Even if we allow New Yorkers a little slack for their endearing nearsightedness, we'd probably have to admit some truth to their contention that Madison Square Garden is the world's most famous arena. George Kalinsky has been the Garden's official photographer since 1966, and his nearly 40 years of work are the basis for Garden of Dreams: Madison Square Garden 125 Years, which uses stirring pictures to tell a story of international sports, politics, entertainment and celebrity. The volume benefits from a terrific introduction by journalist Pete Hamill, who takes the Garden through its various structural and site changes since the 19th century, complete with illustrative anecdotes that capture the distinctively New York mindset. Other brief essays are contributed by personalities for whom the Garden brings fond memories, including Bill Cosby, John McEnroe, Bill Bradley, Robert Klein and Spike Lee. Kalinsky's photos supplemented by some black-and-white archival shots are by turns colorful and fraught with history. Subjects include New York Knicks basketball greats, world-class animal tamer Gunther Gebel-Williams, Muhammad Ali, Nadia Comaneci, Pope John Paul II, Peggy Fleming and Clinton/Gore together at the 1992 Democratic Convention.

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