While New York City boasts some of the most iconic buildings in the world, including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, a trip to the city would not be complete without a stop at Madison Square Garden. Nestled in the heart of the city that never sleeps and opened in 1968, Madison Square Garden hosts a plethora of events throughout the year. From the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to countless performances by Billy Joel, the Garden seems to be holding a different event each night. In addition to the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers and the New York Liberty call the Garden their permanent home.
Although each of these events offers its own set of benefits, attending a New York Knicks game at the Garden offers an unparalleled experience. From the passionate fans to celebrities sitting courtside, there is a truly unique and unparalleled atmosphere that surrounds a Knicks game. The hefty price of admission is well worth the priceless experience once inside Madison Square Garden and is a must see for any sports fan.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The quality and array of food inside Madison Square Garden is fantastic and is sure to please any basketball fan.
The Garden has all of the basics covered when it comes to food, including hot dogs ($7) and popcorn ($6.25). If you are looking for something a little bit more adventurous, check out Hill Country BBQ, which serves delicious pulled pork sandwiches ($14). The Garden also offers a rather unique sushi stand, with selections ranging in price from $3.50 to $19. For dietary restrictions, there is a dedicated gluten free stand, where plenty of options are available, including gluten free hot dogs ($7).
A number of Coca Cola products are available for purchase at MSG. For adult fans, both domestic ($11.50) and imported ($12.25) beer is available throughout the Garden, including Budweiser, Shock Top, and Brooklyn Lager. Mixed drinks ($12) can also be purchased in the concourse.
Although the concessions are pricey, they are worth the cost. Hill Country BBQ always produces a great product and is the best bang for your buck.
From the moment you catch a glimpse of MSG on the streets of New York, you can feel the special nature of attending a Knicks' game.
MSG fits perfectly within the confines of two city blocks and is aesthetically pleasing both inside and outside the venue. Once inside, the seating bowl is divided into two main sections, the 100 level and the 200 level. Both of these seating levels provide great views of the court. The concourse on the 100 level is spacious and provides ample room to wander, whereas space is more limited on the 200 level. All the seats are comfortable and padded, although there are no cup holders. Additionally, the Chase Bridge extends out over the 200 level and provides amazing views of the court. A gorgeous jumbotron, which provides video and game statistics with pristine quality, is located directly above the court.
The Knicks do an incredible job of keeping fans engaged throughout the game. From the spectacular introductions, which include a digital display on the court, to the in-game promotions, such as the "Air Elite Dunkers." With the central location of MSG, a number of celebrities are bound to be in attendance each night and are featured on the jumbotron.
All of the seats at MSG provide a great view of the action and make each fan feel as though they are part of the crowd. The seating in the Chase Bridge provides a unique view of the court and is one of the more unique features of Madison Square Garden.
The neighborhood surrounding Madison Square Garden provides an endless amount of options for both before and after the game.
New York City is full of great restaurants, with every type of cuisine and price point represented. A hidden gem, especially for fans with dietary restrictions, located only a few blocks away from MSG is Friedman's Restaurant, which serves up American classics, such as chicken and waffles. If you are craving Italian food, Lugo Cucina serves up a great selection of grub at a reasonable price.
Not only does New York City have great food, it also has some of the best entertainment in the world. Although it is not extremely well known, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater provides great comedy every night for an extremely low price, with appearances from famous comedians being a common occurrence. The Modern Museum of Art, or the MoMA, is another popular attraction in the area.
As expected, there are plenty of hotels located around the Garden. The biggest limiting factor in selection, however, is price, since most rooms are fairly expensive. Hotel Pennsylvania is located directly across the street from Madison Square Garden and provides economical rates but below average service.
No matter the night or the opponent, the New York Knicks' fan base will be out in full support of their hometown team.
Madison Square Garden fills up for each Knicks' home game, which puts them at the top of NBA average attendance. There never seems to be an empty seat in the house, even on weekday games against mediocre opponents when the Knicks are not performing at their best.
The fans at Knicks' games are both boisterous and engaged with the game. The crowd is knowledgeable of what is occurring on the court and creates a clear advantage for the Knicks. Celebrities consistently make appearances at Knicks' games, which gets the crowd excited as well. A favorite event of the fans is the t-shirt toss, with most fans going wild in an attempt to get one.
Madison Square Garden is one of the most accessible venues in all of sports via public transportation but is one of the least accessible via car.
The public transit options to MSG are virtually limitless. Penn Station, which serves the 1, 2, 3, A, C, and E lines of the New York City Subway, the PATH to New Jersey, Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, and several bus lines, is located directly below MSG. Additionally, these public transit options can take passengers to any of the three airports in the New York City area.
In short, do not drive to a New York Knicks' game. Parking is extremely difficult to come by and bringing a car into the heart of Manhattan is not worth the hassle. With the amount of public transportation options, it does not make any logical sense to drive to Madison Square Garden.
All gates are equally easy for entry into Madison Square Garden, with each one being extremely accessible. The Knicks' seem to have the operation down to a science and are able to function on game night seamlessly.
The concourses at Madison Square Garden provide ample room for the movement of fans, including those patrons waiting to purchase food. Restrooms are kept clean and are never too crowded. Additionally, the Garden is wheelchair accessible once inside.
Although the experience at a Knicks' game is priceless, the total cost of attending a game can get quite pricey.
