The Garden and Piers 92/94
Westminster 137 will have the best of both worlds.
For the first time in its history, the Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will stage its event in two spectacular venues. The 137th edition will once again, as it has in virtually every year of its existence, have competition in the Groups on Monday and Tuesday nights, February 11-12, 2013, and eventually crown the Best In Show winner on Tuesday evening at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.
New in 2013 is the shift of the breed judging during those days to Piers 92/94 on the West side of Manhattan, a few blocks north of the Garden. The Piers offers over 200,000 square feet of column-free exhibition space and 20-foot high ceilings, and views of the Hudson River and New York City skyline. Here, Westminster and Show Superintendent MB-F will create a setting with 12 rings, lots of benching, and plenty of space for exhibitors, spectators and vendors.
The Piers are just that, two long separate side-by-side piers jutting like fingers out into the Hudson River (separating New York and New Jersey). It is a beautiful setting for the home of many trade shows and special art, fashion and design events during the course of the year. Many dog fanciers may remember back to the days in the 1990s when Pier 92 hosted what has become the Meadowlands Specialty Dog Shows in New Jersey in recent years, held the weekend before Westminster.
Westminster has been at the Garden from the beginning, one of only three tenants to stage their event in every one of the four incarnations of Madison Square Garden. "The World's Most Famous Arena" dates back to 1879, making it one of the few New York institutions that has been around nearly as long as Westminster.
From 1877 through 1879, Westminster held its first three shows at Gilmore's Gardens, which was gutted and rebuilt to create the original Madison Square Garden at Madison Square (26th Street and Madison Avenue). Garden II was constructed on the site of Garden I, opening in 1890.Madison Square Garden first opened its doors in New York City in 1879. The following spring, it hosted the fourth annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and "The Garden" has been home to the dog show in all but seven years since.
Garden III - the "Old Garden" - was built in just 249 days at 49th Street and Eighth Avenue, opening in 1925, and became America's premier sports and entertainment showplace for 43 years. The last event ever staged at Garden III was the 1968 Westminster Dog Show. Today's Garden -- Garden IV -- was built at 33rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, atop Pennsylvania Station and opened in 1968.
For Westminster in 2013, Pier 92, with about 75,000 square feet of space, will have four rings for competition in the breeds, and potentially can have room for nearly 900 dogs. Next door in the 133,000 square feet of Pier 94, there will be eight rings and benching for as many as 1,300 dogs.
Over the years, Piers 92/94 have hosted New York Fashion Week events; The Armory Show - Modern and its sister event, The Armory Show, featuring historically modern and contemporary art; the Architectural Digest Home Design Show and The Artist Project, featuring design seminars, cooking demonstrations, and international contemporary fine artists; the Pier Antiques Show; the James Blake Foundation charity tennis match Serving for a Cure; and political rallies, antique fairs, gift shows, parties and product launch events.
For Westminster, the increase in space - and in particular benching space that has been lost recently at the shrinking Expo Center at Madison Square Garden - allows Westminster to increase its entry limit to 3,200 dogs and also admit class dogs (non-AKC champions that have won at least one major of 3 points or more) for the first time since 1991. The entry limit is the highest it has ever been since the Club installed limits (2,500 in 1941, then 3,000 in 1970, then back to 2,500 in 1982). The limit was 2,000 in 2012 as the renovation project at the Garden cost the Expo Center (the benching area) significant room.
So, back will come the plywood benching and signs on the walls, allowing spectators to find a favorite breed or an individual dog that they want to see up close and personal. The Westminster legacy of educating the public about purebred dogs and responsible ownership will come front and center once again.
And here's another bonus - for those brave enough to drive in Manhattan - on-site parking for 900 vehicles, including special considerations for handlers and their box trucks. In addition, there is easy access for cars, trucks and taxis.
Westminster history, once again, in the making. We hope that you will join us and be a part of it all.
The next edition of The Westminster Times will focus on tickets and transportation.
For the latest hotel information for Westminster week, click here! Vendor information is also available here as well as other news and information. All items will be updated regularly.
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