World Cup Fever has officially captivated Manhattan, capped off by the United States’ improbably dramatic 1-0 victory yesterday against Algeria. And as the World’s most popular tournament continues, New York’s very own South Street Seaport has been transformed into a Mecca for fans of the sport. Renamed (and re-branded) “Puma City,” the severely under-appreciated but touristy trap of the Financial District has been literally littered with different colored shin guards, high socks, Umbros, men wearing lady headbands, and bulbous, tree trunk legs. Maybe that’s a bit of an embellishment, but you get the point.
A typically quiet Fulton Street has been overrun by red Puma umbrellas covering picnic tables and crowds of hungry soccer fans trying to get a small taste of the South African tournament. Puma retail shops have been carefully placed directly in the prime strip of walking space on the street. One of the trailers sells Puma shoes, cleats, and soccer apparel, while the other sells soccer jerseys, hats, and shirts representing the countries that Puma outfits for The Cup. Unfortunately, Nike has the rights to all of the US Soccer Team’s apparel, so obviously Puma does not sell anything featuring the United States’ team logo. Next to the shops are areas for fan interaction and participation- an enclosed, small-scale soccer field (Puma Field), a digital photo booth, and the “Game Zone,” featuring open ping pong tables and a signing board for traveling fans.
Blog: Puma City
Catered more toward adults, the Puma RED Beer Garden (a Mexican restaurant and bar), has drawn crowds as a prime viewing area for the actual televised games of the World Cup, as big screen televisions are on display right on the street. The Puma Social Club, right next door, is a bar featuring live music and DJ’s throughout the tournament, which make it a feverish hot spot for Happy Hours and area residents alike. And if all of these interactive attractions aren’t enough, Puma has also designed Country specific tour buses around the City, promoting the Puma City brand and the World Cup event itself. Both of which are currently going on now through July 11th.
Puma City is definitely worth checking out, especially if yesterday’s victory got you all amped up to watch more soccer and cheer on the United States. I’ll never forget where I was. There’s nothing quite like watching the finish to a big game in a stuffed bar without air conditioning, jumping up and down repeatedly with 100 other strange men in suits, high-fiving and hugging each other. And since it’s all taking place at the South Street Seaport, (as long as there’s no Drake & Hanson concert going on) the setting is one of the most wonderful and scenic places to be in all of New York.
- Jane Van Arsdale