Food at the Garden is generally expensive and not particularly good. Typically we like to pre-game at these places
NY Pizza Suprema (413 8th Ave, a block from the Garden) – They usually have a dozen or so types of slices ready to go. The hot honey one is particularly unique and memorable. If there is a line, I suggest that you alternate going inside to check out the selection so that you are ready to order when you get to the front. On that point, it is usually best to pay with cash in an effort to keep things moving. It is usually packed before a game, so I suggest going there approximately 2 to 1.5 hours ahead of puck drop. Not a lot of seating, so it is courtesy to eat and then immediately leave, particularly when there is a line.
Joes Pizza (1435 Broadway, close to Times Square, approximately a 10 minutes walk to the Garden) – This is a quintessential New York City pizza shop. Everything is good. This place is always packed so there is not a lot of seating, but lots of places to stand along the wall.
Koreatown (32nd street between Broadway and 5th ave, approximately a 7 minutes walk to the Garden) – Try some Korean BBQ. No particular recommendation, though we’ve never had a bad meal.
Eataly (200 5th Ave, approximately a 15 minute walk to the Garden) – This a combination grocery story with restaurants interspersed inside. Again, we’ve never had a bad meal, but the rooftop beer garden is a nice experience, and the gelato stand downstairs is excellent.
Other things to see
Macys (151 W 34th Street, approximately a 5 minute walk to the Garden) – This is the world’s largest store, and sponsor of the famous Thanksgiving Day parade and 4th of July fireworks.
Getting to the Garden
Plan to arrive approximately 45 minutes ahead of puck drop.
There are four entrances called “towers” where you may enter the Garden and go up and down to the various levels. The nicest entrance is on 7th avenue between 31st and 33rd street but if you’re running late, there are two entrances on 8th that are not as nice. There is a lot of construction on the 7th avenue side but it should be obvious where the crowd is going.
You will have to go through a security checkpoint, so my suggestion is to avoid brining a bag, so that you can pass through without issue.
Tickets are electronic. I have an iPhone, so my suggestion is to put it in the Apple wallet ahead of time so that you are not relying on internet at the Garden. I think that Androids have a similar ability..
Once in the Garden
There are five levels in the Garden (Event, Madison, Lexus, Pepsi, and Bridge Level). My suggestion is to first get off at the Madison Concourse. This level has the better concessions, so now would be a good time to purchase that. It is noteworthy to mention that if you spend $30, you get $5 back if you purchase with a Chase card. Make sure that you let the attendant know if you will be doing this to get your discount.
Madison Square Garden is the “World’s Most Famous Arena”. There are a lot of vignettes on this level that talk about some historical events in the arena.
Warmups begin 31 minutes ahead of puck drop. They have recently been allowing everyone to view warmups at this level between sections 116 and 118. Pick a seat or spot in these sections to watch.
The clock counts down during the warmup period, so you have a sense of when it will end. Artemi Panerin is usually the last Ranger on the ice and ends warmup by lofting several pucks towards the goal. It is my personal superstition that the success of the game depends on him making those shots.
After warmups, we would head back to the Madison Concourse, head towards a tower and take the escalators up to the seats, which are located at Bridge Level
Bridge Level has fewer concessions than the others, but most may be found in the West Balcony (Sections 317 to 323).
The clock resets after warmups and begins to countdown again. I would try to be seated with approximately 8 minutes left on the clock to watch the hype video and player intros.
The best restrooms are in the other direction in the 1876 Balcony (behind sections 305 and 306). Coming from the seats, hang a right and walk off the bridge. Rather than going down the stairs, hang a right and go down the narrow walkway past the suites. The men’s room will be first on the left hand side, whilst to get to the women’s room, pass the bar and it will be on the left hand side.
There are TV timeouts during stoppages after the 16, 10, and 6 minutes marks (unless there is an icing or a power play). These are two minutes long, so really not enough time to get up and go anywhere. Intermissions are 18 minutes long. Leave immediately after the horn. There is usually time to go to the restroom or go to the concession stand, never both.
Last call for alcohol is before the start of the third period.
During Ranger goals, there is a song that is played after the horn sounds. Just stand, clap in cadence with the song, and raise your fists during the “Hey Hey Hey” part. Below is a link that illustrates this
During non-eventful portions of the game, you’ll sometimes here a fan whistle a tune. At the conclusion of the tune, the crowd will chant “Potvin Sucks”. I personally think this is dumb and should be retired, but wanted to give you the heads up on this tradition. Below is a video of the process