On Thursday October 27th, Madison Square Garden finally reopened its doors to hockey fans after major renovations forced the New York Rangers to play their first seven games on the road. The updates to the lower bowl are part of multi-year updates being done in the NHL and NBA off-seasons, while the New York Liberty played their WNBA games in nearby New Jersey.
Extensive work in this phase began in April, and the lower areas of the arena have practically been gutted and re-done completely. Some of the features of the “new” Garden are updated locker rooms, concourse areas, retractable seats for NBA games (whenever those may start up again!), and the new architecture I’m most excited about: catwalks above the ice so fans can watch the action overhead. Lord knows I can’t afford season tickets, but I feel better about my vantage point when you throw the word “catwalk” in there.
While the overhaul is being touted as a “transformation”, Madison Square Garden is no stranger to complete upheaval, and is certainly old enough to need some facelifts. The current location is also known as “MSG IV”, and opened in 1968 after historic Pennsylvania Station was demolished in favor of moving the rails to below the city. It’s the oldest active sports facility in the New York metro area, but the previous Gardens were pretty impressive too. The first two were located at Madison Square (hence the name, of course), but the latter two were moved farther uptown to 49th street and 31st streets respectively.
We’ve previously looked at this Garden’s more memorable moments. This week, let’s flashback to the first three versions of the World’s Most Famous Arena: