Maya Mau contributed to this article.
Two New York City teams have qualified for the postseason for the second time in NBA history, and it’s not just the fans who are excited. Sports bars on the Upper West Side are hopeful that the positive energy generated by the teams’ triumph would help them recover from a difficult year as well.
Both teams last qualified for the playoffs in 2013, when the Knicks were the Eastern Conference’s second seed and the Nets, who had just moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey, were the fourth seed.
The second-seeded Nets will meet the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round. At 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, the first game of the series will be played at the Barclays Center. The fourth-seeded New York Knicks will take on the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks. Their first game will be on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
The success of New York City clubs in professional basketball comes at a time when Upper West Siders are becoming increasingly keen to take advantage of everything the city has to offer. As a result, a lot of pubs are planning to display both Knicks and Nets playoff games.
Dive Bar has four locations on the Upper West Side (96th and Amsterdam, 101st and Broadway, 75th and Columbus, and 106th and Amsterdam), and shows whatever games are popular.
“We’ll probably show both games because they’re major games,” a Dive Bar staffer remarked. “We will turn on the sound if there are a lot of people watching and interested.”
Emerald Inn, an Irish-style pub on 72nd Street between Broadway and West End, claimed it will “definitely” air both New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets games. When asked if customers were excited about either team’s performance, an employee answered, “The Knicks.”
Customers at Bodega 88 (88th & Columbus), which serves Latin-style small meals, were likewise excited about the playoffs.
“We’ll be playing both games,” a Bodega 88 employee said. “On Wednesday, a few fans were watching the [Western conference play-in] game, and they were incredibly excited.”
The Lion’s Head Tavern (109th & Amsterdam) is located at the crossroads of Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side, and it is looking forward to taking advantage of NYC’s weekend open streets.
An employee at Lion’s Head Tavern remarked, “We have a couple of television sets, so we’ll surely be broadcasting the playoffs.”
Amity Hall (109th and Amsterdam) across the street will also be screening games from both series.
“Between the loosening of limitations and summertime, the fact that there are two teams from New York in the NBA playoffs that aren’t usually there is intriguing to people,” an Amity Hall staffer said.
With looser flu restrictions, better weather, and strong New York professional basketball teams, Upper West Side bars are expecting their venues to be much busier this summer than they were the previous year.