"Welcome to the magic world of Madison Square Garden, the world's most famous arena."

Sitting atop Penn Station in the heart of Midtown Manhattan just a few blocks south of
Times Square. Madison Square Garden embodies the flashiness and electricity that defines
the Big Apple.

Opened for business in 1968, this is the fourth arena to be named Madison Square Garden,
the first opening in 1874. Along with being the home of the NBA Knicks and NHL Rangers,
this arena is also home to such world renowned events as the Westminster Dog Show and
the Millrose Indoor Track and Field Championships. Of couse being the Garden this place is
also a hallowed boxing arena where many great bouts have taken place, most notably
Ali-Frazier in 1971.

Getting to the venue
Best advice ... take the subway or a train! Traffic is your typical Manhattan mess, and getting
around this city is a chore. Parking can be had for $20-$25 right near the arena, and as
cheap as $10 if you want to walk a few blocks. Free spaces are around but hard to find and
you have to watch the restrictions on the free parking spots or you could find your car gone
when you return.

Outside the Arena
Two major marquees dominate the exterior of the building with one overlooking 8th Avenue
and one above the 7th Avenue entrance where one can access Penn Station. On the 8th
Avenue side sits the entrance to the Madison Square Garden Theatre. Once known as the
Felt Forum, this 4,000 seat auditorium is the site of many plays. The main entrance to the
arena is at 7th Avenue where once inside you have the option of stepping inside one of
many shops and places to eat before heading up to the arena entrance.

At the foot of the arena you will see an illustrious display of murals dedicated to the main
tenants of the building while the floor is tiled with the names of many of the great
performers who have graced the Garden floor. At the right is an escalator that takes people
with preferred seating to their seat location. Get past the ticket windows and head to the
many levels of escalators that will take you to your seating level. The Garden is unique in
that the floor of the main arena is several stories above ground level, unlike other places
where it is either at ground level or below.

The Concourses
Generally these are somewhat narrower than in most buildings we have seen, however this
building contains more concourses than what we are used to seeing, so getting around the
building is not really all that difficult and there are quite a few nooks to explore..
Concessions are grouped into two "Center Food Courts", where knishes are added to the
pizzas burgers and other typical
ballpark dreck. Yet at the same time unsurprising since
New York seems to be a no-frills, traditional sports crowd.  Also, two team stores can be
found at opposite baselines with a great selections of Knicks, Rangers and Liberty
(wheeee!) merchandise..

Premium seating
Skyboxes ring the roof of the building, while a three level of suite configuration can be
found in one end zone. Being an older building, there is no club level per se, but seat
levels are clearly delineated by an aisle which rings the top of each level. It is the lowest
level of seats that are most expensive. For premium seat holders there is a private facility
called the Play by Play Sports Restaurant, offering a continental menu, games such as
bubble hockey and foul shot and HDTV monitors to watch the games,

Seating Area

This is a single level bowl with red seats in lower sections and blue seats up high as fans
enter into the bowl from four different levels. Above it, all suites ring most of the arena and
in some spots they are double decked. An eight sided jumbotron hangs above center court
and dot matrix boards sit atop the seating area at each baseline showing out of town
scores, ads, and being New York the occasional stock ticker. With New York being the
center of the world, one can ignore the game and watch the celebs that sit courtside here.
Our personal favorite being Spike Lee, the only one who dresses and behaves as if he is
sitting next to Joe Sixpack with his unbridled enthusiasm for his(and Peter's) beloved
Knicks.

Retired numbers and banners
With the Knicks dating back to 1946 and the Rangers celebrating their 75th anniversary
season these are two of the storied franchises in sports. Hanging proudly for the Knicks
are banners for their two NBA titles in 1970 and 73 along with Division and Conference title
banners.  Seven Knick players have their number raised to the roof here as well as the
number 613 for Coach Red Holzman. Opposite these banners are the Ranger Stanley Cup,
Conference, Division, and President's Trophy banners as well as the names of Rod Gilbert
and Ed Giacomin. With the Rangers most recent Stanley Cup, no longer will they hear the
chant of "1940" when they hit the road. We don't mean to sound sexist, but we could really
do without the Liberty banners...

Extra Points
This was Peter's first time ever at the Garden to see his beloved Knicks and on this day
they went down to defeat at the hands of the Jazz...the multiple concourses reminded us of
Buffalo's old Memorial Auditorium...Knicks seating capacity is 19,763 and every ticket has
been sold since February 1993...Post Office building sits opposite the Garden at 8th
Avenue(Peter's other hallowed ground)....

March 17, 2002 update...Ultimate Sports Road Trip karma??? Try jinx instead! We are now 0
for 3 in 2002 as the Detroit Red Wings scored a late goal and added an empty netter to beat
the Rangers, 5-3. Pavel Bure, the Rangers need you fast!!! (hahahah). Maybe we'll have
better luck on our next trip in the midwest.

Summary
Yes, this building has aged and it is not complete with every last new amenity found in
newer facilities. However, let's face it this is THE Garden, a place someone with the initials
MJ referred to as "The Mecca of Basketball", where Willis limped onto the court in game 7,
one of the famous moments in NBA history. This is one of the oldest NBA and NHL arenas in
North America, yet retains an aura and elegance that is unmatched and can not be
duplicated, and here you are in the center of the greatest city on the planet. There is
nothing shabby, dog-eared or negative one can find here - it is truly one of sports' hallowed
grounds and a venue to be experienced again and again.


SCORING - RANGERS
Architecture 7
Concessions 4
Scoreboard and electronics 4.5
Ushers 7
Fan Support 8
Location and neighborhood 9
Banners/history 9
Entertainment 5
Concourses/fan comfort 6
Bonus 0
Total Points: 59.5

SCORING - KNICKS

Architecture 7
Food and team store 4
Scoreboard and electronics 4.5
Ushers 7
Fan support 9
Location and neighborhood 9
Banners and history 8
Entertainment 4.5
Concourses/fan comfort 6
Bonus: Spike Lee 3, Knishes, 2 Pete's beloved Knicks 5
Total Points: 69
Madison Square Garden
#31   




Madison
Square
Garden   




New York,
New York   




March 5,
2000




Utah Jazz at
New York
Knicks




#110



Madison
Square
Garden   




New York,
New York   




March 17,
2002


Detroit
Red Wings
at
New York
Rangers



return visit:

February 16,
2008

Buffalo
Sabres
at
New York
Rangers

January 13,
2013

New Orleans
Hornets at
New York
Knicks