Madison Square Garden, luminous by moonlight

No, not today’s MSG in the gritty West 30s. This is the second of the four versions of Madison Square Garden, the Moorish-Beaux Arts arena designed by Stanford White on 26th Street and Madison Avenue in 1890.

At the time this postcard was made in roughly 1907, White’s Madison Square Garden was one of the most recognizable buildings in New York City, a palace of inspiration and excitement that hosted everything from boxing matches to the circus to the annual Westminster Dog Show.

By 1907, the heyday of the Garden was coming to an end.

A year earlier, White was murdered on the very rooftop garden he designed. He was shot by the jealous (and mentally ill, a jury eventually concluded) husband of Evelyn Nesbit—the young showgirl White sexually assaulted after lacing her drink years earlier at his East 24th Street hideaway across Fifth Avenue.

This Madison Square Garden became the center of the city’s first trial of the century. The story of the building and the scandal surrounding it (including new information about this most notorious murder) is detailed in the new book The Grandest Madison Square Garden, by Suzanne Hinman.

[Postcard: MCNY Collections Portal, F2011.33.1324]

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7 Responses to “Madison Square Garden, luminous by moonlight”

  1. Tom B Says:

    Regarding White & Nesbit.
    Prominent men are still lacing young women’s drinks after all these years. The only thing that has changed is how the punishment is handed out. Back then, a quick death, today years and years of accusations, investigations and trials.

  2. Kenny Says:

    Why do we always remember famous people for how they died rather then for their genius; everyone from Jesus, Marilyn Monroe, Van Gogh, Janis Joplin, JFK, Lincoln …

    • ironrailsironweights Says:

      Van Gogh is remembered more for lopping his ear off than for his actual death.


    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      This post does both: it honors White’s life achievements and his death on the rooftop of a building he designed. Both are pretty noteworthy more than 100 years later.

  3. Timothy Grier Says:

    The tower is topped with Augustus Saint-Gaudens statue of Diana. The house on the right was the home of Jennie Jerome the mother of Winston Churchill.

  4. Andrew Porter Says:

    I believe this postcard is one where you hold it up to the light and the Moon appears brightly lit against a dark sky.

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