In the beginning, there was the Garden — the Boston Garden, that is. Built in 1928, it’s been home to the NBA Celtics and NHL Bruins, plus concerts, boxing and wrestling matches. Demolished in ’98, the “Gahden” was rebuilt to the tune of $160 million and reopened in 1995. Today it’s known as the TD Garden, and since it’s undergoing a $70 million facelift, the folks at our Onyx Hotel — it’s a stone’s throw from TD — wanted to share a few of the arena’s all-time highlights.
Then: Watching Bobby Orr literally fly through the air with his arms outstretched after scoring the goal that clinched the 1970 Stanley Cup championship against the St. Louis Blues.
Now: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama addressing the public on Nov. 1, 2014 — and donning a Boston Bruins cap!
Then: Elvis Presley in 1971. Jon Landau of Rolling Stone wrote: “He sings like an angel and moves like a ballerina, and he left me struck dumb.”
Now: Boston Strong: An Evening of Support and Celebration in 2013, which played a huge role in healing the city of Boston after the Boston Marathon bombing.
Then: The not-quite regulation-size hockey rink (191 feet by 83 feet wide as opposed to the NHL standard of 200 feet by 85 feet), giving the Bruins a distinct advantage over the opposition.
Now: The passion of the Boston fan base. Aiming to enhance their experience, TD Garden’s renovations (expected to be completed by summer) are setting a high-water mark for the rest of the industry. Think sleek, modern concourses and new concession offerings, as well as a refresh for the upscale Legends restaurant, a new Reebok pro shop, and arenawide technology that would make Batman bristle with jealousy.
Defining Design Feature
Then: The famous parquet floor, much of which was cut up and sold as souvenirs in 1999 after the demolition. Today, the Celtics play on a parquet floor that combines old and new sections.
Now: The rafters and the 23 championship banners that hang from them. TD Garden has more championship pennants combined — 17 for the Celtics, six for the Bruins — than any other arena in North America. #Winning.
Best Food Draw
Then: Popcorn and peanuts. Which is ironic since Delaware North, the company that owns and operates TD Garden, was founded in 1915 as a popcorn-and-peanuts vending business by three brothers. That’s your basic American Dream achieved.
Now: With the renovations have come eight new concession stands featuring all kinds of food and beverages, including some local favorites. Pick up a chipotle-lime chicken taco at Taqueria, a lobster roll at Boston Common, or a super slice from Sal’s Pizza.
Then: Larry Bird and Julius Erving’s famous 1984 fight, which resulted in $30,500 worth of fines.
Now: Rajon Rondo and Kris Humphries fight during a Celtics–Nets game in 2012. Rondo was suspended two games, while Gerald Wallace was fined $35,000 and Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 for “escalating the altercation.” Ouch!
Featured image courtesy Doug/Creative Commons.