Tag Archives: World Cup

Woodside resident writes book on famed Brazilian soccer player


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

One Woodside resident has scored a goal in the literary world.

Dominique Beaucant, who is originally from France and came to the United States in 1978, is the author of the privately published book called “Garrincha – O Rei Dos Reis,” meaning “Garrincha – A King of Kings.”

The book looks back on the life of Brazilian soccer player Garrincha, whose real name was Manuel “Mané” Francisco dos Santos.

Garrincha, who passed away in 1983, was known for his “dribble” on the soccer field and also for his bent legs which did not prevent him from helping the South American national team take home World Cup titles in 1958 and 1962. He was referred to as nicknames such as “People’s Joy” and “Bent–Legged Angel.”

“He was more than a soccer player, he was a phenomenon,” Beaucant said. “When I saw a book that came out in 1995, I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to do a book one day that gives justice to this great player.’”

The 56-year-old Woodside resident began learning about Brazilian soccer players from his sixth-grade teacher Walter Durando in France. Every time he got together with his teacher he would ask to learn more and before making his trip to America he was given a collection of hundreds of magazine and newspaper clippings of the soccer duo.

As the years went by, his admiration for Garrincha grew into more than just hobby.

“That’s how it started and I never stopped,” Beaucant said. “I was fascinated by the guy, who he was and what he did on the field.”

In 1995, Beaucant, who has been a freelance writer and chef, began jotting down notes on Garrincha and throughout the years kept filling his drawers with hundreds of notes. In 2011, he began combining the notes and started writing the 288-page book.

To complete the book, which is written in Portuguese, contains 245 photographs and comes in a slip case, Beaucant looked back at his large Garrincha collection of newspaper and magazine clippings and images.

He has also traveled to Brazil and Europe for seven years, meeting Garrincha’s family and childhood friends.

More than 100 photographs in the book are never-before-seen images from the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe.”

Each book will be sold individually by Beaucant for $150 and he is plans of taking out a second book on Garrincha as well.

“I never did this book to make money. I never did this book to make a big profit,” Beaucant said. “This book is a result of all of my love, admiration, infatuation, respect and admiration for Garrincha.”

Although the book was printed by a company in New Jersey, the typesetting, cover design and embossing was done by Ebrahim Jaffer of Triboro Printing located at 25-02 Steinway St. in Astoria.

“[Garrincha] is no longer with us physically, but with this book his spirit and his soul [are] still living,”

Beaucant said. “The angel with bent legs, how he was known before, somehow is being reborn and the divine angel that he was is going to fly again.”

For more information or to purchase a book you can email Beaucant at copade58brasilcampeao@aim.com or call 718-626-0486.

 

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Influx of hipsters revives 90-year-old Ridgewood German bar


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Gottscheer Hall was on its way to closing down two years ago. But the Ridgewood bar and grill turned a profit in 2012 because of younger, more affluent patrons who began to appear in larger and larger groups.

People packed the Gottscheer Hall on Sunday to watch the World Cup final. The patrons that afternoon were either older and of German descent or younger and attracted to the German appeal of the bar and grill that derives its name from a region in Europe that was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

“I like the history of the bar, the kitschiness. The beer is good and cheap,” Jonathan Deentler, 25, said as he ate a German pretzel and sausage with sauerkraut. “I guess you could say I’m being a cultural tourist.”

Deentler and his friends, who all live in Bushwick, began to come to the bar two years ago and have since often frequented it. Around that time, the Gottscheer Hall began to turn a profit, something that hadn’t been seen for 15 years, according to the bar’s secretary Roland Belay.

“The hipsters revived us,” Belay said. The German restaurant is celebrating its 90th anniversary this September but up until recently the business suffered a loss of patrons. Belay attributes this loss to the fact that the German immigrants who drank at the bar are getting older and dying off. The last big wave of Germans to the neighborhood was during WWII when the war displaced many Germans from the Gottschee region, now part of Slovenia.

“Every year we get fewer and fewer Germans coming here,” Belay said. “So we have to look forward and it seems like the hipsters will keep this business alive.”

