In my quest to watch as many matches with fans of the various nations participating in the World Cup I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a place where Dutch fans in New York gather. The only real suggestion that I saw was for Tonic in Times Square. The idea of heading to the overly touristy part of the city and having to fight off five Sponge Bobs, the cast of Toy Story and all the other costumed panhandlers in the area was not appealing. I therefore opted for Tonic’s East Side location on Third Avenue and 29th Street.
When I first entered Tonic all the TV’s were tuned in to Wimbledon and there was hardly anyone there. I spoke with Janckell a bartender who was wearing a Brazil shirt. He told me that the bar had been packed for the previous day’s quarter-final match between Brazil and Colombia on the 4th of July. He added that despite the fact that a predominately Dutch crowd was expected for the Holland match versus Costa Rica, he would be rooting for the Costa Ricans.
For a sports fan Tonic East is a great place to watch a game. Almost every wall is covered with a large screen television both upstairs and downstairs and you have a perfect view of a match from any seat at the bar or restaurant.
Fans in orange slowly trickled in. There were a few real fans with Dutch roots but you got the sense that most of the supporters had adopted the Dutch as their team due to liking individual players such as Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie or head coach Louis Van Gaal. The turnout wasn’t huge so I’m still unsure where the real Dutch fans in New York go to watch their country play. However, I am sure that the frat boy types yelling USA, USA at the TV’s were oblivious as to who was playing.
Like Janckell, a couple of women sitting near me were secretly rooting for Costa Rica as they wanted to support the underdog.
The match was pretty amazing. Someone up above must be a Costa Rica fan as they survived attack after attack from the Dutch. The stats told the real story of the game as Holland had 64% of the possession, more than three times as many shots on goal and 11 corners to just one for Costa Rica. Regardless of the stats, the match was scoreless at full time and went to added time. The stars of the match up to this point were Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas and the linesman who got a lot of face time on television raising his flag 13 times to call the Dutch off side.
The match remained 0-0 after 120 minutes and the game went to penalties. It seemed at this point that most of the bar was now rooting for Costa Rica as you could hardly hear any cheering when the Dutch scored. In the end, Holland went through 4-3 on penalty kicks and the real Dutch fans in the house made their voices heard as they celebrated loudly.