The ubiquitous Patrick Hoffman seems to post everywhere around the internet and posted a piece on the MSG renovations over at the Score. Hoffman is a friend of the blog and very graciously asked for my input - I guess he wanted a dissenting opinion, haha. You can click the above link for the well written final product but I thought I would provide the full Q & A here for anyone who is interested:
1) So, the Rangers have now played a handful games at the newly renovated Madison Square Garden. What are some of your general thoughts?
It is only a matter of time before the place is as sterile and lifeless as the Air Canada Center in Toronto.
2) What do you think are some of the positives of the newly renovated MSG so far? Why?
The new West Balcony is a lovely place to watch some hockey. It gives a majestic view over the ice. Of course, according to one rep I spoke to, they are not letting subscribers move up there and will not in the near future - instead they are reserving the seats for group tickets. Supposedly the ice level luxury areas are quite nice. Arena staff are nicer than ever, likely a mandate from above but still nice.
3) What do you think are some of the negatives of the newly renovated MSG so far? Why?
The building is far from finished. There are many signs scattered around the various concourses advising that features are coming in December or coming in 2012 or whatever. There are more obstructed view seats than ever - at least one handicapped section that I know of and the 400s under the West Balcony. There has been an extension chord sticking out of one of the walls into the arena itself near my seat, something they couldn't be bothered to at least cover up or get rid of. They put in a shoddy drop ceiling over the corner sections of the 300s to cover up some wiring - like the arena is someone's sleezy 70s basement. Without climbing over seats, there is no straight way to go from the 300s down to the glass inside the arena. As most of the eateries are not finished left, there are just basic concessions available and the quality of even those has been mediocre.
4) As a fan, how has your viewing experienced been enhanced, if at all, by the renovations?
It has not; my area of the 300s will not be renovated until next summer.
5) As a fan, how has your viewing experience been impacted negatively, if at all, by the renovations?
The building is quieter than it has been in years - either because of the way they have physically changed the place or because they raised prices and lost True Blue subscribers. It is harder to get around and lines are as bad as ever.
6) What do you think can further be done to make MSG better? Why?
Finish the renovation. Lower ticket prices to get more of the real fans back.
7) Any other general thoughts you'd like to share about the newly renovated MSG?
I was vehemently against the renovation when it was announced but now am willing to wait until it is completed before passing final judgement. But I don't like what I see so far, that is for sure.