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|Madison Square Garden|
|MSG, The Garden, The World's Most Famous Arena|
The facade of Madison Square Garden seen from Eighth Avenue in 2009.
7th Ave. btn. W. 31st & 33rd Sts.
4 Penn Plz.
New York, NY 10121-0101
|Broke ground||October 29, 1964|
|Opened||Former locations: 1879, 1890, 1925
Current location: February 11, 1968
|Owner||Madison Square Garden, Inc.|
|Operator||The Madison Square Garden Company|
|Construction cost||$123 million
Renovation: $200 million
|Architect||Charles Luckman Associates
Brisbin Brook Beynon Architects
|Structural engineer||Severud Associates|
|Services engineer||Syska & Hennessy, Inc.|
|General Contractor||Turner/Del E. Webb|
Ice hockey / Lacrosse: 18,200
Boxing : 20,789
Wrestling : 22,292
The Theater at Madison Square Garden: 5,600
|New York Rangers (NHL) (1968–present)
New York Knicks (NBA) (1968–present)
New York Liberty (WNBA) (1997–2010, 2014–future)
New York Titans (NLL) (2007–2009)
New York Knights (AFL) (1988)
New York CityHawks (AFL) (1997–1998)
Big East Men's Basketball Tournament (NCAA) (1983–present)
St. John's Red Storm (NCAA) (1969–present)
Madison Square Garden (MSG), known colloquially as the Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.
Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the longest active major sporting facility in the New York metropolitan area, and is the fourth incarnation of the arena in the city. One Penn Plaza stands at its side. Several other operating entities related to the venue 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 and continued railway traffic underneath. 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 demolished Pennsylvania Station structure—an outstanding example of Beaux-Arts architecture—led to the creation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The current Garden is the hub of Madison Square Garden Center in the office and entertainment complex formally addressed as Pennsylvania Plaza and commonly known as Penn Plaza for the railroad station atop which the complex is located.
In 1972, the Garden's Chairman, Irving Mitchell Felt, suggested moving the Rangers and Knicks to a proposed venue in the New Jersey Meadows (now completed and known as Meadowlands Sports Complex or Izod Center). This location would eventually host its own NHL and NBA teams (the New Jersey Devils, and the New Jersey Nets 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 scenario again flared in 1980 when a reported threat by the Garden supposed a similar move of popular sports teams in an effort to again challenge property taxes. Efforts were ignored by city leaders.
In 1991, Garden owners spent $200 million to renovate facilities and add 89 suites. The process involved hundreds of upper-tier seats being removed to make way. 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 would compete with the Garden. New stadium proposals were halted, and Cablevision announced its own plans to raze the Garden, replace it with high-rise commercial buildings and build a new Garden one block away at the James Farley Post Office. MSG executives decided to again renovate and modernize the current Garden in time for the Rangers and Knicks' 2011–12 seasons, though the vice president of the Garden says he remains committed to the original Moynihan project – the installation of an extension of Penn Station in the Farley Post Office. While the Knicks and Rangers will not be displaced, the Liberty will play at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey during the renovation. The newly transformed lower bowl opened on October 27, 2011, with features including new lower-lever 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 present Garden hosts approximately 320 events a year. It is the home of the New York Rangers of the NHL, the New York Knicks of the NBA, and the New York Liberty of the WNBA, which are, like the arena itself, owned by Madison Square Garden, L.P. The arena is also host to the Big East Men's Basketball Conference Tournament. Other regular events include the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus when it comes to New York City (although the Izod Center and Nassau Coliseum also host the circus each year), selected home games for the St. John's men's Red Storm (college basketball), the annual pre and postseason NIT tournaments, the NBA Draft, the Millrose Games track and field meet, and almost any other kind of indoor activity that draws large audiences, such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the 2004 Republican National Convention. It has previously hosted the 1976, 1980 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions, and hosted the NFL Draft for many years (now held at Garden-leased Radio City Music Hall). In 2007, over 13,000 fans enjoyed the National Lacrosse League's New York Titans inaugural home opener at Madison Square Garden. In 2008, the Titans played five home games at the Garden.
