MSG improves upper level seating

Madison Square Garden is in the midst of its second phase of a three-part renovation.

MSG Company President and Chief Executive Hank Ratner led a tour of the arena on Wednesday to reveal the latest improvements.

Phase No. 2 of the renovation is focused on the upper bowl.

Seats in the upper bowl have been elevated by 17 degrees, so fans in the upper level will be approximately 10 feet -- or the equivalent of three rows -- closer to the court.

The seat elevation is expected to improve sight lines from the upper bowl. It also allowed Garden workers to expand the height and width of the upper bowl (8th floor) concourse.

The new concourse will feature more bathrooms and concession stands. It's nearly doubled in size, so fans should be able to walk around with greater ease during games.

In addition, the Garden got rid of the suites on the 10th floor during this most recent phase of renovation. They have been replaced by a fan concourse and more concession stands. Fans walking on the 10th floor will have a view of the court.

The Garden says construction remains on schedule.

Neither the Rangers' deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs nor recent fires in the arena have caused any delays.

So the arena is set to re-open on Nov. 1 for the Rangers' home opener against the Dallas Stars. The Blueshirts will play their first eight games of 2012-13 on the road.

The Knicks open their home schedule on Nov. 2 against the Miami Heat. Construction will likely force them to play all preseason games away from Madison Square Garden.

In addition to renovating the upper bowl, the Garden has added 58 suites above the lower level seating on the seventh floor. The sixth floor is expected to include an homage to The Garden's more than 130-year history.

Construction is expected to be completed in the 2012-13 offseason.

In the third and final phase of construction, Garden workers are expected to add two walkways above the playing surface for fans and a new main scoreboard.

For photos of the inside of the arena, click here.

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