Coming up with Run-DMC, I knew the moment we made it: the 1987 kickoff of our tour with the Beastie Boys at The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden. Twenty thousand screaming fans under that iconic golden ceiling. I’ll never forget that.
Imagine if, instead of a crowd packed to the roof, only 2,500 people had been in the building. Sounds crazy, but that’s what could happen as the New York City Council considers The Garden’s renewal for its permit to operate events at full capacity. [Any arena or stadium that seats over 2,500 people needs the ok from the City Council in the form of a special permit. The City Planning Commission has recommended a ten year renewal only. Some City Council members want the arena moved. Dolan is pushing for a permit to stay put “in perpeturity.”]
People: we all know MSG is a New York City gem that generations of artists and athletes have worked their entire lives to perform at. It’s time for the City Council to embrace The Garden’s past, present and future as the global pinnacle of entertainment right in the heart of Manhattan and allow those hallowed halls to continue being the home of unforgettable moments for tens of thousands of fans every night, forever.
Hip-hop is celebrating its 50th birthday this month, and there isn’t a major venue anywhere that’s been more important for the genre than Madison Square Garden. For generations of us coming up in Queens, across the five boroughs and the country, all around the globe: The Garden is IT. The building just has that magic. It’s married to New York City like Run-DMC is married to Adidas.
Some of the hesitation about approving a longer special permit for MSG stems from the delusion that the arena has to move as part of developing Penn Station. A decade ago, The Garden’s permit was only renewed for ten years for the same misguided reason. But no serious plans for the future of the station – a critically important place for the city in its own right – call for moving The Garden. It’s hilarious to me that some people still talk about it moving as if it’s realistic, when the State says it would cost the public almost $9 billion. Let’s get real: that’s not happening!
When we got with Aerosmith to record “Walk This Way” in 1986, we united rap and rock in ways no one thought possible and set the music world on fire. I know it’s tricky, but everyone needs to come together in the spirit of cooperation, community, and unity to come up with a plan for the future of Penn Station that works for all. But bottom line: extending The Garden’s permit in perpetuity has nothing to do with the ability to figure out a great plan for Penn Station.
So then why are some elected officials talking about going through this whole process all over again in just a few years? It’s a waste of time and money for everyone. Let’s get our heads right. A full capacity MSG does not just inspire artists, athletes and fans, but also has a tremendous benefit for the city. The Garden is responsible for billions in economic impact to the city and state each year–real money that helps area businesses thrive. It’s the beating heart of New York City in more ways than one.
You can’t move the Great Pyramids, you can’t move the Statue of Liberty. These are icons. Madison Square Garden is no different. I knew this back on that electric night in 1987 and I still know it now.
It’s time for the City Council to renew The Garden’s special operating permit–in perpetuity.
Darryl McDaniels is a co-founder of the hip-hop group Run-DMC.
You can’t move the Great Pyramids, you can’t move the Statue of Liberty. These are icons. Madison Square Garden is no different.” Darryl “DMC” McDaniels , co-founder of hip-hop group Run-DMC.