MSG is also known for its place in the history of boxing. Many of boxing's biggest fights were held at Madison Square Garden, including the Roberto Durán-Ken Buchanan affair, and the first Joe Frazier – Muhammad Ali bout. Before promoters such as Don King and Bob Marley moved boxing to Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden was considered the mecca of boxing. The original 18½' × 18½' (5.6 m × 5.6 m) ring, which was brought from the second and third generation of the Garden, was officially retired on September 19, 2007 and donated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame after 82 years of service. A 20' × 20' (6 m × 6 m) ring replaced it beginning on October 6 of that same year.
Many large popular-music concerts in New York City take place in Madison Square Garden. Particularly famous ones include George Harrison's Concert For Bangladesh, The Concert for New York City following the September 11 attacks and John Lennon's final concert appearance (during an Elton John concert on Thanksgiving Night, 1974) before his murder in 1980. A 1971 rock and roll revival concert at the Garden, featuring Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Ricky Nelson, during Nelson was reportedly booed when he tried to play newer material, is thought to have been the inspiration for his 1972 hit single "Garden Party" The Garden usually hosts a concert each year on New Year's Eve, with the Knicks and Rangers usually playing on the road. The Police played their final show of their reunion tour at the Garden in 2008. To this day, Elton John currently holds the all-time record for greatest number of appearances at The Garden with 62 shows (the 60th occurring on his 60th birthday, March 25, 2007), and Billy Joel set his own record in 2006 during his 12 performance run, achieving the title “Longest Run of a Single Artist.” In an interview (MSG Press Release, published by Business Wire, Dec. 21, 2009), the two piano men spoke about their affinity for playing concerts at the Garden. “Madison Square Garden is my favorite venue in the whole world,” said Elton John. “I chose to have my 60th birthday concert there, because of all the incredible memories I’ve had playing the venue.”
“Madison Square Garden is the center of the universe as far as I'm concerned. It has the best acoustics, the best audiences, the best reputation, and the best history of great artists who have played there," said Billy Joel. “It is the iconic, holy temple of Rock and Roll for most touring acts and being a New Yorker, it holds a special significance to me. I'm honored to hold the record for Most Consecutive Nights Ever Sold at this world famous venue."
The Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special was a 2001 New York City revue show by American megasuperstar Michael Jackson. It took place on September 7, 2001 and September 10, 2001. In late November 2001, the CBS television network aired the concerts as a two-hour special in honor of Michael Jackson's thirtieth year as a solo entertainer (his first solo single, "Got to Be There", was recorded in 1971). The show was edited from footage of two separate concerts Michael had orchestrated in New York City's Madison Square Garden on September 7 and September 10 of 2001. The shows sold out in five hours. Ticket prices were pop's most expensive ever; the best seats cost $5,000 and included a dinner with Michael Jackson and a signed poster. Jackson reportedly earned $7.5 million for each of the two concerts, which is over $150,000 per minute. In 2010, Madison Square Garden chose Michael Jackson's 1988 concert during the Bad World Tour as the greatest concert ever held at its venue.
The arena is also used for other special events, including tennis and circus events. The New York Police Academy, Baruch College/CUNY and Yeshiva University also hold their annual graduation ceremonies at Madison Square Garden. It hosted the Grammy Awards in 1972, 1997 and 2003 (which are normally held in Los Angeles) as well as the Latin Grammy Awards in 2006. The Garden also hosted the 2005 Country Music Association Awards (normally held in Nashville).
The Big East Conference men's basketball tournament has been held at MSG every year since 1983 making it the longest period a conference tournament has been held at a single location. The PBR has even made annual stops each year since 2007, when its inaugural Built Ford Tough Series event was won by J. B. Mauney.
Seating in the present Madison Square Garden is arranged in six ascending levels. The first level, which is only available for basketball games and concerts, but not for hockey games and ice shows, is the "floor" or "court-side" seating. Next above this is the loge seating, followed by the 100-level and 200-level promenades, the 300-level promenade, and the 400-level or mezzanine. The seats of these levels originally bore the colors red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, respectively. For hockey, the Garden seats 18,200; for basketball, 19,763; and for concerts 20,000 center stage, 19,522 end-stage. The arena features 20,976 square feet (1949 m²) of arena floor space.
Because all of the seats, except the 400 level, are in one monolithic grandstand, horizontal distance from the arena floor is significant from the ends of the arena. Also, the rows rise much more gradually than other North American arenas, which can cause impaired sight lines, especially when sitting behind tall spectators or one of the concourses.
This arrangement, however, also creates a significant advantage over newer arenas in that seats have a significantly lower vertical distance from the arena floor.
