Backstage at Madison Square Garden’s Stand Up for Heroes benefit, a double-amputee veteran waited with his mother, as he prepared to go onstage to fulfill his—and probably many other people’s—lifelong dream of playing backup for Bruce Springsteen. Nearby stood a 76-year-old man with one eye clouded over with a diabetic cataract. That man approached the veteran and said, “What happened to you?”
“I lost them in the war,” the young man replied, referring to his lower legs.
The old man fixed his good eye on the veteran and patted him twice—thump, thump!—on the thigh. “Oh yeah, you lost them?” he grinned. “Well, where did you put them?”
A moment of silence passed. And then another. And then the man’s mother began to laugh.
For a musician, nothing says you’ve made it like playing a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden. Just ask One Direction. Once you’ve made it there, you’re basically living the dream.
Though thanks to the deal Billy Joel signed yesterday to play a concert at the Garden every month until basically the end of his life (or career, whichever comes first), we have to imagine “the dream” has started to resemble a surreal version of Groundhog’s Day.
Our correspondent sees if she has what it takes to make an NBA dance team. Answer: She doesn’t. Read More
Last night, the Transom took to the Chase-sponsored “Blue Carpet” outside Madison Square Garden for a pre-game rally ahead of the Rangers’ first home game of the season, in which they took on the Montreal Canadiens.
The fans were jazzed, and jostled for prizes from event host and supermodel Alejandra Cata. One longtime loyalist Read More
Last Thursday, Madison Square Garden debuted the final phase of its three-stage transformation process to the media. The arena has now been thoroughly transformed into a modern facility befitting its self-styled title as the World’s Most Famous Arena. The process, which added two bridges suspended above the event floor, was not without controversy. Many fans, especially those die-hards seated in the arena’s upper bowl, were concerned their sight lines would be obstructed by the innovative additions. The project’s head architect, Murray Beynon of BBB Architects, spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about concerns over the Chase Bridges and insights into the unique challenges presented by creating a modern arena inside a nearly 50-year-old structure.
Earlier this year, Michael Kimmelman, the chief architecture critic at The New York Times since 2011, wrote a column addressing Madison Square Garden’s request that its special permit to operate an arena atop Penn Station be renewed in perpetuity. In it, Mr. Kimmelman suggested that the City Council grant the Garden a 10-year permit, enough time for the various stakeholders to plan for both a renovated Penn Station and a new location for Madison Square Garden. In a show of Mr. Kimmelman’s relative influence, the City Council did just that. Now the clock is ticking on finding a solution for the futures of both the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and the city’s busiest rail hub. Nicknamed “The People’s Critic” by New York magazine for his insightful focus on the New York Public Library, redevelopment after Hurricane Sandy and affordable housing, Mr. Kimmelman spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the viability of a 10-year term and what can be done to convince stakeholders to come to the table.
The press release from a publicist trumpeting some scintillating (or often, not so scintillating) “news” that was broken hours earlier in a Wall Street Journal or New York Times exclusive—what journalist doesn’t hate that? Of course, such breathless communiqués hardly ever make mention of the fact that all of the information being “revealed” is already available in a rival publication and has, at that point, usually been blogged about by several other websites.
It’s a thorn in the side of every journalist—that is, every journalist who doesn’t work at the Journal or the Times—an indignity that is usually borne with under-the-breath invective, some grousing to one’s immediate neighbors and an occasional, pointed email to said publicist informing them that your publication would have been interested in covering this had the Journal not published a story on it hours earlier saying everything there was to say.
The good news is that the City Planning Commission does not agree with those who want Madison Square Garden to disappear from its current location within 10 years.
The bad news is that the commission wants the Garden gone in 15 years. The Dolan family, which owns the Garden and its teams, had been hoping for a permit that would have allowed the Garden to remain on its current site in perpetuity.
This page supported the Dolan family’s position, but it appears to be doomed. Despite investing hundreds of millions in private funds to renovate the Garden in recent years, the Dolans apparently are no longer welcome to operate the world’s most-famous arena above Penn Station.
Every year, after being inundated by the various social responsibilities of the holiday season as well as various boisterous New Year’s soirées, the city’s movers and shakers take a perennial pause. Jet-setters dash off to the Caribbean, fashion mavens begin migrating to Milan and Paris, and socialites take to the slopes of Deer Valley and Aspen. Shindigger, your genteel stalwart, was in search of VIP action last week, but immediate options were scarce. That is, until we received a welcome “howdy” to partake in the Professional Bull Riders’ VIP schedule of events. Was Shindigger ready to exchange hefty pours of Veuve Clicquot for Pabst Blue Ribbon? Why the hell not?
On January 4, outfitted in our finest Western attire, we trotted into a clandestine palatial lounge space in the bowels of Madison Square Garden. (Yes—Shindigger does own a cowboy hat and some flannel for times such as these.) This was the Professional Bull Riders’ opening night VIP reception, hosted by model Chrissy Teigen. Top-ranked bull riders L.J. Jenkins and J.B. Mauney and NASCAR star Kyle Busch—ever the rebel, he uses his full name as opposed to rodeo-friendly initials—also made brief appearances at the opening festivities.
The MAS Summit has been going on for the past two days, and it has been a cornucopia of delights for the city-obsessed, full of zany proposals for affordable housing, green buildings, starchitecture, community-based development and a giant floating doughnut hovering over Grand Central. But so far the most thrilling moment was deliver by The Times‘ architecture critic Michael Kimmelman during a discussion capping day one with the Municipal Art Society’s president, Vin Cipolla.
The two of them basically meandered through a bunch of Mr. Kimmelman’s columns from his first year on the job, and the first question was about Penn Station, when the critic had the audacity to tell the Dolans to scram. He still believes it is one of the most pressing planning issues in the city all these months after he wrote the piece. “I think there’s a hunger to do something about this site, which I think is a blight on millions of people’s lives every single day,” Mr. Kimmelman explained.