On the evening of November 14, 1928, President Calvin Coolidge ushered in a new era for New England and the world. Using a ceremonial key made from nuggets of Yukon gold, Coolidge switched on the lights of the recently constructed Boston Garden from the White House via the newest telegraph technology of the time. Three days later, the Garden opened its doors to the public for the first time and the rest, as they say, is history.
At the time of its grand opening, not even creator Tex Rickards could have imagined how legendary the arena on Causeway Street would become. For more than 66 years, the Garden played host to the best and brightest in the world of sports and entertainment.
Over the years, all of music’s hottest stars, from the Beatles to Aerosmith, rocked the house. The Boston Celtics, led by names like Auerbach, Russell, Cousy and Bird, built themselves into one of the premier franchises in the NBA, garnering a league-record 16 world titles along the way. The Bruins (hockey) added another five world championship banners to the Garden rafters with Orr, Esposito, Bucyk and Neely, among others, leading the way. Oh, there is a statue of Red at Faneuil Hall, with his trademark victory cigar.
It was the place where families went to watch their favorite shows, like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, and the Harlem Globetrotters. It also served the city’s political needs, featuring speeches from some of the greatest politicians of all-time, including Churchill, FDR and Kennedy.
On September 29, 1995, the old Garden closed its doors to the public for the last time with a nostalgic evening of entertainment. The following night, a spectacular gala was held at the sparkling new FleetCenter to usher in a new era for sports and entertainment in New England. As an aside, I thought it was named Fleet Center since it was sponsored by Fleet’s Enema, or was shaped like one!
Then, on March 3, 2005, the FleetCenter era came to an end when TD Banknorth Inc. and Delaware North Companies reached an agreement on a 20-year naming rights partnership to return the Garden name. Under the agreement, “TD Garden” became the official name of the 19,600-seat, state-of-the-art facility through 2025.
The arena continues to host today’s hottest concerts, including seven sold-out U2 shows, and events, such as World Championship Boxing. In addition, the arena is the home of the annual college hockey Beanpot tournament, and hosts the Hockey East Championships. Major national sporting events including the 1999 and 2003 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds, 1998 and 2004 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championships and the 2006 Women’s Final Four have also been hosted. Most notably, the arena was the site of the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
The TD Garden continues to reinvent itself as one of the country’s premier facilities. In 2006, the decade old Garden underwent it’s most extensive face-lift to date with over $20 million in construction and improvements. From the 20,000 square foot expansion of Boston’s North Station train concourse area to the installation of a first-of-its-kind high definition scoreboard, Garden HDX, the Garden looks forward to providing all of its visitors with world-class experiences for decades to come.
So, I hope to get there early enough to stand on the parquet floor, or get an up close photo. Never did I think that parquet floors would be “in” again! So, I am going to a Celtics game tonight. They play the Denver Nuggets, with their star, Carmelo Anthony. The Celtics big stars are: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. This should be good! Perhaps some oysters and Maine lobster before?
The place is filled with Celtic fanatics. They know and love their basketball and their beloved Celts. The big stars like Melo and KG play so effortlessly. They let the game come to them, never forcing anything. It is such a pleasure to watch. Forget the Lakers, this is the place to see an NBA game!