The capacity for basketball has gone as followed:
The capacity for hockey has gone as followed:
Today's Madison Square Garden is more than just the arena. Other venues at the Garden include:
The Theater at Madison Square Garden seats between 2,000 and 5,600 for concerts and can also be used for meetings, stage shows, and graduation ceremonies, was also the traditional home of the NFL Draft until 2005, when it moved to the Jacob Javits Convention Center after MSG management opposed a new stadium for the New York Jets. It also hosted the NBA Draft from 2001 to 2010. The theater also occasionally hosts major boxing matches on nights when the main arena is unavailable. The fall 1999 Jeopardy! Teen Tournament as well as a Celebrity Jeopardy! competition were held at the theater. In 2004, it was the venue of the Survivor: All Stars finale.
No seat is more than 177 feet (54 m) from the 30' × 64' stage. The theatre has a relatively low 20-foot (6.1 m) ceiling at stage level and all of its seating except for boxes on the two side walls is on one level slanted back from the stage. There is an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) lobby at the theater.
When the current Garden opened in 1968, the theater was known as the Felt Forum, in honor of then president Irving Felt. In the early 1990s, at the behest of then-owner Paramount Communications, the theater was renamed the Paramount after the Paramount Theatre in Times Square had been converted to an office tower. The theater received its next name of The Theater at Madison Square Garden in the mid-90s, after Viacom bought Paramount, and sold the MSG properties. In 2007, the theater was renamed the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, due to a naming rights deal with Washington Mutual. After Washington Mutual's failure in 2009, the name reverted to The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Madison Square Garden's $850 million second renovation will take place mainly over three offseasons. The more significant portion of it was set to begin after the 2009–10 hockey/basketball seasons, but was delayed until after the 2010–11 seasons. New features include a larger entrance that will include interactive kiosks, retail, climate controlled space, and broadcast studio; larger concourses; new lighting and LED video systems with HDTV; new seating; two new pedestrian walkways suspended from the ceiling to allow fans to look directly down onto the games being played below; more dining options; and improved dressing rooms, locker rooms, green rooms, upgraded roof, and production offices, among other upgrades.
The in-arena walkways will be eliminated, and portals will be installed between each section. The lower bowl concourse (to be known as the Madison Concourse) will remain on the 6th floor. The upper bowl concourse will be relocated to the 8th floor, and will be known as the Garden Concourse. The seventh floor will house the new Madison Suites. The upper bowl will be built on top of these suites. Existing 300 and 400 level seating will be combined to create the new upper bowl.
Construction of the lower bowl (Phase One) was completed for the 2011–2012 NHL and NBA seasons. An extended off-season for the Garden permitted some advanced work to begin on the new upper bowl, which is scheduled to be completed for the 2012–2013 seasons. This advance work includes the West Balcony on the 10th floor, taking the place of sky-boxes, and new end-ice 300 level seating.
Plans are underway to relocate systems in the periphery of the arena to permit city views. Renovation will be done in phases with the majority done in the summer months to minimize disruptions and will remain operational throughout the NHL and NBA seasons. While the Rangers and Knicks will not be displaced, the Liberty will play their home games through the 2012-13 season at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey during the renovation. Because of the renovation, the Rangers started the 2011-12 NHL season with seven games on the road before playing their first home game on October 27.
In 1980, the Garden hosted the first World judo championships for women, Jane Bridge (UK) in 48 kg won the gold medal. 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:
MSG hosted the following championship rounds:
Other music legends like Cher, Usher, Frank Sinatra, Eminem, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Nelly Furtado, Katy Perry, Depeche Mode, U2, The Killers, Pink Floyd, Blink 182, The Who, Deep Purple, The Osmonds, Muse and Marc Anthony performed many times at the venue.
The Garden has hosted many WWE wrestling events over the years including the very first WrestleMania in 1985, WrestleMania X in 1994, and WrestleMania XX in 2004. Other events include the first SummerSlam in 1988 along with SummerSlam 1991 and 1998; three Survivor Series events in 1996, 2002 and 2011; and the Royal Rumble in 2000 and 2008. In 2005, WWE severed business ties with the Garden because WWE felt that increased rental costs would prevent them from making a profit in the building. However, over a year later, the issues were temporarily patched up and the hiatus ended with a September 11, 2006 edition of Raw, ECW and Heat.
