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Madison Square Garden
MSG, The Garden
Madison Square Garden.svg
The current Madison Square Garden in 2006
Location 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (8th Avenue & 33rd Street), Manhattan, New York City, NY 10001
Coordinates 40°45′2″N 73°59′37″W / 40.75056°N 73.99361°W / 40.75056; -73.99361Coordinates: 40°45′2″N 73°59′37″W / 40.75056°N 73.99361°W / 40.75056; -73.99361
Opened Former locations: 1879, 1890, 1925
Current location: February 11, 1968
Owner Madison Square Garden, Inc.
Operator Madison Square Garden, Inc.
Construction cost $123 million USD
Architect Charles Luckman Associates
Capacity Basketball: 19,763
Ice hockey / Lacrosse: 18,200
Concert: 20,000
WaMu Theater: 5,600
WWE (1968-present)
New York Rangers (NHL) (1968–present)
New York Knicks (NBA) (1968–present)
New York Liberty (WNBA) (1997–present)
New York Titans (NLL) (2007–2009)
New York Knights (AFL) (1988)
New York CityHawks (AFL) (1997–1998)
Democratic National Convention (1976, 1980 and 1992)
Republican National Convention (2004)
Big East Men's Basketball Tournament (NCAA) (1983-present)
St. John's Red Storm (NCAA) (1969–present)

Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is the name of the arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan, located at 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station. The arena opened on February 11, 1968, 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.

In 2007 the Arena came second as "World's Busiest Arena" after the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England.[1]

Madison Square Garden refers to itself in its advertising campaigns as "The World's Most Famous Arena."



The Seventh Avenue entrance to Madison Square Garden

On February 11, 1968[2], 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 an active railroad system and the platforms of an active railroad station. It was an engineering feat constructed by R.E. McKee of El Paso, Texas.

Public outcry over the demolished Beaux-Arts structure 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 Knicks and the Rangers to what was a proposed venue in the New Jersey Meadows (now completed and known as Meadowlands Sports Complex or Izod Center.) This location now hosts its own NBA team (New Jersey Nets) and from 1982–2007, the NHL's New Jersey Devils. The NFL's New York Giants were the only established New York–named team that actually did move there, and they were later joined by the Jets. Felt's efforts fueled controversy between the Garden and New York City over Real Estate Tax. 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 tax. Efforts were ignored by city leaders.

MSG was the home arena for the NY Raiders/NY Golden Blades of the World Hockey Association.

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 proposed West Side Stadium which would compete with the Garden. New stadium proposals 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 site in conjunction with the Moynihan Station project. However, on April 3, 2008 MSG executives announced plans to once again renovate and modernize the current Garden in time for the Knicks and Rangers' 2011–12 seasons,[3] 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.

Present operations

The Garden during "Mark Messier Night", January 12, 2006

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 athletics 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.

Connecticut-based World Wrestling Entertainment considers it a home arena as well, due to the fact that all generations of the McMahon family, including Vince McMahon's father and grandfather, have promoted shows at the Garden.[4]

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 FrazierMuhammad Ali bout. Before promoters such as Don King and Bob Arum moved boxing to Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden was considered the mecca of boxing. The original 18½' × 18½' 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' ring replaced it beginning on October 6 of that same year.

The Knicks in action at MSG in the 2008-09 season

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. The Garden usually hosts a concert each year on New Years 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 60 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 arena is also used for other special events, including tennis and circus events. The New York Police Academy, New York University, 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 frequent stops each year.


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.

Court set for St. John's basketball game

Because all of the seats, except the 400 level, are in one monolithic grandstand, 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.

Other venues

Today's Madison Square Garden is more than just the arena. Other venues at the Garden include:

  • The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, which seats between 2,000 and 5,600 for concerts and can also be used for meetings, stage shows, and graduation ceremonies, and 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 occasionally hosts major boxing matches on nights when the main arena is unavailable. 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[5] 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, it was renamed the Paramount to be the successor to the Paramount Theatre in Times Square which had been converted to an office tower (the name change being due to the fact that Paramount Communications (which had previously been known as Gulf+Western) owned the Garden during this period). 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 to a group consisting of ITT and Cablevision, which each owned 50% of the Garden. In 1997, ITT sold their share to Cablevision, giving the cable company full control of the venue. 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. On May 17, 2007, the theater received its current name due to a naming rights deal with Washington Mutual. Since Washington Mutual is no longer a bank after being seized by the Office of Thrift Supervision and FDIC and sold to JP Morgan Chase, the fate of the name is currently unknown.[6] Since 2001, the WaMu Theatre has been the site of the NBA Draft.
  • The 36,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) Expo Center (formerly known as "The Rotunda") is used for trade shows, cat shows, stamp shows, often in combination with the arena, banquets, and receptions.
  • A 9,500-square-foot (880 m2) terrace and two restaurants: the Garden Club and the Play-by-Play.


Madison Square Garden was set to be renovated after the 2009-10 hockey season, but was delayed until after the 2010-11 hockey season.

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; more dining options; and improved dressing rooms, locker rooms, green rooms, and production offices, among other upgrades. The lower bowl is currently expected to be ready for the 2011–2012 seasons and upper bowl for the 2012–2013 seasons. 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.

Notable firsts and significant events

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 also hosted games in the finals:

MSG has hosted several WrestleMania (I, X, XX) and SummerSlam events (1988, 1991, 1998), two Survivor Series (1996, 2002) events and the 2000 and 2008 Royal Rumble. More WWE Championships have been won at MSG than any other arena. WWE's strong relationship with Madison Square Garden prevented competitor World Championship Wrestling (WCW) from ever having a show at the Garden.[citation needed] In 2005, WWE severed business ties with the arena because WWE felt that increased rental costs would prevent them from making a profit in the building. However, over a year later, World Wrestling Entertainment temporarily patched things up with MSG and the hiatus ended with a September 11, 2006 edition of Raw and HEAT. Though they pulled the 20th installment of 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 occasional appearances at MSG, and returned for the 2008 Royal Rumble in January. RAW returned to the MSG on November 16, 2009.

Film, television and popular culture

Food court at Madison Square Garden

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 cult 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 the movie Rocky III, the rematch between Clubber Lang and Rocky Balboa is in the Garden.

Led Zeppelin's 1976 concert movie The Song Remains The Same was filmed during the band's three-night concert series at Madison Square Garden in 1973, which also provided the soundtrack to the film.

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 Putty'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.

In episode 409 of South Park, Something You Can Do With Your Finger, Cartman has a dream where he, Stan, Kyle and Kenny perform there in their boy band dubbed "Fingerbang".

The garden's front rail was frontside boardslided by skateboarder Brian Anderson in Girl Skateboards' Yeah Right!

One of the concert venues in the video game Rock Band is a fictitious New York concert hall called "Empire Square Garden", a clear reference to The Garden.[7]

In the anime Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, the character Ryohei Sasagawa, obsessed with boxing said he always saw stars and the Madison Square Garden, even when it was the afternoon.

Madison Square Garden was also featured in Madonna's 2006 CD/DVD I'm Going to Tell You a Secret. The DVD is a documentary that follows Madonna on her 2004 Re Invention Tour.

The demolition of Penn Station to make way for Madison Square Garden was featured in the Mad Men episode "Love among the ruins"

A scene in the romantic comedy Hitch takes place at Madison Square Garden during a Knicks basketball game.

In the 2000 wrestling film Ready to Rumble, the WCW pay-per-view "Royal Bash" takes place at Madison Square Garden.

In the Video Game NCAA Basketball 10 MSG is named Empire State Arena



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