Georgia Bulldogs in New York City Love Their Dawgs


A solitary trumpeter intones the Seven Notes of the Bulldog Nation.  Glory! Glory!  It’s another Georgia football Saturday in New York City.

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Georgia fans who find themselves in the Big Apple need not live the Bulldog life in solitude. A large and vociferous population of Dawg people – the UGA Alumni New York City Chapter – wait to embrace any Georgia man or woman living or working in the city that never sleeps.

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The most important Georgia Bulldog activity for the Big Apple’s Dawgs is the same as for Dawgs everywhere – game watching.

The most prominent Georgia game day location is American Whiskey on W 30th St , a block south of Madison Square Garden.

For each game, a unique UGA-NYC hype video plays on every TV across the two-story American Whiskey bar. A former redcoat plays the battle hymn from the upstairs bar balcony and Baba O’Riley and Redcoat Band favorites resound at Sanford Stadium volumes.

Joshua Johns, an editor for Valiant Comics in New York City, describes the atmosphere. “We have customized NYC Dawgs t-shirts, pom-poms, and all manner of Georgia flair to give out at the game. With one of the largest contingencies of fans from any southern school in NYC, we pack the bar with red and black. There are Georgia flags flying everywhere, full audio of the broadcast with a music program of Georgia classics during commercials, everything you’s want all right in the heart of Manhattan”

Emily Cook is a 2007 University of Georgia Theater graduate, works in production for The Public Theater to produce plays off-Broadway as well as Shakespeare in the Park. The atmosphere “Is as close to Athens as you can get.”

Other UGA Alumni game watching locations include The Rock Shop at 249 4th Avenue in Brooklyn and, for a more relaxed family friendly atmosphere, McGee’s at 250 West 55th Street in New York.

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As close to Athens as you can get is the theme at American Whiskey.

Robbie York, 2005 graduate of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, is an American Whiskey partner. “The atmosphere is as close to Athens as we can recreate 1000 miles away. From Munson calls to a former Redcoat Band member playing the trumpet to a NYC Dawgs promo DVD that we make new every year, we try our best to make everyone feel at home.”

Johns credits the NYC game day experience for converting large numbers of the New York un-elect to Bulldogdom. “Because of how high quality our game viewing parties have been, the massive number of UGA fans in NYC that in no way went to UGA is pretty astounding. In my own immediate group of friends, there are ten Georgia fans who never miss a game at American Whiskey (and have traveled to see the Dawgs BOTH home and away). “

Georgia game viewing has changed over the last three decades, and Barbara Woods would know. “Quite a few years ago we had to “sign-up” to watch and sit at places that were like wedding or event places with white tablecloths. Fun because of the great Georgia fans, but not for the ambiance or if a Michigan game delayed our start and we had to wait in line outside in the rain.”

No matter how long I am gone I can walk on to campus and get that feeling of coming home.

Woods has been in New York since the days of Herschel Walker and assists in planning and arranging activities for the UGA Alumni Board in New York. She has also converted and adopted her share of Fans.

“Most of my friends cannot help but become a Dawg fan as well.  Many of them did not go to a school with a huge football program so they can’t help but get sucked into the fun and camaraderie,” York said. “We end up ‘adopting’ new Dawg fans into the fold, because of the energy, hospitality, and tradition of the people.”

Of course, the initial sight of an unabashed Bulldog can shock the uninitiated and inviting non-Dawgs to a game viewing provides its own special reward.

Katie Greene, 2008 graduate from the Grady College of Journalism and second generation Bulldog, described the reaction of many non-Dawgs. “One of my favorite things to do is bring a friend from New York to American Whiskey for a big game and watch their eyes grow wide when they see hundreds of people decked out in red and black, getting intense, cheering and barking on command.”

Matt Schiavone, an NYC Dawg for seven years and former New York City UGA Alumni Chapter President, has received his share of funny looks. “Calling the Dawgs in the subway with a bunch of other Georgia alums will definitely get you some glances.”