Brian Questa, 26, lives in Williamsburg but decided to watch the World Cup match between Germany and Argentina in Gottscheer Hall. He, too, was attracted to the bar’s “authenticity,” something he thinks Williamsburg lost when it became gentrified. Questa plans on moving to Ridgewood soon because of cheaper rent and the charm of the neighborhood. He noted the irony of contributing to Ridgewood’s gentrification.

“I concede the fact that because there’s more young people taking an interest in it does make it more attractive to me,” said Questa, who identifies himself as a musical composer. “Unlike places like Maspeth where it’s all families living there.”

When Germany won the match, the bar erupted into cheers and German chants, with both the older Germans and the hipsters celebrating the moment. In the coming years, Belay and the other owners of the bar will have to juggle the necessity to make money with “preserving the German heritage,” as Belay put it. But he will also have to try not to make the bar “very fake,” like Questa said Williamsburg is.

“People come there to live in Williamsburg but it’s full of people just there to see and live in Williamsburg,” Questa said.

 

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Ridgewood, Glendale German ancestry revealed in World Cup


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Gottscheer Hall

Most bars will be broadcasting the World Cup game this weekend but to celebrate it in true Deutsch fashion, Ridgewood and Glendale maintain a healthy group of German bars that harken back to the German ancestry of the area.

Gottscheer Hall on Fairview Avenue will be open on Sunday, a day that they usually close on, for the game. Roland Belay, who is the secretary for the bar and grill, plans to meet the game between Germany and Argentina with a full force of potato pancakes with applesauce, goulash , bratwurst, German pretzels and a whole menu of German-Austrian food that is sehr gut.

“The whole purpose of this building is to maintain our heritage,” said Belay, whose parents left the once Austrian-owned Gottschee region. “It’s a very homey atmosphere and we keep all the traditions alive here.”

Other German bars in the area to watch the game include: Zum Stammtisch and Celtic Gasthau on Myrtle Avenue, and Manor Oktoberfest on Cooper Avenue.

“This is definitely the area for German fans to hang out,” Belay said. “But we won’t be mean to the other side.”

 

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Queens World Cup fans get pooped on by Triumph the Insult Dog


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshoot via teamcoco.com


Instead of taking a trip to South America, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog paid a visit to western Queens last week to poop on World Cup fans.

The character puppet, voiced by Robert Smigel, aired the first of his World Cup segments on TBS’ “Conan” Tuesday night where he joined Colombian, Greek and Uruguayan fans in Astoria and Jackson Heights.

In the June 24 segment Triumph begins his “pooping” journey in Astoria in front of the bar and restaurant Basurero on Steinway Street celebrating with and insulting Colombian fans.

“As soon as the teams are done jogging and warming up they are going to start the game,” he said before moving away from the camera. “Oh wait I’ve just been informed that this is the game and I’ve actually been watching soccer for the past two hours.”

He then makes his way to another Astoria bar filled with Greek fans and pokes fun at the Greek economy and the idea that all Greeks work at diners.

Triumph ends his segment in Jackson Heights with Uruguayan fans at La Gran Uruguaya Restaurant and El Chivito D’Oro where he makes fun of the “Easter egg” colors of the country’s flag and even gets an insult shot at him by one die-hard fan.

“You know they say that soccer is less exciting than football, American football, but that is really selling it short. Don’t you think?” he questions some fans watching the game. “It’s also less exciting than basketball and baseball and bowling and backgammon and miniature gold and yahtzee.”

The video ends with viewers being promised that the World Cup “pooping” will be continued.

 

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Fun-filled Father’s Day weekend at the LIC and Astoria Fleas


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

Long Island City and Astoria will be buzzing this weekend, just in time for the FIFA World Cup and Father’s Day.

This Saturday, June 14, visitors to the LIC Flea & Food will be able to try their kicks out at a World Cup-themed event. Those who are able to score goals will go home with prizes.

The LIC Flea is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at the outdoor lot by the western Queens waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue.

On Sunday, HGTV’s “Flea Market Flip” will make its return to the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios with host Lara Spencer, co-anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Each week on the show, contestants, who participate in teams, are given $500 to explore items at different flea markets. The participants search for objects they can buy, fix and then “flip” for a higher selling price. By the end of each show, the contestants display their transformations and battle it out to win all the profits earned.

