12.24.12Battle of the Boroughs

Bridgette and I are giving each other New York-themed Christmas presents. I gave Bridgette tickets to see Jake Gyllenhaal’s “If There is I haven’t Found it Yet” (read more here). She gave me tickets to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks versus Nets! I quickly pointed out that this was the most amazing New York-themed Christmas gift! So, Bridgette and I joined with 19,031 others to watch the newly-established “Battle of the Boroughs.”

It was my first ever trip to the Garden and I was very excited to see the Knicks play. The match-up against the Nets was even better because Bridgette and I have adopted the Nets as a favorite team too after I helped create the “Trees for Threes” initiative with the Brooklyn Nets. See this earlier post about the initiative to learn more.

The Knicks took this third game of the series in pretty convincing fashion, winning 100-86 in this “Battle of the Boroughs.”

More about the New York Knicks

One of the reasons I was so excited about seeing the Knicks play in the Garden was the history and the heritage. The New York Knickerbockers were founded in 1946 and the iconic blue and orange colors are known throughout sports. Evidencing the history of basketball and its appeal in New York, the Knicks are only one of only two teams from the original National Basketball Association that is still located in its original city (the other being the Boston Celtics). Many have even called the Garden the “Mecca of Basketball” based on the rich history of New York basketball.

Carmelo Anthony, who grew up in Brooklyn and went to college in Syracuse, came home to New York after a stint with the Denver Nuggets and is now the team’s best player. He returned from an ankle injury to score 31 points against the Nets. Also on the team is the timeless Jason Kidd that I watched as a kid. Raymond Felton, UNC alumnus and 2005 National Champion, has recently returned to the Knicks. Add to this roster Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler and you get one of the leading contenders for the Eastern Conference.

Though the Knicks vs. Nets game was a Christmas present enjoyed prior to Christmas Day, December 25 is as big for the Knicks as for any other franchise. The Knicks lead all NBA teams with 48 Christmas Day games (including the 2012 against the Lakers) played on Christmas Day. The trend of playing on Christmas Day even began with the Knicks. They played and beat the Providence Steamrollers in 1947.

More about Madison Square Garden

Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan close to Penn Station, Madison Square Garden calls itself “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” The current building, located close to Penn Station, is the fourth to be called “Madison Square Garden.” The first two venues to be called Madison Square Garden were located on Madison Square (where the original Shake Shack now stands), while the third Garden was located at 50th and 8th Avenue. The current building opened in February 1968 and took the place of the above-ground Penn Station architecture. The arena underwent renovations this past summer that resulted in the Knicks playing their preseason games away from the Garden.

It is the oldest NHL arena (New York Rangers) and the second-oldest NBA arena (Knicks). Michael Jordan (Go Heels!) played his first professional game in Madison Square Garden, scoring an impressive 33 points.

As for fun concert facts, in 2009 Taylor Swift sold out Madison Square Garden in 60 seconds. The Garden is the busiest music venue in the US, and the third busiest music venue in the world, behind only the O2 Arena and Manchester Arena. Elton John currently holds the record for concerts held in the Garden at over 60 concerts.

Interestingly, the Madison Square Garden Company (a publicly-traded company) owns the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and New York Liberty, speaking to the real and perceived value in the Madison Square Garden brand. It also owns its own broadcasting company, the MSG Network, which was founded in 1969. It even owns Radio City Music Hall.

Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center

The Barclays Center, the $1 billion newly built facility at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, houses the Nets and many think will marvel Madison Square Garden’s history with its new and modern vibe and the excitement created from the string of Jay-Z concerts launching the arena (read more here).

However, MSG’s president Melissa Ormond expresses a common sentiment among many New Yorkers, saying that “the Garden will always be the Garden. We’ve been privileged to be at the center of New York City for more than 130 years, with 400 annual events, the most of any arena in the country. It’s the pinnacle of an artist’s career to play Madison Square Garden.”

And, many believe the competing arenas will simply occupy different places of the concert/entertainment venue market within New York. Being in Brooklyn, the Barclays Center may tap the 2.6 million Brooklynites with its convenient subway transportation, while also attracting fans from more conveniently located destinations in Long Island and Staten Island. The Garden, on the other hand, often appeals to those that can easily commute into Penn Station, which are those in Manhattan, New Jersey, and some of the northern suburbs in New York City.

Pictures from the game

Read more about the third battle of the boroughs:

Knicks vs. Nets Game Recap – NY Times

The first match-up – NY Times

A rivalry yet? – NY Times

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