Soccer fans have been waiting four years for the start of the 2014 World Cup, including many in the Corona section of Queens who are ready to watch the matches at their favorite local spots. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Outside the Cucino a Modo Mio Restaurant in Corona on Thursday owner Gregory Giliotti unpacked a 65-inch TV. He also put in a brand new beer garden area for the World Cup.
"When we watch the World Cup, it's like when we watch the Super Bowl. It's the same. We watch who's the best," Giliotti said.
The soccer event happens every four years and features 32 teams from around the world.
Many Corona businesses are decorated with flags from participating nations, and are hoping for big crowds, eager to watch the matches.
"We're trying to get more people from outside the neighborhood," Giliotti said.
The owners of Paraiso Columbiano, Juan Salamanca and Miguel Baez, are also ready to welcome soccer fans and engage in a friendly rivalry. One is from Columbia, the other from Argentina.
"It's every four years. We don't know if we will make the next one. It's just exciting being in the World Cup," Salamanca said.
"This neighborhood, we have Italian, Mexico, a mix. And I hope Argentina wins," Baez said.
It's all about the love for the game, and fans from everywhere coming together to enjoy it at its best.
"Everybody's around, everybody is in the same place. And everybody is waiting to find out who is going to win. That's exciting for me. And everybody is getting together," Salamanca said.
People young, old and in between say they will be watching and rooting for a variety of teams.
"It gets crazy around here. I mean have seen some stuff where people party all night," said one World Cup fan.
"You don't get to see your country play that often in four years," said another World Cup fan.
Many fans who spoke with NY1 said they will be rooting for the nation of their birth first but also pulling for the U.S. unless they wind up playing each other. Then all bets are off.