Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl Boulevard 2014

Note: This blog entry is intended for editorial purposes only. All photos are copyrighted by Marcia Crayton and are not intended to advertise nor to violate the registered trademarks of the NFL, ESPN, Fox, Macy's or GMC. 

New York City
Super Bowl XLVIII Boulevard 2014

Like thousands of other fans, I was unable to stroll along Super Bowl Boulevard in New York City until the last day, the Saturday before the game. Fortunately, I got there early to stroll the first 5 blocks without too much traffic (or last 5, depending on which subway stop  you got off at). It was when I decided to get lunch that I ran into trouble. Within 30 minutes, it was jam-packed.

Part of the trouble was that, surprisingly, Broadway was not completely blocked off. Vehicular traffic was allowed to flow normally, forcing the crowds to the sidewalks. Now, for those of you who may not know, part of Broadway (basically from West 34th to West 42 Street, or so) has already been designated as pedestrian, with one lane rather than two or three for cars and extended areas for folks to walk, sight-see, shop, eat and relax year round. The area, or much of it, is completely shut down for events like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or New Year's Eve. Why not this time? Closing off that stretch of Broadway even for part of the time, say 11AM - 6PM would have helped with the walking traffic, not to mention the safety of the toddlers in and out of strollers.

Super Bowl Blvd. extended from West 47th Street to West 34th Street (or vice versa, particularly if you came by way of Brooklyn, New Jersey or the Long Island Railroad). I can understand allowing traffic to flow through the 3 week days (Wednesday to Friday). But not putting the area into "street fair" mode seemed not a good idea. Our city prides itself on handling large projects. We study other locales, as per statements made by officials at news conferences when new projects or events are announced, such as the new bicycle renting program, the expansion of pedestrian plazas, increasing traffic violation cameras, etc. We then try to implement and organize events to fit NYC. Somehow, this one slipped by us.

OK, venting over. The mood, though extremely crowded, was joyous and pure fun. New Yorkers welcomed the out-of-towners (and we, in turn, were welcomed into town also by workers of the event!). You were issued a backstage pass that you could either register at the information booth or through your phone (it turns out that it was not necessary at all). When you visited each exhibit, you touched your badge to the target and you could track  your trek through the boulevard. You were supposed to receive a text or email (depending on the info you entered) for each hit, but it must have gotten backed up in cyberspace because two of my emails came through the next day, ironically during the Super Bowl itself. Again, I don't think the number of people was anticipated.

My backstage pass

There were many activities but lines became very long. So, I must confess that I saw the Vince Lombardi trophy from the outside, directly behind it. I passed through the two candy exhibits and declined a picture with the chocolate characters. And, I did not take pictures on the displays that would have made me look like a football player (long lines).

The Vince Lombardi Trophy

But I did do the Tobaggan Run. Although the event was basically free (including the badge), tickets for the tobaggan were sold out. Wisely, they sold them with times listed. A gentleman must have changed his mind because he handed my sister two free tickets and the next thing I knew, my niece and I were on our way. It was really a slide on a mat, but it was high up and long enough (60 feet worth) to be impressive for a non-amusement park attraction and lots of fun. Whee!!!!

Tobaggan Run
I also managed to get a snapshot of the Roman Numerals:

I missed the concert that night (the party lasted until 11PM) and I can imagine the crowd might have changed from the families with smaller children to older teens and folks on dates. Here were the other events:

  • NFL Rush Zone and NFL Play 60, for children ages 6 to 13
  • The animated series "NFL Rush Zone."
  • Super Bowl virtual theater: 10-minute video celebrating football on the facade of Macy's 
  • Autographs with current and former NFL stars
  • Concert 
 I ended my day in Macy's, where I admit, I fell for the hype and bought a T-Shirt. Macy's did a nice job, with mannequins of the entire NFL on display and displays of genuine jerseys. I'm old, so I was impressed by Broadway Joe Namath's jersey:

Namath's Jersey
So, despite the fact that NYC and the NFL could not get together to get the street closed during the busy time, it was quite a party, a well-behaved crowd and above all, as many of us locals were saying, a lot of fun. Just being in the area was great. Not bad for someone who is not actually a big football fan!!!