NEW YORK -- There’s traffic in Midtown this week, and not just vehicular. Standing and gawking got more prevalent in New York City now that Super Bowl Boulevard is up and running, with everything from the Lombardi Trophy to the giant toboggan in Times Square. The NFL’s fan experience this year is outdoors on a stretch of Broadway that runs from 34th St. to 47th.
On Wednesday after the event opened to the public at noon, the huddled masses, many wearing team logos or, in one Broncos fan’s case, an orange feather boa and plastic Bronco hat, shivered from one exhibit to the next.
Sam Logios took her two daughters out of school early and brought them to see the Lombardi Trophy. Eva, 11, wore a Jets cap and said her favorite thing along the way was seeing all the football fans in one place. “It’s exciting to see the NFL in Manhattan,” she said. “You feel like you’re part of the Super Bowl event, but we can be home and warm and not have to spend all that money.”
Jerry Seinfeld joins Mike & Mike at ESPN's Super Bowl studio in Herald Square.
And that’s the idea, making the NFL accessible to fans who may not attend the game. The streets are closed to traffic, but the foot traffic in the area is even worse than the usual crawl in Times Square.
This event was initially slated to be in New Jersey given the space it generally takes up. Usually it’s in a convention center or similarly large spot, but the Jacob Javits Center was booked by the time the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Committee made its initial bid to host the game.
Tickets for the toboggan are $5 but everything else is free. Matt Forte signed autographs on a constructed stage in the middle of the street, and fans could jump into various sponsored exhibits as well. Super Bowl Boulevard is open through Feb. 2.
For average New Yorkers, this may be as annoying as a flock of street fairs on a summer’s day. Broadway is closed to traffic for 14 blocks -- making the Super Bowl an impediment more than anything else.
As one of my roller derby teammates told me, and I’ll paraphrase, the Super Bowl would be a big deal in any other town.