Sports Flashback: What did you like most about old Boston Garden?

Roger Naples, president of the Gallery Gods, watches the Bruins from his perch in the balcony at Boston Garden in 1995.
Roger Naples, president of the Gallery Gods, watches the Bruins from his perch in the balcony at Boston Garden in 1995.TLUMACKI, JOHN GLOBE STAFF PHOTO

The Boston Globe and The Sports Museum have teamed up to provide occasional looks back at the good old days of Boston sports, featuring the responses to prompts posted on the museum’s Facebook page from Rusty Sullivan, the museum’s executive director.


It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since the old Boston Garden was in full operation with the Bruins, Celtics, etc. As an arena, the Garden certainly wasn’t state-of-the-art — but it sure was special. No joint in the country had more character. What are some of the things that you liked best about the old Boston Garden?



▪ I had the opportunity to work there from ’84-92 as both a vendor in the seats as well as the Bull Gang. The atmosphere there was second to none. The fans very passionate. The little nuances like the organ player being just above the loge, where you could walk up and say hello to all of the blind spots (obstructed view seats). The place was just fantastic.

▪ There was no better seat in sports than front row balcony at the old Garden. Truly amazing.

▪ The proximity of the balcony to the action and the fact the magnitude of big events was quantifiable on scales of heat and noise. Kareem needed oxygen. Nuf ced.

▪ I worked security there in the ’80s. Very special working the ramp where the Bruins drove up to park inside.

▪ Another cool perk of working there was seeing the players all the time both before and after the games. Some were very friendly and even remembered your name, while some didn’t want to be bothered. The access we had was great.

▪ You didn’t ask what I didn’t like, but here goes: the smoke, the obstructed views, the scarcity of bathrooms, the endless stairways, the absence of escalators, shortage of elevators, lack of air conditioning. Did I mention the smoke? Toward the end, they banned smoking in the seats, but people still smoked in the concourses, and it was awful.


▪ The Gallery Gods and the upper balcony level reeking of marijuana smoke.

▪ The Causeway Street elevated subway.

▪ It’s the memories of all the events I attended — concerts, sporting events, circus, and of course WWF events, which were some of the most insane crowds ever assembled, especially when Bruno headlined.

▪ The rats.

▪ The ramp into the arena. Odd, I know, but as a kid I used to run up to the turns, grab the rail with one hand, and swing my body around the corner.

▪ The way the building rocked when it was a big game and all playoffs! The intimacy of how close you were to the action. Just was so special.

▪ The history you felt when you walked in there.

(Follow The Sports Museum on Facebook or Twitter to see daily questions and add your responses to be considered for upcoming installments of this feature.)