Madison Square Garden
On Seventh Avenue
between 31st and 33rd Streets
New York NY 10001 USA
[street map / directions]
[bird's eye view]
Madison Square Garden is the current home of the New York Knicks NBA basketball team and the New York Rangers NHL hockey team. This multi-purpose venue is also used for boxing, concerts, ice shows, circuses, professional wrestling and other forms of sports and entertainment.
The first Madison Square Garden building was originally the New York and Harlem Railroad passenger depot, before P.T. Barnum leased the property in 1871 and converted it into an open-air arena for circuses and other events, known as "Barnum's Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome."
In 1876 the open-air arena was leased to band leader Patrick Gilmore, who renamed it "Gilmore's Garden" and presented flower shows, beauty contests, music concerts, temperance and revival meetings, and the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, called at the time (1877) the "First Annual N.Y. Bench Show." Gilmore also presented boxing, but since competitive boxing matches were technically illegal at the time, he called them "exhibitions" or "illustrated lectures."
The next to lease the space was W. M. Tileston, who was an official of the dog show. He attempted to attract a more genteel crowd with tennis, a riding school and an ice carnival – the arena had one of the first indoor ice rinks in the United States.
After the death of Commodore Vanderbilt, who owned the site, his grandson William Kissam Vanderbilt took back control and announced the renaming of the arena to "Madison Square Garden" on May 31, 1879.
The current Madison Square Garden was designed by architect Charles Luckman and opened in 1968, built on top of Pennsylvania Station.