'Closer to normality': New York City arenas open doors to elated fans

"For 2.5 hours today I'm going to feel closer to normality than I've felt since last year." 'PART OF LIFE' While several National Football League (NFL) and NBA teams have welcomed limited numbers of fans at games across the United States since the pandemic hit, franchises in New York City's massive sports market have played on behind closed doors.

Reuters | Albany | Updated: 24-02-2021 13:20 IST | Created: 24-02-2021 08:42 IST
'Closer to normality': New York City arenas open doors to elated fans
NBA logo Image Credit: ANI

Edey Cumello was supposed to go to her first National Basketball Association (NBA) game last year.

A fan of Golden State sharpshooter Stephen Curry, the 13-year-old was crushed when the tickets her mother purchased for the Warriors' road game in New York last March were rendered useless as the NBA put its season on hold due to COVID-19. On Tuesday, standing outside Madison Square Garden in the chilly February air, Cumello was grateful her long-awaited game had finally arrived.

"I'm really excited that we finally got to go because I was really upset when it got canceled," said Cuello, who plays point guard in her youth league in Fairfield, Connecticut. "I'm excited that we just get to be here and get to watch."

Cuello and her mother were among the 2,000 fans ready to watch the New York Knicks take on the Warriors, as New York City welcomed ticketholders at live sports events for the first time since the pandemic brought sports to a halt nearly a year ago. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this month that stadiums and arenas that can fit more than 10,000 people would be permitted to allow fans up to a 10% capacity, so long as the state Department of Health gives the green light.

To attend the game, fans had to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within the last 72 hours, keep masks on and maintain social distancing. Despite the restrictions and protocols, 46-year-old Elgin Swift of Weehawken, New Jersey, said the game was an opportunity to regain a sliver of his pre-pandemic life.

"It's almost just a sense of relief to feel like we're taking steps toward normality," said Swift, who happily shelled out $100 for a ticket. "For 2.5 hours today, I'm going to feel closer to normality than I've felt since last year." 'PART OF LIFE'

While several National Football League (NFL) and NBA teams have welcomed limited numbers of fans at games across the United States since the pandemic hit, franchises in New York City's massive sports market have played on behind closed doors. "I feel like a child again, going to my first-ever game," said Michael Macholz, a 21-year-old college student from Holbrook, New York.

In Brooklyn, the Barclays Center opened its doors to 300 fans for the Nets' game against the Sacramento Kings, with plans to increase attendance to 1,800 by early March. The arena sent novel coronavirus testing kits to all ticket holders in advance and also required fans to submit to an on-site nasal swab for antigen rapid testing before entering the facility.

Spectators will be spread out in "pods" of two or four seats and required to wear face masks when not eating. "It's been way too long," said Nets fan Kian Sadeghi, 21, a college student from Brooklyn, who did not have a ticket to Tuesday's game but stopped by to take in the scene at the arena in the hours leading up to it.

Sadeghi said he went to about 20 or 30 games a season before the pandemic hit and that his family used to have season tickets. "We would come a lot," he added. "It was really a part of life, you know?"

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why unequal access to coronavirus vaccines is a threat to us all

... ...

India’s love affair with fossil fuels: the path to sustainable development?

... ...

Videos

Latest News

DU awards 'digital degrees' to nearly 1,80,000 students during its 97th annual Convocation

The Delhi University became the first institution in the country to award digital degrees to its 1,78,719 students during its 97th annual convocation on Saturday, its acting vice-chancellor P C Joshi claimed. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic,...

Will never shut up about things that are wrong: LeBron fires back at Zlatan

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James on Saturday fired back at AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovics comment that athletes like him should not comment much about politics, rather they should stick to talking about the sport. Earlier, Zlatan ...

BJP holds protests against Maha minister over woman's death

The womens wing of the Maharashtra BJP on Saturday held protests in parts of the state to demand the resignation of forest minister Sanjay Rathod, whose name is being linked to the death of a woman in Pune.The protests were held at prominen...

Dharmendra Pradhan reviews projects in Varanasi; says city 'statement of Indian, Hindu culture'

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said that Kashi represents India and Hindu culture and has the potential to grow as a religious tourism spot. While reviewing the progress of a CNG boat conversion project and the Khir...

Give Feedback