- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK –- The Madison Square Garden transformation appears to be a hit so far with fans.
Some of the 19,812 fans who attended the debut of the renovated Madison Square Garden during the Knicks game against the Bobcats on Friday were thrilled with the new MSG changes. And that included those sitting on one of the new "Chase Bridges" as well as fans sitting at the very top of the arena on stools situated behind them.
"I love it," said Steve Marrero, a contractor seated on one of the bridges. "I was here when they got knocked out by Indiana [last season] and I don't recognize the place. And I've been coming here since 1977."
Marrero purchased his two tickets three days before the game, and specifically wanted to sit on a bridge and test the view. There are two rows of seats on each side of the bridges, and stool seats along the length.
"It looks spectacular," said Danny Acevedo, who purchased his two tickets, in section 311, the day of the game. "The view is a more over-the-top view and I think that is a good view for basketball. I've always felt they needed a new scoreboard and it is amazing."
Any fan that has a ticket can go up to the 10th floor and walk around on the new Chase attractions, which only a handful of fans did in the first and second quarters. It's hard to see the action on the court unless there's an open seat or an opening to look down. But those who had seats liked what they saw.
"We are enjoying it," said Clare Newton, who was perched in section 311 on Friday. "These seats are nice and we see people stopping by and taking in the view from here. I think people appreciate the view."
But what about the view from behind? There are rows of seats behind each bridge where the view of the new GardenVision scoreboard is blocked, but the view of the court is not obstructed.
Mo Shivraj and Balgo Gopal, two friends who own season tickets in the top level, loved their seats -- even with the catwalk in front of them.
"Amazing," Shivraj said.
Shivraj and Gopal highlighted the three 145-inch monitors for those who cannot see the scoreboard.
"I think this actually solves the problem," Gopal said as he pointed to one of the three stat screens. "It is the same thing you would be seeing if you could [see the scoreboard]."
Gopal doesn't mind the bridge one bit, even with fans walking by throughout the game.
"I think it is kind of cool," he said. "I want to go do it [and walk on the bridge]. I want to see the view off of it."
Gopal and Shivraj also said they thought the prices of the food at the Garden were reasonable despite a bottle of Dasani water costing $5.25 and a large imported draft beer going for $10.50.
And how does the new Garden compare to Brooklyn's Barclays Center?
"Let's just say we have the same seats up here [but] at Barclays? We would be looking down, we would need binoculars. The Garden gradually gets up there, which is perfect. We love these seats."
7dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann