Farmingdale braces for Barclays tournament

Croxley Ales in the Village of Farmingdale displays

Croxley Ales in the Village of Farmingdale displays signs welcoming Barclay players during the Barclays golf tournament being held at the Bethpage golf course. (Aug. 22, 2012) (Credit: Steven Pfost)

A Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce sign greeted the hordes of golf fans streaming off each Long Island Rail Road train that pulled into the village's station Wednesday.

It encouraged visitors to "eat, drink, shop" in Farmingdale's downtown as part of the experience of watching Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and their peers in The Barclays tournament at nearby Bethpage State Park.

The potential payoff is considerable: about 35,000 spectators are expected daily for the four days of competition beginning Thursday, according to Nassau County projections, and many will come by train and then take a shuttle to the course.

"It'll be good for the town and good for business," said cabdriver Daniel Maldonado, 52, of Lindenhurst.

Local businesses said they are bracing for the crowds -- for better (as in the case of restaurants and bars) or for worse (for shops that said traffic would drive away regular customers).

"We're prepared," said Bonnie Day, manager of Cascarino's pizzeria on Main Street. "We've got an overstock [of ingredients] for our specialty pies."

Day, of Hicksville, said the business has been fielding delivery orders from tournament employees all week and expects hungry spectators this weekend.

She plans a Barclays-themed offering for the menu, "maybe mini rice balls made to look like golf balls."

Joe Tonelli, owner of nearby Bollinger's restaurant, has already settled on a special recipe: "Hollandaise golf ball shrimp. When I butterfly the shrimp, I can make it look like a golf ball."

Tonelli, 55, of Massapequa, said business improved by 10 or 15 percent in 2009 when the second of two U.S. Open tournaments came to Bethpage.

He said he has increased staffing and stocked up on ice cream and burger ingredients in anticipation.

Croxley Ales bar on Main Street will add two to three staffers to both the day and night shifts, something it neglected to do during the U.S. Open when "we were very busy," said co-manager Jessica Geremina, 30, of West Babylon.

Farmingdale Village officials said they kept no statistics on revenue generated by the U.S. Open tournaments and did not have projections for The Barclays.

They do, however, plan to close Main Street to vehicle traffic Friday to create a pedestrian mall for a car show and to promote local businesses. An additional 1,000 visitors came to each of the summer's two previous such events, officials said.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has said The Barclays could generate more than $34 million in new spending in the county.

But not everyone on Main Street is expecting boom times, citing traffic, road closures and a lack of parking for regular customers. "People don't want to come into town. It's horrible for us," said Melissa Dorsainvil, 24, of Farmingdale, an employee at True Value.

"This week, I'm just doing one of these," she added, crossing her fingers tightly.

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