a new Penn Station where the arena is currently standing. Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer said, “Moving the arena is an important first step to improving Penn Station.” The Madison Square Garden Company responded, “It is incongruous to think that M.S.G. would be considering moving.”
Notable firsts and significant events
In 1980, the Garden hosted the first World judo championships for women, Jane Bridge (UK) in 48 kg won the gold medal. In 1985, the Garden hosted the inaugural Wrestlemania presented by the World Wrestling Federation. In 1990, Andrew Dice Clay became the only comedian in history to sell out Madison Square Garden two nights in a row. In 2009, MSG hosted the second longest NCAA men’s basketball game when the Syracuse Orange and Connecticut Huskies went into six overtimes in the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Garden hosted the Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Finals simultaneously on two occasions: in 1972 and 1994.
MSG hosted the following All-Star Games: