Some New York Knicks fans may think of Madison Square Garden as the team's home, but the Trump Towers might be a more accurate answer. And we're not talking about The Apprentice creator's New York City location. The Linsanity epidemic has breached the boroughs and spread to Westchester County's White Plains, where Knicks' star Jeremy Lin will be living in the city's Trump Towers. But locals say it isn't surprising to see sports stars frequenting the downtown area's establishments.
White Plains has always been a common stomping ground for the Knicks and the Rangers, said Christopher Rifilato, manager of Italian eatery Pranzi located near the players' home. We're fortunate enough to have them frequent the establishment. Most of them are very friendly.
According to Rifilato, other Knicks players such as Mike Bibby, Josh Harellson and Toney Douglas dine at the restaurant up to three times a week, with pizza being one of their menu favorites.
These guys always eat the same thing, penne pasta Alfredo with grilled chicken and shrimp, which isn't on the menu, the manager said with a laugh.
The surrounding neighborhood is cluttered with nightlife and restaurants, including big name chains Applebee's and Legal Seafoods, and less commercialized establishments such as The Iron Tomato. However, sports bar and grill Buffalo Wild Wings seems to be the Knicks' choice hangout.
Toney Douglas orders a Primo Margarita every time he comes in, said bartender and Knicks fan Verica Beltaseva. It's his favorite drink; we have them ready for him.
Beltaseva said Amar'e Stoudemire is also a frequent customer, and she hopes to see Lin accompany his other teammates.
I just heard yesterday that he's moving in right across the street, she said. We hope he comes in here with the other players, this is their spot.
And according to Beltaseva, the Knicks presence can promote the sports establishment's reputation.
It helps a lot, she said. A lot of the people come in here and expect to see some of the players.
But for other guests, the celebrity clientele is a surprise.
A lot of them just come to watch the games, said the bartender. Sometimes I mention that a lot of them [Knicks] come in here and the customers get so excited.
It's uncertain how crowds will react when Lin makes a local appearance, but Pranzi's patrons have been Knicks-friendly so far.
They're not too pushy with autographs, said Rifilato. But they make it a point to say hello, shake their hands and tell them that they're big fans.