I ran across a website that remembered the original Boston Garden. The site is called The Sports Juke, and its author misses that old arena, much like I do.
I always tell people that watching WWF pro wrestling from the Garden’s balcony was an cool experience because of the way it overhung the lower sections, creating an obstructed view for some people below. For those of us who sat in the balcony, however, it offered a surprisingly close view of the ring.
If you were loud enough, a wrestler could hear your insults from the balcony. I distinctly remember a group of my friends antagonizing Sgt. Slaughter from the balcony in 1990 just before he won the WWF Title from the Ultimate Warrior.
The current TD Garden in Boston (formerly the TD Banknorth Garden, formerly the FleetCenter, and for a short while before it opened, the Shawmut Center) doesn’t have an overhanging balcony, but instead has its upper seats constructed up the side of the building, giving balcony views that are much farther away than the old Garden’s. The TD Garden is like a giant cave; the old Garden was more intimate.
If you never got to sit in the old Garden, this slide show gives some good photos of the balcony (not from wrestling, but from Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics games).
I don’t know if any U.S. arenas have an overhanging balcony any more. I don’t believe Madison Square Garden does, from what I remember of my one visit there several years ago for a boxing card. I’m not sure what the Phildelphia Spectrum’s balcony was like, or Maryland’s Capital Centre. The only arena I can think of that’s old enough (and still standing) to have the dated architecture that the Boston Garden featured is San Francisco’s Cow Palace.
Anyone out there know about balconies at other arenas? I’d love to hear about others who sat in overhang balconies like the Garden’s.