SBJ/Nov. 4-10, 2013/Facilities

My view from the bridge

I was skeptical about the new bridge seats at Madison Square Garden after seeing coverage from the Oct. 24 press event at the arena.

Bridge watchers are on solid footing.
Photo by: PATRICK E. MCCARTHY

SBJ Podcast:
Facilities reporter Don Muret describes the renovated Madison Square Garden.

The photos I saw online showed a distant view of the playing surface from near the top of the building, which is really nothing special. It looked like just another gimmick for teams to sell upper-level seats, traditionally a challenge in the major leagues.

My thinking changed when I saw the Garden’s finished product for myself.

I had the chance to sit in the first row of seats on the north bridge and check out the view before the Rangers’ regular-season home opener. Photos don’t do it justice. It truly is a great view, much closer to the action than I thought.

I was impressed with the design of the bridge seat structure itself. As an ex-sportswriter, I have experienced the press catwalk at Ahearn Fieldhouse swaying from the roar of the crowd during a Kansas-Kansas State men’s basketball game. At the first night game at Wrigley Field in 1988, I sat in the old auxiliary platform reserved for media spillover high above the grandstand, and it was all I could do to prevent the strong winds from blowing my papers onto Clark Street.

The bridge seat setup at the Garden, with most of the south bridge reserved for media, is nothing like those nerve-racking experiences. It blends seamlessly into the building without creating a feeling of vertigo from hanging high above the crowd. To reach the bridges, fans walk a narrow path on a gradual incline that flows into the structures spanning the arena’s north and south sides. The bridges themselves are 21 feet wide with carpeted walkways that essentially form a second level on the arena’s 10th floor.

The bridge level itself is open to all ticket holders regardless of where they’re sitting. From watching some fans display more interest in the opposite sex than in the Rangers’ inability to score, I’m guessing it could become the next singles hotspot in sports. Just a hunch.

— Don Muret


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