Madison Square Garden
Template:Infobox Stadium Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG, has been the name of four arenas in New York City, United States. The first two were located at Madison Square, thus the name. Subsequently a new 20,000-seat Garden was built at 50th Street and 8th Avenue, and the current Garden is at 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station. The present arena is informally known to some as "The World's Most Famous Arena".
The site of the first Madison Square Garden was formerly the passenger depot of the New York and Harlem Railroad. When the depot was moved to the current site of Grand Central Terminal in 1871 the depot was sold to P.T. Barnum and converted into a hippodrome called "Barnum's Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome." In 1876 it was renamed "Gilmore's Garden."
William Henry Vanderbilt officially renamed Gilmore's Garden "Madison Square Garden" and reopened the facility to the public on May 30, 1879 at 26th Street and Madison Avenue. The first arena was originally built for the sport of track cycling, which is still remembered in the name of the Madison event.
The second Madison Square Garden, designed by Stanford White, who would later be killed there, opened at this site in 1890 and remained until the third Garden opened in 1925. It hosted the 1924 Democratic National Convention, which nominated John W. Davis after 103 ballots. It also hosted the only indoor bout in the career of Jack Dempsey. The third Madison Square Garden opened in 1925 and cost $4.75 million to build. On February 11, 1968 the third Madison Square Garden closed and the fourth Madison Square Garden opened. Madison Square Garden III has since been replaced by the large mixed-use complex World Wide Plaza, which was designed by the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and completed in 1989.
As of September 2005, the Garden's current owners, Cablevision, has plans to build a fifth Garden. If the project moves forward, a new Garden would be built at the western end of the James Farley Post Office. The new Garden, which would remain home to the Rangers and the Knicks, would feature wide concourses with stores and restaurants, luxury boxes with better sight lines for basketball and hockey games, a museum, and a hall of fame.
The present Garden is best known as the home of the New York Knicks (basketball) and New York Rangers (ice hockey), professional sports teams that play their home matches in the arena. It also hosts New York Liberty (WNBA) home games, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus when it comes to New York City, home games for the St. John's Red Storm (college basketball), the annual NBA Draft, and almost any other kind of indoor activity that draws large audiences, such as the 2004 Republican National Convention. It has previously hosted the 1976, 1980 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions. The Garden hosts 320 events a year.
MSG is also known for its place in the history of boxing. Many of boxing's most important fights were held at Madison Square Garden, including many of Joe Louis, the Roberto Duran-Ken Buchanan affair, and the first and second Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali bouts. Before promoters such as Don King and Bob Arum moved boxing to Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden was considered the mecca of boxing.
Most large popular-music concerts in New York City take place in Madison Square Garden. Particularly famous ones include The Concert for New York City following the September 11 attacks and John Lennon's final concert before his murder in 1980.
The arena is also a primary location for World Wrestling Entertainment events. WWE events that have occurred during the past years are WrestleMania (1985), WrestleMania X (1994), Survivor Series 1996 and 2002, SummerSlam 1988, 1991 and 1998, the 2000 Royal Rumble and WrestleMania XX (2004).
The New York Police Academy also holds its annual graduation ceremony for new officers at Madison Square Garden.
Seating in the present Madison Square Garden is arranged in five ascending levels. The lowest one is referred to as "rink-side" for hockey games or "court-side" for basketball games (at some events a still lower seating level, known as the Rotunda, is also provided); next above this is the First Promenade, followed by the Second Promenade, First Balcony and Second Balcony. The seats of these five levels originally bore the colors red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, respectively; however, this color scheme has since been changed, mainly because the "blue seats" had become synonymous with rowdy behavior by fans, particularly those attending New York Rangers hockey games. 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.
Today's Madison Square Garden is more than just the arena. Other venues at the Garden include:
- The Theater, which seats between 2,000 to 5,600 for concerts and can also be used for meetings, stage shows, and graduation ceremonies. No seat is more than 177 feet (54 m) from the 30-foot-by-64-foot stage. There is an 8,000-square-foot lobby at the theater.
- The 36,000-square-foot Expo Center, used for trade shows, often in combination with the arena, banquets, and receptions.
- A 9,500-square-foot terrace and two restaurants: the Garden Club and the Play-by-Play.
Other corporate operations
In addition to the Garden itself, Madison Square Garden, L.P. also operates two major sports venues in Connecticut.
The Hartford Civic Center Coliseum, an indoor arena in Hartford, is home to the Hartford Wolf Pack, a minor-league hockey team also owned by MSG, and also serves as the part-time home of the men's and women's basketball teams of the University of Connecticut.
- February 12, 1879 - The first artificial ice rink in North America opens at the Garden.
- 1902 - The first indoor professional American football game is played.
- 1934 - The first college basketball game at the Garden is played, between the University of Notre Dame and New York University.
- February 28, 1940 - Basketball is televised for the first time (Fordham University vs. the University of Pittsburgh).
- March 19, 1954 - Joey Giardello knocks out Willie Tory in round seven at the Garden in the first televised prize boxing fight shown in color.
- March 31, 1985 - The WWF, now known as the WWE, presents the first WrestleMania event, marketed as the greatest spectacle in professional wrestling, revolutionizing the Sports Entertainment industry.
- June 14, 1994 - After 54 years, the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup at Madison Square Garden.
- June 29, 1997 - The New York Liberty professional women's basketball team plays its first home game - the first WNBA game to be played at Madison Square Garden. 
- March 1, 2003 - Quinnipiac University defeats the University of Connecticut 4-3 in the first college hockey game played at Madison Square Garden since 1977.
Other notable events
- June 25, 1906 - Architect Sanford White is assassinated by Harry K. Thaw on the Garden's roof, allegedly because he seduced the Thaw's wife, Evelyn Nesbit.
- October 20, 2001 - "The Concert for New York City" is held at the Garden to benefit the city and the victims of the 9/11 terrorist disaster.
- March 14, 2004 - WWE's WrestleMania XX is held, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the company's first ever WrestleMania event.
- September 20, 2005 - "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy" is held at the Garden with a simultaneous concert at Radio City Music Hall to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
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