SBD/January 31, 2014/Events and Attractions

Locals Have Yet To Catch Super Bowl Fever, Are Critical Of Boulevard Events

Super Bowl Boulevard crowds are forcing New Yorkers to deal with extra congestion
The theme at Super Bowl Boulevard in Manhattan is "fun," but for people that run local shops and sit "in the back seats of taxis inching along side streets," the theme "is misery," according to James Barron of the N.Y. TIMES. Local flower shop Owner Cliff Jacobs on Wednesday said, "It’s a disaster." That is "a refrain in Midtown Manhattan among the New Yorkers who were there last week and will be there next week, and see this as a disruption for the record books." Office workers "complain that the crowds on Super Bowl Boulevard clog the sidewalks, slowing the dash to the subway at the end of a long day." Some store clerks said that they are "seeing fewer customers and ringing up smaller tabs than in a normal week." The Super Bowl celebration "has many New Yorkers sounding crankier than usual as they cope with blocked-off streets and unexpected detours" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/31). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay wrote it would "be a stretch to say that New York City is bonkers about its Super Bowl experience, at least not yet." There is "a toboggan run in Times Square, turf and a field goal not far from that, and yet in much of the city, life continues at its familiar, harried, self-involved pace." But it is "the Super Bowl, and the Super Bowl proves irresistible." Come Sunday, "jaded New Yorkers will tune in to see the big bright game in their big bright town" (WSJ.com, 1/30). ESPN N.Y.'s Jane McManus wrote 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" (ESPNNY.com, 1/30).

WORTH THE EFFORT: In Philadelphia, Chris Hepp notes Super Bowl Boulevard was "two years in the making," and its launch on Wednesday "went off without a hitch, despite the bitter cold and critics who worried that such midtown madness might be a bit much, even for New York." Security was "tight but unobtrusive, a clutch of seemingly good-natured police officers always within a lateral pass in any direction." NFL VP/Events Mary Pat Augenthaler said of Super Bowl Boulevard, "The hardest thing was conceptualizing what you could do and not do on an outdoor street. Once we developed the big pieces, it was full speed ahead" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/31). In Hartford, Sara Grant noted the Macy's at Herald Square, at the end of the Boulevard, has had its fourth floor "turned into the largest NFL shop ever at a Super Bowl." The shop is "36,000 square feet of Super Bowl XLVIII gear including merchandise, N.Y./N.J. themed products, hats, photos, home goods and NFL clothing from all teams." The store is "separated into conferences, then down to men's, women's and children's gear." There also are "autograph signings" (COURANT.com, 1/30).

EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER: BUSINESS INSIDER's Tony Manfred wrote, "Unlike the locals in the majority of host cities, normal people living in New York haven't been inconvenienced at all by the Super Bowl." There are "no major traffic issues because everyone uses public transit, and the influx of riders is relatively small." There are "no hotel issues because there are more rooms than Super Bowl visitors" (BUSINESSINSIDER.com, 1/30). In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro writes the Super Bowl "will be better for having given New York and New Jersey a try," and N.Y. will be "better for having had the Big Game." Even New Yorkers "have to admit: This is pretty cool" (N.Y. POST, 1/31). Also in N.Y., Mike Lupica writes, "This should be New York’s real message to the National Football League this week and maybe the whole world, now that Super Bowl Week and the Super Bowl game have finally made their way here: You’re welcome" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/31).

ON THE WAITING LIST: USA TODAY's Will Leitch writes while there might be "an argument for perhaps cheering for a snow-free, even relatively warm Super Bowl experience," if a cold-weather city can host a Super Bowl and "have it run smoothly, it will bode well for other cold-weather cities that might like their own Super Bowls." If MetLife Stadium can "handle it, you can count on the following cities and stadiums making a big push" in the future: DC's FedExField, Seattle's CenturyLink Field, Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field and Denver's Sports Authority Field (USA TODAY, 1/31). ESPN.com's Adam Teicher wrote, "Let's bury the myth that the Super Bowl can't be played when there's a chance for severe weather. Most of all, let's start spreading the Super Bowl around to some cities who deserve the game based more on just the local weather or the location of a domed stadium." Play the game "in Denver, a great city with a great stadium." Teicher: "Kansas City? Definitely. The sightlines for the 70,000-plus seats combined with recent renovations make it one of the top venues in the league" (ESPN.com, 1/30). In Denver, Mark Kiszla asks, "How good would the Super Bowl look in Denver?" It "might not be the biggest city in America, but is there a better football town?" From "logistics to winter weather to the price for a cup of coffee, Colorado would beat New York as a host city for the Super Bowl on every count." Denver Mayor Michael Hancock: "If we get a chance to have the game, we'd knock it out of the park" (DENVER POST, 1/31).
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