As a current (soon to be former) New York resident, my news feed was pretty packed this morning with news about Madison Square Garden being demolished and rebuilt elsewhere. Yep, that's right, "The World's Most Famous Arena" is being relocated.
This isn't as surprising as you might think. Many people don't know that this isn't the first Madison Square Garden, in fact it's the fourth. The original Madison Square Garden was built in 1879 in (duh) the Madison Square area of Manhattan. The current iteration of the building is not even located in Madison Square anymore (nor was the third MSG, which opened in 1925). MSG 4.0 opened in 1964. Takes away a little of the history knowing it's not the same building, doesn't it?
So why are they moving again? Well, the NYC City Council voted 47-1 to kick the Knicks out in 10 years to renovate Penn Station (which I will agree is desperately needed). There are 4 companies vying for the bid (at least 2 of which include a new design for the Garden), one of which is SHoP Architects, who designed Brooklyn's Barclays Center. The real kick in the pants is that owner James Dolan just poured nearly a BILLION dollars into a three year renovation.
Now, obviously I'm not trying to imply that the Knicks will be ripe for the picking. First off, this isn't going to happen for 10 mores years. Secondly, the Knicks are one of a handful of teams that will never leave their market. They make money hand over fist and have a fervent fanbase (albeit one of the most annoying in sports). And while they don't have to worry about acquiring a team, they do have to worry about how their owner essentially throwing a billion dollars in a hole in the ground is going to effect how he spends, especially in the new NBA, with its extra restrictive taxes. At least we know that when Sonics Arena does get built, Chris Hansen won't spend a billion dollars just to have the arena be forced to move to Northgate in 10 years.