Monday, July 26, 2010

If It's Called Madison Square Garden, Why Is The Place Round?

As you might have guessed from the title of today's post, I'm in New York City for a couple of days. The title sounds like a question my 14 year old daughter might have asked. Only thing is, she didn't. Instead of inquiring about the history of New York City she's far too busy dragging me down to Canal Street in search of cheap knockoffs of designer purses.

And yes, I've revealed her little fashion secret. But at least the next time you run into her, I've saved you the trouble of asking, "Is that a real Louis?" After all, I wouldn't want anyone to think that her dad is that bucks up or that blogging is that lucrative.

Anyway, I digress. The "square" in Madison Square Garden is a reference to location and not a description of the shape of the building. That would make sense except that Madison Square Garden is no more situated in Madison Square than Penn Station, which it sits atop, lies in Pennsylvania.

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Pennsylvania Station is named for the Pennsylvania Railroad which went out of business around the time Amtrak came along. The train station is no longer the beautiful building it was in the days when Mrs. Palsgraf, bound for Long Island, suffered her injuries on the station's platform that every first-year law student now knows all too much about. The original Penn Station was razed in the early '60s so they could build the current Madison Square Garden atop of its platforms.

Madison Square lies further downtown from "The Garden" and Penn Station. While Madison Square was the original situs of "The Garden" it hasn't been located there since the days of the six day bicycle races which it used to host. What's at Madison Square these days? A park, which kind of looks like a garden.

All this proves is that while New York City may be have a better market for cheap knock-offs, Santa Barbara has a better Historical Landmarks Commission.

© 2010 by Craig Smith and