Of course, it’s New York, and spreading the Bulldog Gospel can be difficult. According to York, “ People in NYC think that college football is Notre Dame. And that’s it.”

Like Georgia fans anywhere, these Big Apple Dawgs have their Saturday rituals.

Woods refuses to wear a shirt or outfit that she wore for a losing game again. “But I have lots of red and black. I’ll wear those shirts for other events.”

For late games, Johns may have a nice tailgate in the backyard or in one of the beer gardens in Astoria. For early games, it’s may be a mimosa breakfast in Manhattan. “It is something of the calm before the storm where we discuss and put last week to bed before moving on to the business at hand that day.”

Greene puts on her red and black on Fridays and Saturdays. “For really big games, sometimes I’ll break out the Georgia “G” face sticker.”

That’s got to be a hit on the D Train.

All Georgia fan share many of the same special memories.

Johns remembers watching the Dawgs in Jacksonville beating the Gators in 2007. “Those days it seemed like we just could not get over the hump and beat Florida to take control of the east.”

Dec 8, 2013; New York, NY, USA; General view of the Empire State building before the NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Woods remembers watching Georgia games from the tracks.

We should all have an opportunity to watch and listen as she tells the story of game viewing from the train tracks to a New Yorker.

Johns was also fortunate to have a unique experience in Sanford Stadium. “I was at the memorial held for Larry Munson at Sanford Stadium, I have always been interested in sports broadcasting and journalism so Larry was a major idol of mine.”

It’s no surprise what Greene’s remembers. She played piccolo for four years and served as a rank leader for the Redcoat Band .

“I’ll never forget my first game as a Redcoat in Sanford Stadium. I wouldn’t give up my four years in Redcoats for anything. “

York’s favorite memory was one of his first Georgia games as a student, the 1999 LSU game in Sanford Stadium. “ It was a real fight, down to the wire. I was sitting in an electric student section when LSU decided to go for a 2-point conversion to win trailing 23-22 in the 4th quarter. After scrambling, the LSU QB threw to a wide-open receiver and at the last second, Will Weatherspoon jumped and blocked the pass.”

Cook’s favorite game, “hands down,” is the 2007 Blackout against Auburn. “I have never seen a stadium look as intense as Sanford looked with everyone in black or sound as loud as it did when the Dawgs ran out in black jerseys.”

While Bulldogs In the City that Never Sleeps get their “Bulldog fix” with game day activities, all New York Dawg people miss something about the Athens game day experience.

“There is nothing better than waking up in Athens, as a student, on game days,” said  Cook, “You can feel the excitement in the air and you know you’re in for an unforgettable day.”

Schiavone misses the tailgating. ” No question. Getting up early to get the grill going. Mingling with friends and family. You try and recreate the experience by other means elsewhere–but it’s just not the same.”

Tailgating is a common theme, but an Athens Football Saturday means something special to each Bulldog.

Said York, “I love the stories people bring to the table and the personal experiences they have from all walks of life. You end up making friendships that last a lifetime.”

As a former Redcoat, Georgia football was the air Greene breathed in the fall.

"Being in Redcoats you really became a part of the full game day experience. Waking up bright and early and putting on my uniform then 7:00 am Redcoat practice followed by shouts of ‘Go Redcoats!’ as I walked across campus. I played my heart out at the Dawg Walk because I knew it would help pump the players as they walked by.Marching and chanting into Sanford and feeling involved in every single play was followed by the indescribable high of winning and the pain and lessons learned after losing, and finally sharing in the moment with my family who would always drive from Lawrenceville to come and see me. It was a priceless experience."

“Oh man, I miss it all,” said Cook. “I miss walking around our gorgeous campus and knowing someone on every block, I miss being downtown on game days, I miss the Dawg walk and sitting in the student section, I miss going downtown to eat pizza at Little Italy’s after the games, I miss ringing the chapel bell!

Athens remains special place for these New Yorkers.

Johns summed up the sentiment. “No matter how long I am gone I can walk on to campus and get that feeling of coming home.”

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