A fan club far away from its home turf
FC St.Pauli NYC is as difficult to describe as one of those untranslatable German words. Founded by American fans in the season of 2008 / 09 who met online, the group has grown into an ever-changing crew of German ex-pats, long-time visitors, folks who grew up in the States, and lovers of left-wing football and politics from around the world who have managed to find each other in this crazy city. Currently there are about 20 regulars in the club, but many more come each match to joint the group.
How do you become a member of the East River Pirates? The short answer is, show up and don’t be a jerk. It doesn’t matter where you are from and if you are a football nerd or just want to be entertained and meet new people. The atmosphere the fans bring to in the East River Bar is quite special. There is a personality to it, quite like at Millerntor in Hamburg and they’re proud of it! The best thing about the East River Bar is that it isn’t a sports bar. It’s a good neighborhood bar, full of regulars including lots of bike messengers. So, watch out for the bikes being wheeled through, don’t mind the front row singing “Vamos, St.Pauli! Esta noche tenemos que ganar!” because, yes, there are new local chants, (courtesy of our friends in the NY Cosmos supporters), hang around have a drink and become part of the family.
The longer answer has to do with shared values. As with many international St.Pauli fan clubs, football is a conduit for community and charity work. With the current political situation in the United States, the St. Pauli supporters in place feel it’s more important than ever to support local programs that share their values. Donations collected at the match screenings last year went to the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP), who provide legal support for immigration issues across the country. In what has become an annual tradition, at least 100 people came out to watch the final match of last season, raising money for Viva con Agua. This year the group is continuing to support IDP and to look for other causes where they can do some good. Nevertheless, besides supporting causes they believe in, perhaps the most important thing they do is build a lasting community steeped in St.Pauli philosophies: against racism, against sexism, against homophobia, against fascism. In a world that feels increasingly divided, those ideas hold them together. A Kiez in the Big Apple.
Big plans are coming up for this season! Since it’s their 10 year anniversary (!) some specials will be put in action. Besides their usual weekend trips out of the city, they hope to travel to a home match in spring—a first for their club! A few members have never been to Germany and are extremely excited to share the Hamburg experience with everyone. As always, they are also looking forward to welcoming new friends to their home under the Williamsburg Bridge and spreading the Gospel of St.Pauli across New York City.