First of all, a quick salute to shitty arena food. Madison Square Garden's concessions, at least in my lifetime, have always been a unique, appropriately offensive experience. Something about the meek floppiness of those personal pizzas or the lardaceous glistening of Ranch One chicken and fries seemed an ideal accompaniment to, say, watching the Knicks or Rangers. Times are changing, though. As the Garden rounds out the first of its summertime renovations, those in charge will hop on board with the sportswide craze of offering choicer concessions. Stands curated by chefs and options for a wider range of tastes and dietary restrictions will line the arena's widened network of concourses. The Times has the details:
Sausage Boss by Andrew Carmellini is one of four new concessions that high-end restaurateurs have created to serve mainstream food at the 43-year-old arena. Jean-Georges Vongerichten will offer Simply Chicken, Drew Nieporent will serve up burgers at Daily Burger and Jeremy Marshall of Aquagrill will open Lobster and Shrimp Roll, which pretty much describes his fare.
And if you read the article, there's much more. I want very badly to be a traditionalist and thumb my nose (getting grease all over my nose in the process) at fancy concessions, but ... damn, that sounds delicious. Of course, if you give a fan an organic chicken sandwich with spicy mayonnaise, he'll probably ask for somewhere to ... go with it.
Does the new Garden accommodate the enjoyment of such exquisite dishes?
The dispiriting warren of walls and claustrophobic corridors is being peeled back to create wider concourses, some with window city views and many with "party decks," where "you can stand and eat and see the game and not be in a suite," Mr. Ratner said.
Ultimately the transformation — which has employed 1,200 to 2,000 workers this summer around the clock — will offer upgraded suites, party-deck concession areas and scoreboards, as well as a new Seventh Avenue lobby and two pedestrian bridges spanning the arena to join seating areas.
The bridges continue to sound great, although I worry about sloppier patrons dropping scraps of grilled short rib on unsuspecting fans below. But what about ...
...Mr. Ratner promises 50 percent more concessions by the end of the multiyear arena revamping in 2013, as well as 40 percent more restrooms...
(Emphasis mine. I am emphatic.) Ah-ha! We're in business. Bring on the lobster rolls.