There are only two more Sundays left of the Astoria Flea, located at the outdoor backlot at 36th Street and 35th Avenue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., so don’t forget to check it out.

With Father’s Day this weekend, both the LIC Flea and Astoria Flea are the perfect spots to come down and find that perfect gift for dad from the wide array of vendors offering food and drinks, collectibles, art, fashion, vintage items, antiques and much more.

For more information visit www.licflea.com.

 

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Queens: Your best destination for the World Cup


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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JONATHAN WHITE

Soccer, or football as it’s known everywhere but in the U.S., is the world’s favorite sport — and every four years the planet is transfixed as the top national teams from around the world gather to crown a champion at soccer’s World Cup. 2014 is a World Cup year, and this year the month-long, 32-team competition will take place in Brazil starting Thursday.

With major network and cable operators looking to cash in on global soccer’s booming popularity here, television coverage will be ubiquitous, and you’ll be able to watch every game from the comfort of your own home (or at any bar, restaurant or hair salon with a TV, for that matter). But with the diversity and sheer size of New York’s international communities, the city offers even the most casual soccer fan a lot more than just a slew of accessible places to watch games. In fact, if you’re looking to get the full global flavor of the competition there is probably no better place in the world to watch the Cup, outside of the stadiums themselves in Brazil, than right here. And nowhere in New York City will you find better home-cooked soccer fever than in Queens, the diversity capital of the world.

Neighborhoods like Astoria, Corona and Jackson Heights, home to communities with some of the richest soccer traditions on the planet, will be a sea of national shirts and a global street party during the World Cup. And throughout the borough there will be any number of bars and restaurants filled with folks from every country in the competition, and those who love them, faithfully recreating the particular soccer mania of wherever “home” is.

In addition, Queens is also home to the oldest, biggest and some of the best soccer-watching spots the entire City has to offer — including beach bars that if you squint hard enough, just might make you think you’re actually in Rio itself. So buy your flag-capes, check out the list of teams and places here, and draw up your itinerary for where in Queens you’re going to watch the games you most want to see.

Algeria
The eastern part of Steinway Boulevard in Astoria has a large and vibrant North African population that includes one of the largest Algerian communities in the country — and soccer fans who come out in droves for big games. Tiny Caffe Borbone (25-07 Steinway/718-777-1023) is one spot many Algerian fans traditionally gather.

Argentina
As one of the tournament favorites, Argentina’s games and their star Lionel Messi will be closely watched everywhere. For the full-bore Argentine experience, however, head to La Esquina Criolla (94-67 Corona Ave./718-699-5579) or El Gauchito (94-60 Corona Ave./718-271-8198), two traditional Argentine steakhouses across the street from each other in this Argentina/Uruguay section of Corona, and Boca Juniors (81-08 Queens Blvd./718-429-2077) in Elmhurst — another steakhouse dedicated to all things related to Boca, one of Argentina’s biggest soccer clubs, and Maradona, Boca’s most famous player.

Bosnia-Herzegovina
Bosnia-Herzegovina put up the best record in its World Cup qualifying group and featured two of the top four scorers in all of European qualifying — all while qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in its history as a country. No doubt their fans gathering at cozy Sheher Restaurant (28-51 42nd St./347-484-4045) and tiny Cevabdzinica Sarajevo (37-18 34th Ave./718-752-9528) will likely be among the happiest and angst-free of any you’ll see all month.

Brazil
Astoria/Long Island City is also home to the City’s large Brazilian community and fan base for the most famous national team on the planet: no other country has been in every World Cup, no one’s won more World Cups and no country has produced as many great players. The rustic and homey Favela Grill (33-18 28th Ave./718-545-8250) in Astoria and the Rio Grande Churrascaria (39-05 29th St./718-361-1707) in the Long Island City Holiday Inn will be top spots among many in the neighborhood for the Brazil faithful to gather. With the Cup at “home” this year, much popular unhappiness over government handling of the economy, and with Brazil being one of the favorites to take the championship, fan intensity will be enormous.