Even when the Knicks are not doing well on the court, the price of admission is high. Usually the cheapest ticket on the secondary market is around $50 or $60, with the upper limit of ticket prices being virtually nonexistent. Additionally, it is easy to spend $20 or $25 on food, which means that spending around $100 per person for a Knicks' game is most definitely possible. A big savings, however, is that most fans do not pay to park since public transportation is so popular.
The best place to get tickets is online on a secondary market.
Two extra points are awarded for the friendliness of the staff at the Garden. It is a common occurrence to hear and see employees assisting fans with any and all needs. An additional point is awarded for the magnificent display of banners in the rafters at MSG, which recognize the history of the Knicks as well as the Rangers, Liberty, and Billy Joel. A final extra point is awarded for the amazing atmosphere of attending a game at Madison Square Garden.
Seeing a Knicks' game at Madison Square Garden is a must for any basketball or sports fan who is in New York City. Although it comes at a substantial monetary cost, the memories that come with the experience are truly magical and will last a lifetime.
I always look forward to a great time when I watch the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, the "World's Most Famous Arena." Truly an iconic place, MSG has hosted some of the most exciting events in the world.
The arena always provides fans with an upbeat and pleasant experience, but it's the team that can sometimes fall short of expectations.
When you're in New York City, you're in the entertainment capital. When you want to see a basketball game live there's no place like the mecca. I'm talking about the "The World's Most Famous Arena" aka Madison Square Garden.
The Garden draws people from all over the World. In 2011, the building started under going a major renovation which will transform the whole experience of seeing basketball and other forms of entertainment for many years to come. The process is in the first phase. There will be two more phases over the next two years before the transformation is completed that will face lift the venue.
Since I've lived here all my life I've been privileged to have seen around 1,000 basketball and hockey games combined as well as concerts and other events at Madison Square Garden.
The renovations have turned MSG from a pain to a pleasure. Widened concourses, friendly staff, new seats, monitors, the west balcony, and of course the best location in the world.
Sure tickets are expensive but that's supply and demand. Getting in and out will always be a pain and Knick fans can be annoying, but ultimately MSG is worth the hassle. Celebrities in the courtside seats add an element of intrigue and the daily anniversary display that surrounds the inner concourse is unique. If you've yet to see MSG, do it now. If you've seen it before, time to revisit as the new Garden is not the same as the old Garden.
The first Madison Square Garden was opened in 1879 and so named as it was built on Madison Square at the intersection of 5th Avenue, Broadway, and 23rd Street in Manhattan. A newer venue was constructed in the same location in 1890, where it stood for 35 years before a more modern arena was built on 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets. Although no longer near Madison Square, the new stadium retained the original name and became an iconic part of New York, hosting thousands of events during its 43-year history, including President Kennedy’s birthday party in 1962 when Marilyn Monroe famously crooned ”Happy Birthday.” However, MSG was badly designed for a multi-use venue, with terrible sight lines, particularly for hockey. The arena was also poorly ventilated and in those days, and smoking was allowed, so there was often a haze in the upper portions.
By 1964, it was clear a new venue was needed, and so construction began above Penn Station, which had removed its surface structure to allow the Garden to be built. It was a challenge to create an entirely new arena above an active railroad station, but it succeeded brilliantly and MSG became known as the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” hosting both the New York Knicks and Rangers, as well as hundreds of other events every year. Of course, with all that use the Garden aged quickly, and there was a renovation in the early 1990s, but by 2010, it was in dire need of a more thorough overhaul.
Beginning in 2011, MSG began a 3-year, billion dollar makeover that is being referred to as a "Transformation." The Transformation was self-funded by MSG, a publicly traded company, and it has certainly changed every aspect of the venue. The Garden was shut down for three consecutive off-seasons (2011, 2012, 2013), with construction continuing behind-the-scenes during the NBA and NHL campaigns. The finishing touches were applied during the third and final phase of construction, which took place during the summer months in 2013 and the grand re-opening took place in October with a Knicks pre-season game.
They got it right and now Madison Square Garden is again the iconic venue that New York City deserves.
Overall one of the better atmospheres i've experienced. Definitely belongs on any sports fans bucket list
They don’t call it The Mecca of Basketball for nothing. In 1968, The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, opened on 7th Avenue in Manhattan, taking up two full city blocks between 31st and 33rd Street and sitting directly above Penn Station, the busiest commuter transit hub in North America. Madison Square Garden plays home to the New York Rangers, New York Liberty, St. John’s Red Storm, the NIT, the Westminster Dog Show, monthly Billy Joel concerts, and countless additional events year-round. But New York is a basketball town and Madison Square Garden is, above all, home to the New York Knicks. Following the 2013 completion of its most recent renovation, the formerly tired, dated arena is now one of the crown jewels of the NBA, an absolutely stunning venue worthy of its history and the city in which it resides.
As with most things in New York, it all comes with a hefty price tag. The worst seats in the farthest reaches of the arena retail for $70 or more for even the lowliest of opponents, and anything in the arena’s lower bowl will typically run well over $100. Food and beverage prices are absolutely ludicrous as well. When the Knicks are good, or when a good opponent is in town, fans are priced out in spades. Madison Square Garden can feel like quite an exclusive club, but for any serious basketball fan it is the definition of a historic, must-see arena.
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