We like to check out as many stadiums and ball parks as we can during our travels. It was unfortunate that during our visit in April, both the NYC Rangers and the New York Knicks had both already completed their seasons. We were hoping for it to work out to be able to catch a play-off game, but it was not in the cards. Seeing the basketball court set up made us realize how long it has been since we caught an NBA game. We have not been to a basketball game since the Grizzlies were in Vancouver; that was a long time ago. We were still in high school then and the memories sure are fuzzy; added to our never ending list of experiences we have to do.
Like other arenas, Madison Square Garden has seen other entertainment pass through such as concerts, circuses, beauty contests, and boxing matches and was home to one of the first indoor ice rinks in the United States. When MSG took on the name it still goes by today, it was an open-air arena near Madison Square Park.
Did you know?
All four Beatles have performed at Madison Square Garden, but they never performed there at the same time. John Lennon’s second to last performance ever was at MSG, when he came out to perform with Elton John in November 1974 as a surprise guest.
Here are some of the interesting facts we did not know about Madison Square Garden until we took the tour:
One of the first things we noticed when we walked into the Madison Level Concourse was the retrospective photo exhibit marking memorable dates all the way around. Garden 366 is a great idea to mark each day of the year as an ode to MSG’s history. The display is called Garden 366, since it includes 366 moments– including an extra day for Leap Year.
Locker Room Rituals
The Knicks’ and Rangers’ locker rooms are round for a reason: Hall-of-famer and former Rangers captain Mark Messier suggested it would facilitate team unity back in the 1990s. The round locker rooms have the shape they do because it enables each player to look into the eyes of their teammates. No one is permitted to walk on the locker room’s team logos. Justin Bieber apparently did when he was visiting and that was a huge no-no. The players take their superstitions very seriously.
The Super ‘Cool’ Floor
With the amazing technology of today, you’re able to see a basketball game in the afternoon and a hockey game that same night, but how? During the hockey season, the ice rests beneath the basketball court, covered by insulated material. Pipes in the concrete are used to chill the floor and the ice crew sprays layers of water to cover the surface of the rink. The ice is so white because a few layers of paint are also added in. The white ice is possible because of metal oxide and the blue and red lines, circles and logos are hand-painted. What a job that would be! In total, 10,056 gallons of water are used, including those used by the Zamboni between periods.
The stadium has a state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind, centerhung multimedia display. The display is the centerpiece of The Garden’s brand-new LED video display system, known as GardenVision. Believe us when we say it is MASSIVE:
- The four main video displays measure 15.7 feet tall by 28 feet wide. Directly above those displays are four auxiliary video displays measuring more than 6 feet tall by 29 feet wide.
- The corners of GardenVision contain four curved displays matching the height of the main video displays and four more curved displays matching the height of the auxiliary displays to create a full circular video board.
- The inside bottom screens will provide up-to-the-minute statistics, game information, as well as replays.
- The top of GardenVision contains an ID ring consisting of a backlit LED panel that is more than 2 feet tall and circles the entire top of the structure.
- The board can be lowered and expanded for different events.
The iconic MSG ceiling is the only arena ceiling in the world that is concave, rather than convex. You can only tell the ceiling has the curve when you’re up higher. We thought it was super impressive that when you’re on the ground level, you cannot even notice the curve. It features sound absorptive acoustic insulation, allowing for the sound quality that makes MSG a concert mecca. The 48 bridge-like steel cables run between the ceiling panels and connect in the center in a tension ring, eliminating the need for any visible support beams. Without the need for support beams, fans have an unobstructed view from every single seat in the arena – even the nosebleeds. Seeing the different viewpoints around the arena, we could tell that there really is not an obstructed view and the thought process and development behind it blew our minds.
All in all, the tour was great. It was nice to see a little “behind the scenes” and get a look without thousands of people around us. Next time though, hopefully we will be enjoying an event with over 20,000 other fans.