Cameroon
See Ghana listing.

Chile
Though New York does not have a large Chilean population, supporters of one of South America’s top qualifiers this year regularly gather to take in Chile soccer games at the San Antonio Bakery (36-20 Astoria Blvd./718-777-8733) — one of the few Chilean food outposts in the City.

Colombia
Jackson Heights is the traditional home of the City’s huge Colombian community and the scene of raucous street celebrations when the team is playing well — as it is now. All of the many Colombian bars and restaurants along Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard such as Boulevard Restaurante (82-22 Northern Blvd./718-651-2797) will be filled with fans for Colombia’s games, but you can also check out Basurero (32-17 Steinway/718-545-7077) in polyglot Astoria for its spacious interior and wild, soccer- and flea market-themed décor.

Croatia
Despite the country’s small size, a number of Europe’s top players always seem to be Croatian, and this World Cup year is no exception, with top Croatian players for Champions League winners Real Madrid and Bayern Munich leading the national team charge. You can join the vibrant fans of the decidedly sports-centric nation, well-represented in Astoria and Woodside, at both stylish Veslo restaurant (32-11 Broadway/718-728-0549) and at bare-bones Scorpio Café (35-15 Broadway/956-8233) as they cheer on their team.

England
Eleventh-ranked England displayed excellent form in qualifying for the World Cup, topping their group. They are now however faced with the unlovely necessity of beating sixth-ranked Uruguay and ninth-ranked Italy in order to ensure they advance to the next stage in Brazil. Head over to top sports venue Bar 43 (43-06 43rd St./718-361-3090) in Sunnyside to connect with the many supporters here who will be working overtime to will England through this minefield alive.

Ecuador
Any number of Ecuadoran spots also line Roosevelt and 37th avenues in Jackson Heights, and they, too, will be packed with hopeful fans from the neighborhood’s substantial Ecuadoran population. One place sure to draw a crowd is spacious, upscale-rustic Barzola restaurant (92-12 37th Ave./718-205-6900).

France
The folks at 1682 French Louisiana restaurant (48-19 Vernon Blvd./347-738-4921), a French/Creole spot in Long Island City, will be looking to draw fans of “Les Bleus,” as the French national team is called, from the French eating establishments and other small businesses nearby as the team tries to capitalize on the talent of the many top European players in their squad and to erase the memory of the French team’s miserable 2010 World Cup performance.

Germany
Queens’ old and well-established German community has plenty to cheer about this year as the traditional powerhouse has also been tapped by many to win it all. Hordes of Germany fans always gather at Zum Stammtisch (69-46 Myrtle Ave./718-386-3014), a full-on Bavarian hunting lodge-style restaurant serving top traditional German fare in Glendale, a neighborhood with sizable German, Eastern European and generally soccer-centric populations. Recently opened Max Bratwurst und Bier (47-02 30th Ave./718-777-1635) in Astoria offers another Germany alternative. Loyalty conflicts will likely be severe at these venues, though, with Germany and the U.S. in the same playoff group.

Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon
The Jamaica neighborhood is home to a sizable African community, and Mataheko (144-07 Jamaica Ave./718-739-3980) is a popular pan-African eatery, party place, and game-watching locale — particularly for soccer fans from the first three countries listed here. All four countries’ teams are led by stars for big-name European club teams, so fans will undoubtedly be out in force. Another reason interest should run high at Mataheko is that Ghana knocked the US out of the 2006 and 2010 World Cups — and the two teams are in the same playoff group and facing each other again in their first games in Brazil on Monday, June 16. Hold on to your hat…

Greece
Astoria is also home to the City’s large Greek population, and all the many Greek restaurants in the area will be hosting the Greek team’s traditional crowds of raucous supporters. One location favored by fans for its spaciousness and extensive outdoor seating is the Athens Café (32-07 30th Ave./718-626-2164).

