continued But this year’s training camp season comes with changes. Because of new contract negotiations teams can only practice once a day, instead of the two- or three-a-day practices of the past.
Arduini said he lost a significant amount of money last year, but declined to say exactly how much. It was estimated to be in the thousands, the same for other businesses in the area. He is glad of the team is back, but does not know how having one practice at 1 p.m. might change business from previous years.
Maggie Smith, owner of Maggie’s Sports Bar and Café on Western Avenue, said even if business wanes, having the team back at all will help matters.
Fans often use the bar as a hangout, hoping to see some of their favorite players who are able to visit local establishments at various times. Smith said players like quarterback Eli Manning, offensive lineman Kareem McKenzi and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks have stopped in to eat and chat with fans, along with officials from the Giants organization.
“They were great with the fans, very pleasant,” Smith said. “I told people they couldn’t bother them. They (the players) went to the fans after they ate.”
Because of the schedule change, restaurants are now hoping fans will stop in before or after the practices for their meals.
Minerva Marcina, co-owner of the Barcelona restaurant on Western Avenue, said the new schedule might mean more people will stop in for dinner. She mostly gets fans staying at hotels who drive in from out of the area.
According to Arduini and Smith, many fans visit from Downstate and treat training camp as a vacation. They then visit the Saratoga Race Course the same week.
“People still aren’t taking a lot of major vacations because of the economy,” said Arduini.