Madison Square Garden

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Madison Square, West 23rd-26th Streets and 5th Avenue to Broadway.
Madison Square Garden, a/k/a MSG and also known as The Garden, is a very popular multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.

Opening on February 11, 1968, it is the longest active major sporting facility in the New York Metropolitan area, 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.

Madison Square Garden is the third busiest arena in the world in terms of ticket sales, behind only M.E.N. Arena, Manchester and The O2 Arena, London both in England.

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 track and field 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.
Madison Square Garden 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 DurĂ¡n-Ken Buchanan affair, and the first Joe Frazier–Muhammad 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' (5.6 m × 5.6 m) 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' (6 m × 6 m) ring replaced it beginning on October 6 of that same year.

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."

In 2010, Madison Square Garden chose Michael Jackson's 1988 concert during the Bad World Tour as the greatest concert ever held at its venue.

The arena is also used for other special events, including tennis and circus events. The New York Police Academy, 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 annual stops each year since 2007, when its inaugural Built Ford Tough Series event was won by J. B. Mauney.

The Garden has hosted numerous wrestling matches, including the first Wrestlemania, as well as WrestleMania X and WrestleMania XX.

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. Seating in the present Madison Square Garden is arranged in six ascending levels. 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.
Because all of the seats, except the 400 level, are in one monolithic grandstand, horizontal 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. This arrangement, however, also creates a significant advantage over newer arenas in that seats have a significantly lower vertical distance from the arena floor.

Madison Square Garden Brief History:
The building that became the first Madison Square Garden at 26th Street and Madison Avenue was originally the passenger depot of the New York and Boston Rail Road. When the depot moved uptown in 1871, the building was sold to P.T. Barnum who converted it into the open-air "Hippodrome" for circus performances. In 1876 it became "Gilmore's Garden," where Patrick Gilmore presented marathon races, temperance and revival meetings, balls, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (1877), as well as boxing "exhibitions" or "illustrated lectures", since competitive boxing matches were illegal at the time. It was finally renamed "Madison Square Garden" in 1879 by William Kissam Vanderbilt, the son of Commodore Vanderbilt, who continued to present sporting events, the National Horse Show, and more boxing, including bouts by John L. Sullivan that drew huge crowds. Vanderbilt eventually sold what Harper's Weekly called his "patched-up grumy, drafty combustible, old shell" to a syndicate that included J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, James Stillman and W. W. Astor.

The building that replaced it was a Beaux-Arts structure designed by the noted architect Stanford White. White kept an apartment in the building, and was shot dead in the Garden's rooftop restaurant by millionaire Harry K. Thaw over an affair White had with Thaw's wife, the well-known actress Evelyn Nesbit, who White seduced when she was 16. The resulting sensational press coverage of the scandal caused Thaw's trial to be one of the first Trials of the Century.

Madison Square became known as "Diana's little wooded park" after the huge bronze statue of the Roman goddess Diana by Augustus Saint-Gaudens that stood atop the 32-story tower of White's arena – at the time it was the second-tallest building in the city.

The Madison Square Garden hosted the annual French Ball, both the Barnum and the Ringling Brothers circuses, orchestral performances, light operas and romantic comedies, and the 1924 Democratic National Convention, which nominated John W. Davis after 103 ballots, but it was never a financial success. It was torn down soon after, and the venue moved uptown. Today, the arena retains its name, even though it is no longer located in the area of Madison Square.

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