Italy
Opportunities to root for Italy’s national team, the “Azzuri,” are everywhere given the number of pizza parlors and Italian restaurants in every neighborhood. In addition, every “favorite’s” fans will be watching them and their games carefully: Italy’s won the second most championships after Brazil because they usually manage to marshal their talent to emerge as one of the most dangerous teams at any World Cup. Head over to Studio Square (33-35 36th St./718-383-1001), described in detail in The Beer Gardens section below, to see if they can emerge from the “group of death” they’re in with England and Uruguay.

Ivory Coast
See Ghana listing.

Korea
This is Korea’s eighth consecutive World Cup appearance, and you’ll find the immensely proud Korean community in Flushing and Bayside out in numbers at any of the myriad Korean sports bars and restaurants throughout the area. You also may want to head to the massive Kum Gang San restaurant (138-28 Northern Blvd./718-461-0909), which will be featuring Korea games on a giant screen in one of their banquet halls.

Mexico
With Mexican restaurants and stores everywhere, it will be easy to connect with fans of the national team, “El Tri.” For a more comprehensive experience, however, head to Corona or Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights where Coatzingo (79-11 Roosevelt Ave./718-424-7272) or Pico de Gallo (82-12 Roosevelt Ave./639-0808) among others are sure to draw crowds for games. You might also want to try Casa Enrique (5-48 49th Ave./347-448-6040), a refined, mod cantina in Long Island City, where the focus will also be on willing the Mexican team out of its recent mediocre form.

Nigeria
See Ghana listing.

Portugal
Newark and Mineola aren’t the only places in the metro area with Portuguese communities and their serious soccer fans. Jamaica has them both, too — and Portugal fans from all around will rally at O Lavrador (138-40 101st Ave./718-526-1526) and A Churrasceira (95-29 Sutphin Blvd./718-523-5293) for top-notch Portuguese home cooking and to watch Europe’s 2014 top player, award-winner Christiano Ronaldo, lead Portugal to hoped-for glory. O Lavrador is also hosting a series of traditional St. John’s Festival events the weekend that Portugal plays the U.S. (Sunday, June 22), so this place could be a tough environment if you’re conflicted about your loyalties! Also note that A Churrasceira has a convenient parking lot across the street from the restaurant.

Russia
Though the Russian team doesn’t feature any immediately recognizable stars, this group is no joke: they finished on top of their qualifying group — above Portugal, the world’s third-ranked team — while allowing one of the least number of goals scored against them throughout the entire qualification round in Europe. Bear (12-14 31st Ave./917-396-4939), a newish and sparkling bar/restaurant featuring locavore renditions of classic and new wave Russian food, draws a crowd of Russian nationals and others who will be gathering in force and rooting that the team can continue their good form and give them something bigger than a solid first round performance to celebrate.

Spain
A large Spanish population also has roots in Astoria. As winners of the 2010 World Cup and the current top-ranked team in the world, expectations for the Spanish team are also huge. If you don’t have any friends who can get you into Casa Galicia, a private social club that’s also a great place to watch Spanish games, head to La Rioja (33-05 Broadway/718-932-0101) for excellent tapas and a good crowd of Spain supporters.

Uruguay
Uruguay finished in fourth place at the last World Cup, led by the top goal-scorer in the English Premier League, Luis Suarez, and by some measures they have only gotten stronger since then. On the other hand, they are also in the nightmare “group of death” with England and Italy here in 2014. You can join the crowd of Jackson Heights-based Uruguay fans at La Gran Uruguaya (85-06 37th Ave./718-505-0404) and Chivito d’Oro (84-02 37th Ave./718-424-0600), both excellent Uruguayan takes on the South American steakhouse.

United States
U.S. supporters will be out at any venue not specifically tied to another national team — and there will likely be plenty even at these spots. Top venues will likely be sports cafés Bar 43 (43-06 43rd St./718-361-3090) in Sunnyside, Twist and Smash’d (34-02 Steinway/718-806-1542), along with Studio Square (33-35 36th St./718-383-1001), described in detail below.