Though they pulled the twentieth annual SummerSlam, which would have been held at the Garden on August 26, 2007 (it was held at the Continental Airlines Arena instead), WWE continues to make regular appearances. Raw returned to the Garden on a November 16, 2009 television episode, as well as a Raw house show on June 19, 2010 and a SmackDown house show on September 25, 2010; the latter of which featured the return of Bret Hart to the Garden after an absence of more than a decade. A third Survivor Series event was held at the Garden on November 20, 2011, the event sold out in less than 90 minutes. After seven years of his last match at the Garden The Rock made his in-ring return at Survivor Series.
The WWE Championship has changed hands at the Garden sixteen times, more than in any other arena in the world. In addition WWE's other world championship, the World Heavyweight Championship has changed hands twice at the Garden. Both Vince McMahon, Sr. and Vince McMahon, Jr. were inducted in to the Madison Square Garden walk of fame,[when?] and altogether four generations of the McMahon family have promoted events at the Garden. Bruno Sammartino wrestled 211 main events in Madison Square Garden & had 187 sellouts.
As an iconic figure, Madison Square Garden has made various appearances in film and television programs. It was featured in the 1979 Robert Redford film The Electric Horseman. Madison Square Garden is featured in the opening scenes of Highlander (1986), which included footage of former tag team The Fabulous Freebirds. (It is worth noting, however, that only the exterior was used; the interior shots were from the then Brendan Byrne Arena). The Garden's marquee is seen in the 1984 comedy film, Top Secret! advertising a concert by the protagonist, Nick Rivers. In 1988 it featured scenes in the comedy hit Coming to America.
A boxing scene in Batman: The Animated Series takes place in a venue called "Gotham Square Garden".
Madison Square Garden was the "nest" for the carnivorous Godzilla babies and was later destroyed by F/A-18s in the Americanized version of Godzilla (1998). Madison Square Garden was featured in the films Glitter, Forget Paris, Finding Forrester, and the Adam Sandler remake of Mr. Deeds. In Paternity, Burt Reynolds plays the manager of the Garden. In Forget Paris, Billy Crystal (himself a New Yorker) pays an NBA Referee who works a game at the Garden.
The American sitcom Friends has used shots of Madison Square Garden several times. In the episode The One with George Stephanopoulos, Chandler, Joey, and Ross go to see a Rangers game, in The One with the Late Thanksgiving, Joey and Ross are late to Thanksgiving dinner because they go to see a Rangers game and in The One Where Rachel's Sister Baby-Sits Mike proposes to Phoebe on the big screen during a Knicks game. The Garden was also frequently featured on Seinfeld, as characters sporadically attended Rangers or Knicks games; David Puddy's face-painting as a fan of the New Jersey Devils features the infamous Blue seats.
The 1996 film Eddie starring Whoopi Goldberg, in which die hard Knicks fan Edwina Franklin (Goldberg) becomes the coach of the team, takes place at Madison Square Garden. Interior scenes were filmed inside the Charlotte Coliseum, which was re-dressed to look like the MSG interior.
The arena has also made various appearances on television. The television series Futurama, set in the year 3000, features "Madison Cube Garden" which appears like a cube standing on one partially buried corner.
Madison Square Garden was also featured in Madonna's 2005 CD/DVD I'm Going to Tell You a Secret. The DVD is a documentary that follows Madonna on her 2004 Re Invention Tour. It was also featured in Madonna's 2009 CD/DVD/BLU-RAY disc Sticky & Sweet Tour.
The Garden was also featured in the Spider-Man 2 video game where the player is allowed in temporarily to complete an obstacle course.
In Adam Sandler's Little Nicky the Harlem Globetrotters play at the Garden and the referee is Nicky's brother.
In the Hollywood hit Godzilla, two USAF fighter jets fire a few missiles into the building, which happen to be an egg nest. The resulting blast supposedly destroys all the remaining eggs and babies present in the area.
The Madison Square Garden marquee is world famous in its own right as it is featured on television coverage of sporting events played inside.
In the ending of the film Lemonade Mouth the band is shown playing in Madison Square Garden.
Madison Square Garden was featured as a backdrop in the sixth season of How I Met Your Mother. Robin's long lost friend, Jessica, plays the Garden organ during a Rangers game. However, the real Garden organist would never play Let's Go Band during a Rangers Game.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Madison Square Garden|
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