Take the World Cup to the Next Level in Nolita

A stadium for the rest of us pops up in Nolita

By Courtney Humiston
|  Thursday, Jun 3, 2010  |  Updated 6:15 PM EDT
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Take the World Cup to the Next Level in Nolita

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Not an athlete. A "freestyler."

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Why run all over town looking for a good place to watch the World Cup games when you can see every one at the same place (and not drink away your child's college fund).

No, we are not talking about your living room.  Starting on  June 20th, Play Beautiful, a social, multimedia, interactive soccer-watching experience will be making the Openhouse Gallery in Nolita the place to be for the remainder of the Cup. That is if your idea of the ideal soccer-watching experience includes shopping, playing Nintendo, eating cupcakes and and watching world-record-breaking freestyler competitions.

Yes, it sounds like a bit of a circus, but for those who really do just want to watch the game, the mini-stadium offers 70 tiered seats that face two giant screens.

We know what you're thinking: But the Cup starts on the 11th. What about that first crucial week? Not to worry: Play Beautiful will be "popping up" around the neighborhood of its future habitat, hosting internationally-minded events that coincide with the game schedule.

A Chilean wine pairing at Puro-Wine will be held the night that (you guessed it!) Chile is playing. on Brazil's big night, Play Beautiful will be at Barbossa, a Brazilian restaurant on Elisabeth Street and authors David Hirshey and Roger Bennett will be signing their book, The ESPN World Cup Companion: Everything You Need to Know About the Planet's Biggest Sports Event, at the McNally Jackson Bookstore while the U.S. team tries not to embarrass itself.

Alex Kotler, the founder of Football Partnerships, which organized Play Beautiful, is hoping that the month-long event will "change the New York City landscape for soccer." He aims to show that the Cup is "not just about athletics...but also the culture of the teams participating." Kind of like bringing the whole world together... which is (aw shucks) what the Big Apple does best.

Tickets to the stadium and to all the events leading up to it are free, but reservations are required and available here.

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