If there were a day of the year that news about asbestos being found at Madison Square Garden would be ideal from a PR perspective, it probably would have been either yesterday or during a Jets-Giants Super Bowl. With all the election news filtering out all day, most people who didn't have tickets for the canceled Knicks-Magic game — and therefore didn't have to reschedule their evening plans — saw the story as just a blip, an oh-yeah-I-saw-that, weird, huh? But let's not understate this: They canceled a Knicks game for safety reasons at the Garden yesterday. Okay, now that we've scared you, it kind of looks like there's nothing to worry about, as much as "canceling a Knicks game for safety reasons at the Garden" can possibly be nothing to worry about.
First off, it's important to note that the game was not actually canceled because of asbestos being released at the Garden. Everyone heard "asbestos cleaning" and "dustlike material" and freaked out, but the city Department of Environmental Protection says the Knicks never really had much of a problem on their hands.
A spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Protection, the agency that was called to inspect the Garden Tuesday, indicated that the building should be operational within days. "From our point of view, everything is safe," Farrell Sklerov of the DEP said Tuesday. "There was no asbestos released." He added: "There's no health concern. That's for sure."
Amusingly, the Post responded to Madison Square Garden brass deciding to cancel a sporting event in which 20,000 people would show up and breathe the same air by calling them "wimpy Garden bosses." We'll remember that the next time that paper runs a bedbug story.
Yesterday's game is probably going to be made up in February or March, but the real speculation has been about whether the Garden will have to relocate its events this weekend — as always, the Garden's overbooked, with the Knicks on Friday, Roger Waters on Saturday, and the Knicks and the Rangers on Sunday — and where they'd go. (The most likely spot would be Newark.) But the city thinks the place will easily be cleaned up by Friday, that no asbestos was released, and that everything should be good to go. The Garden is falling apart, which is why (along with fancy luxury boxes, of course) it's getting that big renovation over the next couple of years, or "transformation," as MSG brass always refer to it. But it's not unleashing asbestos on an unsuspecting populace. At least not yet. If you have tickets on Friday — like we do — you'll be just fine. This is proof that no one's ever going to kill off the Ice Capades, no matter how hard they try.