Other noteworthy venues — only in Queens

The Beer Gardens
In addition to the venues described above oriented toward specific teams, Queens boasts some of the best “non-denominational” World Cup viewing options in the City. If the Czech Republic or Slovakia were at the World Cup this year then Bohemian Hall (29-19 24th Ave./718-274-4925) would not be in this list — but they’re not, so it is. This beautiful and massive outdoor elm-shaded beer garden, once one of hundreds here, is the City’s oldest and the inspiration for the recent rediscovery of the beer garden tradition in the City. With burgers, wurst and other classic beer garden fare on the menu, this is also a great place to watch the World Cup.

One of the new venues inspired by Bohemian Hall is Studio Square (33-35 36th St./718-383-1001) — an even more massive modern open-air beer garden specifically conceived with major event viewing in mind: there’s a 160-square-foot LED screen in the main courtyard, multiple screens on the surrounding open-air mezzanine and in the interior spaces, and seating for 1,200 with overall capacity for over 2,000. It’s like being at a World Cup fan-fest with picnic tables. The atmosphere is unequalled, and it’s a favorite destination for every team’s fans from across the City.

The Beach
Pretend you’re at a bar in Ipanema watching the games at the beach in Rockaway. Rockaway is a first-class beach, and great new concessions have appeared on the boardwalk as Rockaway has become an increasingly hip destination over the last several years. With the concessions rebuilt post-Sandy, the food spots at Beach 97th and Beach 106th are now also getting big new flat-screen TVs in anticipation of the World Cup. The games will also be on at the venerable Bungalow Bar and Restaurant (377 Beach 92nd/718-945-2100), which features a big backyard and deck, and an outdoor bar right on the sparkling waters of Jamaica Bay. World Cup on the beach and the bay? Now that sounds like a great way to spend a summer day in the City!

The Views
Everyone also knows that the best views of the Manhattan skyline are in Queens — and if it’s spectacular views you want as a backdrop to your World Cup soccer, you even have great up-close and panoramic options to choose from. Rooftop restaurant and lounge Penthouse 808 at Ravel Hotel (8-08 Queens Plaza South/718-289-6118), right on the East River next to the Queensboro Bridge, is serving up additional TVs for the World Cup to complement its pan-Asian cuisine. And for that panoramic Emerald City/Wizard of Oz look, be sure to check out the hyper-slick bar and lounge atop the brand-new Flushing hotel The One (137-72 Northern Blvd./718-886-3555). Both venues are planning special World Cup events as well.

 

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Astoria resident creates social platform to connect fans in time for World Cup


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy Fanspectrum


Next week fans won’t have to make the trip down to Brazil in order to cheer on their favorite teams in the FIFA World Cup; instead, their support will just be one click away.

Sports fan, former athlete and Astoria resident Vibor Cilic is expected to launch a new social platform called Fanspectrum, which will allow fans to show their support, regardless of their location, during the big games and also interact with other soccer enthusiasts.

“I would watch sports, I would watch my favorite team – Barcelona – and I would always ask myself, how do I connect with other fans?” said Cilic, who came up with the idea for Fanspectrum while watching games at Scorpio Cafe & Bar in Astoria. “How do you expand that real stadium into a global stadium?”

Fanspectrum, which will be available for free on the iPhone, Android and at www.fanspectrum.com, will have four features fans can access once they create an account and choose their favorite team.

The first core feature is called a “Fan Battle” where supporters of one team go against those of another and see which has the largest support. In this feature, the user will be able to enter a stream of social media posts for that specific match in which they have entered. The user will be able to post comments, videos and pictures, answer polls, create questions and comment.

In regards to the World Cup, fans will be able to access this feature during specific matches.

“Not everybody can make it to Brazil,” Cilic said. “We offer them a solution, for every fan’s voice to be heard, no matter where they are and what they do.”

Another feature is called a “Fan Map” where users will be able to pinpoint the locations of fans. According to Cilic, this will allow users to see where the larger groups of fans are coming from.

Fanspectrum will also have a Leaderboard which ranks the best fans for a specific team and time period. In this feature, the more fans a user invites, the higher they reach on the board.

The last feature is known as a “Fan Army,” which Cilic says works like a Facebook group but beyond just hitting the “like” button, allowing more user interaction.

“What we want to provide is that real-time engagement and real fans supporting their teams,” said Cilic, who hopes as the social platform becomes more known, fans will be able to receive physical rewards. “The whole point is for fans to be recognized as leaders and for us in the longer term to reward the fans.”

