The World Cup kicks off on Thursday, and the anticipation is building in Queens, where many people and businesses are gearing up for the big event. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
There are national flags and World Cup banners just about everywhere you look on Corona Avenue near 108th Street. Soccer is big business here, and it's not just the bars and restaurants that are trying to cash in. Matches will be shown in a number of places, including a real estate office.
"We obviously have it off, but this is going to be one of the places, and we also have another location downstairs that we are going to be watching," said Elias Borjas, associate broker with Exit Realty Success.
If that doesn't work, you can catch the games at the laundromat or just about any business with a television. Soccer is the number one sport in the world, and many in this large immigrant community are big-time fans.
"To a lot of people, it's just like a regular sport, but to us, it is a passion," Borjas said. "We really enjoy it, and it's something that brings the whole Latin American and European, and as well as the American, community together."
And the fever is spreading. It was getting out of hand in some places, where the flags had to be removed from light posts and street signs. Local leaders say they don't know why, but there is greater excitement about the cup this year.
"I'm noticing a lot more restaurants are much more open showing their preferences towards teams. That's something you do see a lot of," said Christian Cassagnol, district manager of Community Board 4. "I have to admit, I've never seen soccer fever the way I've seen it this year."
In Jackson Heights, we didn't see a lot of flags flying. Instead, it is the merchandise that is flying off the shelves.
A horn could be heard outside of different stores along Roosevelt Avenue, where soccer fans were looking for items representing the United States, Latin American and European countries.
Vendor: T-shirts is the most important.
Boone: That's the biggest seller?
Now, they just need their team to win it all.