Tomorrow night, the Charlotte Bobcats and New York Knicks will play the first basketball game at the new, fully renovated Madison Square Garden. The Garden has been through many transformations and locations through the years, and this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday shows you them all.
Location: East 26th Street and Madison Avenue
Famous For: Prior to 1879: The first ever Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, one of the first indoor ice rinks in the United States. After 1879: Name officially changed to Madison Square Garden, boxing, bike racing, and the viewing of P.T. Barnum’s elephant. How the times have changed.
Location: 26th Street and Madison Avenue
Capacity: 8,000 seated, a 1,200-seat theatre, and a 1,500-seat concert hall
Famous For: 32 world championship boxing fights, first indoor professional football game, the 1924 Democratic National Convention, numerous orchestras and operas, and the Barnum and Ringling circuses
Location: Eighth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets
Capacity: 18,496 for basketball, 15,925 for hockey. The record crowd was set at 23,190 for a boxing match between Fritzie Zivic and Henry Armstrong in 1941.
Famous For: A lot more boxing, the first home of the New York Rangers and New York Knicks, first professional basketball game (1925), a “Boycott Nazi Germany” rally (1937), John F. Kennedy’s birthday party (1962)
Location: Between Seventh and Eighth Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets
Capacity: 19,033 for basketball, 17,200 for hockey and lacrosse, 20,000 for concerts, 20,789 for boxing.
Despite only two major renovations, all of these numbers have increased tremendously since 1968.
Famous For: Ali vs. Frazier and even more boxing, five NBA Finals, three Stanley Cups, performances from the likes of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson (and more), Wrestlemanias, Big East Basketball Tournaments, All-Star Games, and numerous legendary tennis exhibitions. Pretty much anything you can think of.
We’ll have plenty more on the MSG transformation after the game on Friday.