An American Weekend: Clinton Hill

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Frank Vasquez enjoying the World Cup at Whole Foods Gowanus.
Frank Vasquez enjoying the World Cup at Whole Foods Gowanus.

A  lot of Brooklyn residents sought the great indoors as heavy rain ruined outdoor Independence Day plans. Frank Vasquez, 51, was one of them. He traded all-American celebrations for groceries and the World Cup.

“I was supposed to go to Goshen to my sister’s house but now I’m on a staycation,” Vasquez said.

The Roof, the restaurant on the second floor of Whole Foods Gowanus, had the quarterfinal match on it’s giant screen. Vasquez, along with some 75 others spent the afternoon enjoying the world’s favorite game.

Vasquez was born and raised in Brooklyn. He moved from Park Slope to Clinton Hill six years ago, he said. But he and his wife Rachel often go to Whole Foods for meals and groceries. “The Whole Foods project seemed to take forever,” Vasquez said of the store’s construction. “It figures, we leave Park Slope and it finally gets here.”

He is usually not interested in soccer but he found himself rooting for Colombia, as his wife  focused more on chatting with the coworker she had run into than on the World Cup. Sports have always been a part of Vasquez’s life. He played baseball in middle school, high school, and college. These days he coaches middle school baseball and works for his brother’s bagel business.

If Independence Day turned out sunny, Vasquez said he would have played volleyball with his nieces and nephews. His sister’s house upstate has a swimming pool, a large backyard, and plenty of Wii games. In the summer months his sister invites the in-laws and friends to barbecues.

“Although they’re teenagers, they still want to hang out with me,” Vasquez said of his nieces and nephews.

Soccer isn’t a traditional Independence Day activity, but Vasquez believed watching the Macy’s fireworks would make up for it. He was also looking forward to two Yankees games this weekend.

As the buzzer on the game hit zero, half of the crowd whooped and screamed. Vasquez hit the table, disappointed that the underdog Columbia team had lost.

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