May 7, 2013; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers game during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won the game 105-79. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Madison Square Garden Must Relocate

Apr 23, 2013; New York, NY, USA; General view of the crowd entering game two in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It’s difficult to imagine Madison Square Garden anywhere else but 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, but it’s a reality that ownership, the New York Knicks, Rangers, and Liberty will be facing in 10 years.

The New York City Council, according to a New York Times report, has given notice that Madison Square Garden has ten years to relocate. MSG has resided in its current location for the last 45 years, but within ten years it will be at its fifth location since the building’s original opening in 1879. A 47 to 1 City Council vote opted to extend the Garden’s permit for only one more decade.

The decision seems most prompted by the city’s desire to renovate Penn Station which sits right below MSG. Penn Station is one of New York’s biggest transportation hubs and sees thousands of visitors traveling in and out of the city each day. City Council speaker Christine C. Quinn said, “This is an opportunity to reimagine and redevelop Penn Station as a world-class transportation destination.”

The decision will obviously be met with lots of controversy. MSG president, James Dolan, began $1-billion renovations that changed the seating, hallways, tunnels, and rafters of the Garden. During the renovations, which have taken place during summer, the Garden has been effectively closed, severely limiting the number of events it holds while the Knicks and Rangers enjoy the offseason.

Even further, the fourth installment of MSG has had some truly historical sports moments: the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight in 1971; Willis Reed’s Game 7 emergence to help the Knicks win the 1970 NBA championship; the Rangers’ Stanley Cup victory in 1993-94. Even the years that didn’t end in championships still held some of the most classic sports moments ever, such as “The Dunk”.

MSG ownership, of course, cannot be happy with the decision, as they released a statement saying they’re disappointed because they’ve met all of the qualifications to extend their presence at the building. Where they will choose to move is impossible to guess right now, but in ten years, the Madison Square Garden as we’ve come to know it will be gone.

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