5. Penn Station Was Reconfigured to Build Madison Square Garden

Facade of original Penn Station with Madison Square Garden construction peaking under the sing. Image by Norman McGrath.

The current arena to be called Madison Square Garden was constructed in 1968 between 7th and 8th Avenue. Because the stadium was built on top of the busiest transit hub in the country, Penn Station needed to be demolished and reconfigured. The demolition of the original Penn Station led to the formation of the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission after disapproval from many members of the public.

The original Pennsylvania Station was constructed between 1904 and 1910, designed by McKim, Mead, and White. The air rights to Penn Station were sold to accommodate Madison Square Garden. Some had argued that the cost of keeping the original structure was prohibitive, although others thought it was cost-effective and functional. Demolition of the above-ground portion began, though, and Madison Square Garden and two office towers were later built above the concourses. Still remaining from the original Penn Station is the cast-iron waiting room partition, brass and wrought iron railings, two of the original 22 eagles, original glass flooring, and the coal-fired power plant.