Garden Party

(“. . . Hugh Wiley, Harry deLeyer, Arthur Godfrey . . . “)

Does this mean anything to you: “The Old Garden?” If it doesn’t, then you’re pretty young and you should run to your Google machine.

It is said that the most famous arena in the world is Madison Square, Garden. Heavy weight Championship prize fights, super big time rock concerts (preceded by Frank Sinatra ones), the NITs when they mattered, Willis Reed and the Knicks back in the day, and of our particular interest for a period of time the National Horse Show.

Before it left downtown Manhattan, there seemed to be nothing so romantic as watching the beautiful hunters and jumpers unload from their vans onto the sidewalk outside the Garden. Or if you knew someone and had a pass, you could get under the stands and see the horses warming up in cramped tanbark covered corridors schooling over huge verticals. And this was the “new” Garden, perched on top of Pennsylvania Station so I could take the New Haven Railroad into the big city and land right underneath my destination.

The “old“ Garden, dating from 1879, with all its history and patron inconveniences, had expired in the decade before I got there. I know there are still some people around who remember Hugh Wiley and The Horse with the Flying Tail, Harry deLeyer and Snow Man, and Arthur Godfrey on Goldie. We still have Fenway and Wrigley Field, but the old Garden ranked right up there with them.