NEW YORK, N.Y. -- “The city that never sleeps” was kept awake by a bunch of dogs on Saturday night.
Former Browns Eric Metcalf and Hanford Dixon joined the Browns Backers of New York City for a Backer Bash at Manny’s on Second on the Upper East Side Saturday night.
“This is excellent,” said Kimberly Cozzens, president of the Browns Backers of New York City. “I’ve been president since ’99 and we’ve never had this kind of event with the Browns and the players. We’ve never done this before, so, we’re thrilled. We couldn’t be more excited.
“For me, the Browns are family and friends getting together. When I was a kid, my dad and his friends, it was a social thing, even it was just a couple of pizzas at my neighbor’s house. For me being in New York, it just feels like home. We’re everywhere, but to have it in New York and have it this big is fabulous.”
On Saturday night, many of the nearly 200 Browns Backers members in the New York City club packed inside Manny’s to watch the college football games on the walls of the restaurant, greet the Browns’ alumni and talk about Sunday’s game.
“There were three when I started in ’99 until we found each other,” Cozzens said. “We were here; we just had to find each other. One of the things I love about our club is the look on the faces of people coming in and realizing that they’re at home. Normally, we’re upstairs and you walk in and there’s 200 Browns fans.
“Short of being at the stadium in Cleveland, there’s no better party, so it means everything because it’s a little bit of home. Everybody has a family connection. There’s something that connects. It’s more than a game for a lot of us, so we get that feeling of Ohio in the middle of Manhattan.”
According to Cozzens, a native of Columbus, there will be a strong contingent of Browns fans inside MetLife Stadium for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.
“We’ve been looking at the schedule and we were like, ‘They’re coming,’” Cozzens said. “We’ve been carrying on about this since before the last season ended when we knew it was an away game for them. We’ve been jumping up and down since then. We are just very excited.”
Saturday’s Backer Bash served as a tailgate party for the game and also, a fundraiser for City Harvest, an organization that helps feed the hungry in New York City.
According to City Harvest’s website, their organization serves more than one million New Yorkers annually. In 2012, City Harvest will collect 42 million pounds of food from various corporations, restaurants and farms and redistribute it to the hungry of New York.
“It’s very important to everyone,” Michele DeScioli, manager of Browns Backers Worldwide, said of the fundraiser. “City Harvest is their charity where they’re raising money for the hungry in New York City and having alumni here just makes it even better. I think they’re as excited as we are to see how much money we raised.”