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  • Brian O'Sullivan

Madison Square Garden – New York Knicks

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.57

Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza New York, NY 10001

Year Opened: 1968

Capacity: 19,812


Big Apple Basketball

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.

Food & Beverage 5

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.

Atmosphere 5

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.

Neighborhood 5

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.

Fans 5

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.

Access 4

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.

Return on Investment 4

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.

Extras 4

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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