Sunday, February 2, 2014
Ground zero: A quiet spot amid Super Bowl revelry
NEW YORK -- Amid the revelry of Super Bowl week, there is at least one spot in New York that remains quiet and reflective.
Thousands of football fans trekked to lower Manhattan to visit a memorial to the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, which includes two cascading fountains in the footprint of the former World Trade Center towers.
On Saturday, with sunny skies and the warmest temperatures of the week, a long line of mostly Denver and Seattle fans toured the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The same folks who had been partying in Times Square heeded the requests to pay proper respect to nearly 3,000 victims, whose names are engraved along the outer edge of the fountains.
People decked out in Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman jerseys posed for pictures in front of the fountains. Others rubbed their fingers softly across all those names, some shaking their heads as they tried to comprehend the magnitude of the human loss. A few visitors peered through windows of the museum, which is still under construction and scheduled to open this spring.
The hushed voices and muffled sounds of the surrounding city were only broken when a man suddenly broke into a rousing rendition of the national anthem right in the middle of the plaza. A crowd gathered around, and cheered loudly after he ripped off the closing lines.
Then, just like that, it turned peaceful again.
Nearly everyone seemed moved by what they had seen.
"That was really powerful," a Seahawks fans said on her way to the exit.
Once in the gift shop, people returned to the prevailing mood for the week.
"Omaha! Omaha!" a Broncos fan screamed out, mimicking Manning's now-famous audible call at the line of scrimmage.
Just like that, it was back to football.
PARTY REPORT: Of course, it wouldn't be a Super Bowl without some super parties.
The Big Apple certainly delivered in that department.
Beats by Dre, the headphone company, held two events with completely different vibes. The weekend began at the intimate Graff Diamonds jewelry store, where Serena Williams, Anthony Mackie, Jerry Stackhouse, Jermaine Dupri and others grooved to a performance by British singer Estelle. They also admired custom-made white headphones encrusted with 1,400 diamonds worth an estimated $1 million -- kept safely behind glass, of course.
There was a more raucous crowd when the party moved to the club Marquee, where LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick and Victor Cruz were among the revelers. Rick Ross performed his hits before Kendrick Lamar got on the mic for a bonus performance.
Lamar was all over the place, it seemed, also performing at ESPN's bash on Pier 36 along with Robin Thicke. Lamar worked from one side of the stage to the other, rapping hits such as "Don't Kill My Vibe" and "Poetic Justice." Thicke's wide-ranging show included everything from his blockbuster "Blurred Lines" to a cover of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You."
There were plenty of celebrities in the crowd, including Spike Lee, Tim Tebow, Ice-T and Lindsey Vonn -- complete with crutches as she recovers from a knee injury that will prevent her from competing at the Sochi Olympics.
Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Marc Anthony entertained a crowd that paid $2,500 a person to get into Cipriani's 42nd Street for an event sponsored by Shape and Men's Fitness magazines.
Legend said he never thought he'd see the day a Super Bowl came to New York City. Then he corrected himself: "More accurately, New Jersey."
With that, Legend launched into a song by one of New Jersey's favorite sons, Bruce Springsteen.
"Dancing in the Dark."
A perfect song for this night.
BOOBIRDS FOR CHRISTIE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie must've felt like a Super Bowl kicker who missed a big kick.
Or, more accurately, a politician mired in scandal.
Christie was greeted with a scattering of boos during a ceremony in Times Square handing off the big game to next year's hosts in Glendale, Ariz. Leaders of the New York-New Jersey organizing committee gave a platter to their Arizona counterparts.
Christie has been under fire after his top aides orchestrated a traffic mess on the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey, apparently in retribution against a political opponent. He has denied any knowledge and didn't seem affected by the crowd's response, which also included some cheers.
AND NOW, FOR THE WEATHER: Remember all those worries about playing the NFL's biggest game outdoors in a cold-weather city?
Turns out, this likely won't even be the coldest Super Bowl.
Forecasters were calling for a high of 49 degrees on Sunday, with the evening low only expected to dip to 32 degrees (and that will surely be after the game is over).
At the 1972 Super Bowl in New Orleans, the temperature was a reported 34 degrees with a wind chill of 24. It now seems highly unlikely to get that cold at MetLife Stadium, though the chance of evening precipitation was picking up.
There was a 50 percent shot of rain or snow flurries.
Associated Press writers Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Mesfin Fekadu and Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.
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