Once it officially launches, Fanspectrum will start with soccer fans, mainly focusing on the World Cup games. However, Cilic hopes to move the social platform forward in order for it to be available for fans of all different sports.

 

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Queens dogs to raise paws for favorite teams in World Cup


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Mauricio Hernandez


This year’s FIFA World Cup is receiving a ‘pawsitive’ reaction from four-legged fans throughout the borough.

Dog owners and their pets will be able to show their love for their favorite soccer teams Saturday in Jackson Heights, just less than two weeks before the big games kick off in Brazil, during an event called “Mi Mascota, Mi Seleccion,” translated to “My Pet, My Team.”

During the event, which will take place from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the garden of St. Marks Church at 33-50 82nd St., both owners and dogs are asked to come dressed in their favorite team’s colors. The day will feature food and treats for dogs, a trainer, entertainment for the whole family and contests for both pets and their owners.

“It looks like we are going to have a large participation of Colombian, Mexican and Ecuadorian pets, which are the majority in Corona, Jackson Heights and Woodside in Queens,” organizer Mauricio Hernandez said in Spanish.

One of the sponsors, who will also be selling dog jerseys at Saturday’s event, is Dalila’s Petwear located at 90-12 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights. Some of the national team jerseys in doggie sizes include the United States, Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and many others.

“I’m very excited,” said Miguel Rodriguez, owner of Dalila’s Petwear. “This idea came out last year. It’s amazing.”

Proceeds from “My Pet, My Team” will go toward St. Mark’s Church, which recently had to deal with a flooded basement.

After the event, photos of the best-dressed pets will be available on www.MyPetMyTeam.com. For more information call 718-644-7072 or 347-447-4433. To purchase a jersey click here.

 

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Former international soccer player to host meet and greet at Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Verizon Wireless

With the FIFA World Cup about only a month away, soccer fans will be able to get a taste of the sport at Queens Center this weekend.

In preparation for the big games being held from June 12 to July 13 in Brazil, Verizon is hosting five shopping mall “Estadio Verizon” (Verizon Stadium) events for fans. The events will feature interactive soccer games, a customized stadium scoreboard, trivia games and a soccer-themed Plinko board to win prizes.

This Saturday, former Colombian national team captain and Major League Soccer player Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama will be at Queens Center doing a meet and greet with fans from 4 to 6 p.m.

Between noon and 6 p.m. this weekend, visitors at the Elmhurst mall will be able to learn about Verizon’s video offerings including its “La Connexion” and Spanish Language Packages that offer customized content for Hispanics and others who seek more Spanish-language programming.

Also, throughout the weekend and in honor of Mother’s Day, visitors at Queens Center will be able to make a free international call to their moms, using the latest Verizon Wireless mobile devices.

 

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Nelson Mandela dies at 95


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons/South Africa The Good News / www.sagoodnews.co.za

HEATHER CHIN, MEAGHAN MCGOLDRICK AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela has died at age 95.

South African President Jacob Zuma confirmed that Mandela had died on Thursday at 8:50 p.m. South African Standard Time (1:50 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).

Born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in Transkei, South Africa, the world renowned civil rights activist went on to become South Africa’s first black president as well as a major mover in the fight to end the South African apartheid regime. His efforts and continuous activism earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Mandela was hospitalized in April 2013 for 18 days due to a lung infection. He had previously been treated for gall stones in December 2012. His last public appearance was in July 2010 at the World Cup in South Africa.

Following Mandela’s passing, national and local leaders offered their condolences and spoke of his legacy.

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again,” said President Obama. “So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said flags at City Hall will be lowered to half-staff in Mandela’s honor.

“When I presented Nelson Mandela with the Key to the City in 2005, he spoke passionately about the work of his foundation and his ongoing efforts to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic and many other important issues. He devoted his life to building a more just, equal and compassionate world, and we are all better for it, said Bloomberg. “On behalf of the people of the City of New York, I offer my sincere condolences to the Mandela family and the people of South Africa.”

 

 

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