Posts Tagged ‘Madison Square Garden’

Madison Square Garden moves to Eighth Avenue

March 4, 2013

This 1930ish postcard shows what was then the “new” Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue and 49th Street.

It’s the third incarnation of New York’s iconic arena, and the first one located no where near Madison Square.


It moved here in 1925, and for the next four decades hosted boxing matches, circuses, rodeos, Billy Graham revivals, ice shows, and of course the Rangers and the Knicks.

Was this a good place to watch a game? It looks awfully cramped and crowded from outside.

In 1968 the Garden moved again, this time to its current home at 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue. In its place we have the office tower Worldwide Plaza, which looks strangely similar to the old MSG.

Some great old photos of the Garden and its very cool marquee can be found at Wired New York.

Rainy, moody afternoons on Madison Square

January 26, 2010

At left, Italian-American painter Alessandro Guaccimanni depicts well-dressed men and women, colorful flowers, and a rain-slicked street beside Madison Square Park in 1893.

Madison Square was ultrafashionable in Gilded Age New York City. The best-known structure on the Square was Madison Square Garden; the Flatiron Building won’t be constructed for another nine years.

This second painting depicts Fifth Avenue and 24th Street circa 1894.

Who was Guaccimanni, and what was his fascination with Madison Square? His paintings are haunting and moody, but there’s no biographical info on him to be found.

Madison Square Garden on the move

October 14, 2009

Ever wonder why it’s called Madison Square Garden—when it’s not near Madison Square? 

The current Garden, on 33rd Street, is the fourth incarnation of New York’s premier sports and entertainment arena.

MSGfirstThe first, at right, opened in 1879. Occupying an old railroad depot at Madison Avenue and 26th Street, it became a successful, 10,000-seat venue that featured boxing, bike racing, and ice hockey.

A decade later it was torn down. Famed architect Stanford White designed the second MSG in 1890, below left. This beautiful, 8,000-seat Moorish structure sported cupolas, arches, and a 32-story tower that made it the second tallest building in the city. 


 Madison Square Garden II’s rooftop restaurant became a chic place for New York’s Gilded Age elite to socialize. It’s also where White was murdered in 1906.

He was shot point-blank by Harry Thaw, the jealous husband of a teenage showgirl the 40-ish White had been having an affair with.

By 1925, White’s palace met the wrecking ball, and the third MSG was completed at 50th Street and Eighth Avenue. This arena was home to the Rangers, Knicks, and lots of boxing matches.

Outdated by the late sixties, it was replaced in 1968 by the fourth and current Garden, built on the hallowed grounds of the original Penn Station.

When Buffalo Bill thrilled New Yorkers

March 12, 2009

Buffalo Bill Cody was a bison hunter, Union Army soldier, Pony Express rider and all-around frontiersman. But by 1886 he’d become a showman. That year, he took his Wild West show to New York for a stint at Madison Square Garden. And New York audiences couldn’t get enough.

buffalobillandchiefsIt must have been quite a spectacle. The show featured Cody, assorted cowboys and cowgirls, plus more than 100 Native Americans. They reenacted powwows, buffalo hunts, stagecoach trips, mining camp life, and other elements of the mythologized West.

“Taken as a whole, the show is excellent,” The New York Times wrote. “The scenery is more than good, the incidents of frontier life realistic, the dances and ceremonies of the Indians are spirited and effective.”

Cody returned to MSG with different incarnations of his show over the years until it went bankrupt in 1913. The photo above was taken at the Garden with chiefs Red Cloud and American Horse. Below, a poster for the 1886 Madison Square Garden show.


The arrival of the Wild West show in cities across the country was often accompanied by a parade. It’s unclear where this 1902 parade footage takes place—could it be New York?

Madison Square Garden sports calendar, 1939

March 10, 2009

madisonsquaregardenHere’s what was on deck for the week of November 25, as reported in an MSG ad in Cue magazine:

A bike race. A union meeting for musicians. Several hockey games featuring the New York Rangers as well as the New York Americans, a team that disbanded in the 1940s. A boxing match between Henry Armstrong and Lou Ambers.

And then there’s the “Mass Meeting for America.” This was a rally organized by various religious and patriotic groups.

The main speaker, Rep. Martin Dies of Texas, “denounced communism, fascism, and nazism as alien forces tearing at American unity,” The New York Times reported the next day. “[Dies] also made a strong plea for racial and religious tolerance.”

A bird’s-eye view of Pennsylvania Station

January 17, 2009

Hard to believe the Pennsylvania Railroad got away with demolishing this 1910 McKim, Mead  and White beauty. (If they needed a big parcel of land, why didn’t they tear down the Port Authority Bus Terminal instead?)

But that’s what happened in 1963. Penn Station’s destruction subsequently ushered in an era of historic preservation.


View ore images of the old Penn Station—inside and outside— here.