Yes, the World Cup started Friday. Yes, your friends stopped paying attention after Steven Gerrard was Steven Gerrard in the fourth minute of the most hyped soccer game in recent American history. (Wait, we tied? What? BOO, TIES ARE BORING).
But my New York experiences are just beginning: I flew into the city Saturday night, and it's clear this town is digging this whole World Cup thing. Every bar, every restaurant is doing something Cup-related, flying flags of the 32 nations of the World Cup (although I saw a few last night that either are reusing their 2006 flag sets, or Angola and Trinidad and Tobago qualified without me knowing this year), and every newspaper from the Times to the Journal has come out with a guide to this, and USA shirts and jerseys were running rampant on the streets Saturday. Now, I could head into any of those bars and restaurants, but that's not how I roll. I'm looking for places to watch with fans of each team.
I'm ready for my tour to begin. I'm not in South Africa unlike some of SB Nation's truly fantastic writers (SERIOUSLY, CLICK ON THAT LINK, not to mention all this stuff that's going on), but this city bar tour is going to be awesome.
And it starts Tuesday.
Here's the rundown:
DAY 1: JUNE 15
National bars checked off: 0 of 32
Times beaten up: 0
Goals missed due to terrible transportation mishaps: 0
Subway transfers: 0
(I'll be adding to these counters as the tourney goes on and I think of more things to add.)
7:30 a.m.: Netherlands vs. Denmark
Tonic Times Square (Netherlands and Denmark), 727 Seventh Avenue, Manhattan
So, in a weird twist of fate, fans of both of these tiny Group E northern European nations picked the same spot, NYC's hyper-sports bar Tonic, for their watch parties. Sadly, I feel like both nations will be too kind to get into huge fights, which is sort of a buzz kill. Either way, I'm going and hoping bad things happen. I'll try my best to use my knowledge of my stereotypes of these two nations to stir up bad sentiments to get everybody riled up at each other. ("Hey, fellow Danish fan, I heard that Dutch guy talking about running into your girlfriend in the red light district, because prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. Beat the crap out of him! Also, he said Hamlet totally sucks.")
10 a.m.: Japan vs. Cameroon
Japas 27 (Japan), 366 Third Avenue, Manhattan
Surprisingly I'm having trouble finding places for both of these teams: I'm thinking I'll hit up this east side karaoke bar which appears to be converting their joint into a Japanese haven during the Cup. We'll see if it turns out nicely.
2:30 p.m.: Italy vs. Paraguay
I Love PY, (Paraguay), 43-16 Greenpoint Avenue, Queens
I'll have plenty of time - not to mention, plenty of options - for Italian places to go: first off, Italy should go deep in the tourney; secondly, Italian people live in New York. (I know this guy named Ray. He owns a pizza place.) For Paraguay, I only have one option: An eatery in Astoria called "I Love PY". It's just a bakery, so, there won't be a huge ruckus like the one I'll find in Tonic most likely, but hopefully there's an actual Paraguayan contingent to be found there.