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Curators’ Corner



One of the most storied arenas in the history of the Earth is Madison Square Garden. In its many iterations (we’re up to #4 now) many of the great moments in modern sport call The Garden their venue. Though, The Garden as we know isn’t the first one to bare the moniker.

In 1879 the first Garden opened on East 26th Street and Madison Ave. It housed a velodrome, which hosted bicycle races that lasted days as part of one of the most popular sporting circuits in the country at the time. The Madison, which is a biking event in the Olympics, is named after the arena in which it was born.

As that arena was roofless, it was considerably uncomfortable in the cold of winter and sweltering days of summer. For this reason it was destroyed and rebuilt on the same site. The new arena opened in 1890 and bore the same name as its predecessor. Roofed and modeled for more theatrical events, it hosted a number of famous boxing matches during its tenure. Financial failures let to its ultimate demise in 1925. That, however, did not prevent the name from traveling uptown and west to 8th Ave. between 49th and 50th Streets where that same year Tex Rickard opened the third iteration of Madison Square Garden.

MSG III, as it’s often referred to, was the first home of New York’s hockey and basketball teams. As the home of both the Rangers and Americans hockey teams, it is widely considered the birthplace of the “Curse of 1940” which was responsible for a 54 year drought in Stanley Cups for the Rangers.

The Garden’s name once again traveled in 1968, this time down 8th to 31st Street. There, MSG IV opened above Penn Station and still stands today. It is home to basketball, hockey, boxing, wrestling, and music events, among other things. Many of modern music’s greatest concerts after 1968 have been held at the Garden. It is currently undergoing renovations, which are currently scheduled to be done in 2013.