Madison Square Garden :: New York


Madison Square Garden, also referred to as “MSG” and “The Garden”, is one of the most famous arenas in the world. Opened in 1968, it is actually the fourth arena that has held the name and serves as the home to the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks, National Hockey League’s Rangers and Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association. The Garden also hosts a wide variety of events such as the Big East Men’s Basketball Conference Tournament, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, concerts from world renowned stars and even the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. There is almost always something going on at the arena with approximately 320 events held every year, it ranked 2nd in a 2007 survey of the world’s busiest arenas behind only the Manchester Evening News Arena in England. In 2009, Madison Square Garden was named by Billboard Magazine as a “Venue of the Decade” in its “The Year End/Decade in Music” December issue.

The Garden is located directly above Penn Station, giving visitors easy subway/train access from almost anywhere in the surrounding “the five boroughs” and New Jersey. It is a major venue for events that draw large audiences and has been home to three Democratic National Conventions (1976, 1980 & 1992) as well as the 2004 Republican National Convention. Ever year it plays host the pre and post season NIT tournaments as well as the NBA Draft. MSG also has a vast history of boxing, hosting many of the biggest fights like the first Joe Frazier – Muhammad Ali bout. The original ring, dating back to the 2nd generation of the Garden was retired and donated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame after 82 years of use. A wide variety of popular music concerts are also held every year and have featured musicians such as George Harrison, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Police, Bon Jovi, and Jay-Z. MSG is also hosts the annual graduation ceremonies of the New York Police Academy, NYU, CUNY & Yeshiva University.

In 1991, $200 million was invested in renovating the arena, adding 89 additional suites. Recently, MSG executives announced plans to once again renovate and modernize the arena in time for the Knicks and Rangers 2011-12 seasons. The arena is not the only venue at MSG, there is also the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden which seats up to 5600 people for concerts, meetings, stage shows and ceremonies. It was the home of the NFL Draft until 2005 when it moved to the Jacob Javits Convention Center and since 2001 has been the site of the NBA Draft. The theater also hosts major boxing matches on nights when the main arena is not available. You can even take a one hour guided walking tour of the arena to see how things work behind the scenes. There is also the Expo Center, formerly The Rotunda which is used for trade shows and conventions often in conjunction with the arena. Madison Square Garden has two restaurants as well, the Garden Club and the Play-by-Play. Foot for foot there is always something interesting and wonderful going on at Madison Square Garden. It’s played host to history, frivolity, and action, and it will welcome you with open arms.

New York City (Lonely Planet City Guide)
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