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Madison Square Garden

the third busiest sports and entertainment facility in the world (behind M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England, and O2 Arena in London, England), hosting an average of 350 events a year

Located in New York City, between 31st and 33rd Streets from Seventh to Eighth Avenue, Madison Square Garden is the home of the New York Rangers (NHL), New York Knicks (NBA), New York Liberty (WNBA), and World Wrestling Entertainment.

exterior of Madison Square Garden
exterior of Madison Square Garden

History

In 1871, showman P.T. Barnum leased a former railway terminal at Madison Avenue and 26th Street from Cornelius Vanderbilt and converted it into Barnum's Hippodrome, a roofless, oval-shaped arena with gardens inside seating 10,000 spectators. The Hippodrome served as the home base of P.T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome until 1879, when Barnum's lease expired and Vanderbilt renamed the venue Madison Square Garden.

the first Madison Square Garden
the first Madison Square Garden

In 1890, Vanderbilt replaced the original Madison Square Garden with a an impressive castle-like structure designed by Stanford White. This Madison Square Garden played host to boxing matches, orchestras, the 1924 Democratic National Convention, and many other events before being torn down to make room for the New York Life Insurance Company Building in 1925.

the second Madison Square Garden
the second Madison Square Garden

The third Madison Square Garden was located at 50th Street and Eighth Avenue, nowhere near Madison Square. Opened in 1925, the fairly nondescript structure was used primarily for sporting events. It became the home of the New York Rangers in 1926, and of the New York Knicks in 1946. The first ever televised hockey game was played here on February 25, 1940; the Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-2 in that game. The most notable non-sports event to be held in this venue was President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday celebration, in 1962; the celebration itself is best known for Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday" serenade to the President.

the third Madison Square Garden
the third Madison Square Garden

The current Madison Square Garden opened its doors on February 11, 1968, and has been a premier sports and entertainment facility ever since. One of the biggest events to be held here was the "Fight of the Century" between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier on March 8, 1971.

Miscellaneous Facts

In 1879, the first artificial ice rink in North America was built inside Madison Square Garden.

The current Madison Square Garden was the first structure to ever be built directly above an active railroad station (Penn Station).

Madison Square Garden is the oldest active NHL arena, and the second oldest active NBA arena, behind Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

Elton John holds the record for the most stage appearances at Madison Square Garden, 62 to date.

Seating capacity inside Madison Square Garden is 19,763 for basketball games, 18,200 for hockey. The Garden is currently undergoing renovations that will increase both of those numbers.

inside Madison Square Garden
inside Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden's official mailing address is Two Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, New York 10121-0091. Its website is www.thegarden.com/.

SEE ALSO
P.T. Barnum
John F. Kennedy
Joe Frazier

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The Robinson Library >> Recreation >> Sports Facilities

This page was last updated on September 03, 2017.