Thursday, January 23, 2014
10 Days: SBNY, under construction
By Jane McManus
The invasion of Times Square has already begun.
Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 10 days until the Super Bowl.
NEW YORK -- For the better part of a year, Lonny Sweet has been walking by the corner of Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street and planning the space across from Penn Station that, in less than a week, will become the 50 Yard Lounge and The New York Jets House.
On Thursday, the poles that will hold up a large tent in the spaces between Lugo Caffe and Local Cafe were being driven into place. By Sunday, Sweet and his team will begin changing the existing spaces into one contiguous lounge and food area for football fans during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.
“It’s really just starting to come together,” Sweet said. “I’ve been bringing people by this site for the last seven months and to see it come together is pretty magical.”
They've brought in the heavy equipment to set up Super Bowl Boulevard.
But that doesn’t mean it’s gone smoothly. Tuesday’s foot of snow and the cold snap affected the pace of construction.
“These guys are pros,” Sweet said. “If we have a snowstorm they’re going to deal with it, but it doesn’t make it easy.”
The trucks, which had been scheduled to arrive Tuesday night, were delayed a day, and Sweet has moved heaters outdoors to keep his crew warmer.
All over midtown, Super Bowl-related projects are coming into place. Along Broadway in the 30's, where Super Bowl Boulevard will open next week, trucks have moved into place with their Super Bowl Boulevard parking passes on display.
FOX has built a studio in front of the TKTS booth in Times Square. The structure that will become the Bud Light Hotel concert venue is being constructed near Pier 88 on the West Side of Manhattan, and the Taste of the NFL is working on the space along the Brooklyn waterfront that will become the annual Saturday night gala.
It takes months of planning to produce the events and spaces that will exist in New York City and New Jersey for just one week.
The 50 Yard Lounge is selling daily tickets for access to the Penn Station space, which will have former NFL players, celebrity chefs and media personalities mingling with guests. The $400 price tag includes all food and drink, with a choice of Jim Beam cocktails and 36 different lines of draft beer. Local musicians are also slated to perform at nights, when the venue transitions into a party space.
In an adjacent space, the Jets are transforming Lugo Caffe into Jets House, a place for Jets season ticket-holders and sponsors starting Wednesday Jan. 29. While the 50 Yard Lounge is geared to football fans, Jets House is all about the Jets, players and fans.