The most famous arena in the world is preparing to open its doors to the public again. Madison Square Garden will allow fans to return to their seats.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that large stadiums and arenas could reopen on February 23. In order to be allowed entrance, attendees must provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours before the event. This announcement comes after a successful pilot program at the Buffalo Bills’ playoff game against the Tennessee Titans. 6,700 fans – who showed negative tests and agreed to contact tracing – attended Buffalo’s wild card game in January.

The New York Knicks will host the Golden State Warriors when the Garden officially reopens on February 23. The Knicks have been one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this year. Showcasing a new young core and a new head coach in Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks currently hold the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 14-16 record. They have won three of their past four contests and are trending in the right direction. The Knicks have transitioned into one of the league’s best defenses under coach Thibodeau.

Additionally, Julius Randle has emerged as a true All-Star caliber player. Although he had shown signs of strong offensive play, he has never proven that he was an all-around great player until this season. Randle is averaging career highs in minutes, points, 3-point field goal percentage, rebounds and assists. He is the primary reason that the Knicks are in the playoff picture, but he isn’t the only reason. RJ Barrett has also taken the next step in elevating his level of play. The second-year playmaker is producing 16.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. Rookie guard Immanuel Quickley has progressed nicely and is exceeding expectations in his first season for the Knickerbockers. The 21-year-old is averaging 12.4 points in 19.4 minutes per game off the bench. New York has six players averaging double-digit points. This exciting team has beaten playoff teams from the West and has brought excitement and electricity back into the building.

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Three days following the Knicks game, fans will be allowed to watch the New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins. Similar to the Knicks, the Rangers are going through a rebuild with a solid young core. The Rangers are led by Mike Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and rising goaltender Igor Shestyorkin. New York squeaked into the playoffs last season, but they are struggling to get on the same page this year. New York is in second-to-last place in their division with a 4-7-3 record. They are currently on a four-game losing streak. That said, there are reasons to be optimistic. Alexis Lafrenière was the first pick of the 2020 NHL Draft and is still getting used to playing in the NHL. Lafrenière has been described as a generational talent and fans will need to exercise some patience when watching his development. The Rangers also have 2019’s No. 2 pick in Kaapo Kakko. Both young players are expected to be stars so the future may be brighter than what it seems like at the moment. 


It should be noted that because the state is only allowing arenas to fill at 10% capacity, only 2,000 fans will be allowed at Knicks and Rangers games. So, if you would like to attend a game, it won’t be as easy as it used to be to purchase a ticket. Fans will want to check ticket availability immediately if they would like to attend a game this season.

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