Super Bowl Fever Hits New York… Hardly Anyone Notices
Baby its cold outside. Though many Northeastern and Midwestern cities regularly deal with brutal winters, New Yorkers are fairly used to snow and frigid temps as well. But this is the winter that we were all introduced to the term “polar vortex,” which seemed borne out of the Ice Age doomsday film The Day After Tomorrow. Anyway, after temps yo-yoed from high-60s to low-teens in December they have finally settled around the single digit mark with wind chills running into the negatives. Yeah, it’s freezing here, and that seems to be all anyone wants to talk about. Local newscasts have pretty much been devoting 75% of their broadcasts to the subject. I personally don’t care, and still wear shorts when I take my kid to school each morning earning the nickname “the guy that doesn’t wear pants,” which I love. So rather than being preoccupied about the Super Bowl, people here are preoccupied about the weather. About the only overlap you’ll hear is when someone says, “I hope they have to play that game in a blizzard,” which we’re all not-so-secretly hoping for.
Hype? What hype? My brother-in-law and his family flew up from Orlando for a visit for the MLK Jr. weekend and one of the first things he asked was, “so are they doing anything special in the city for the Super Bowl?” I told him that I was sure that they were but that no one really gave a damn. He commented that the only signs he’d seen that the Super Bowl was about to be played were some oh-so-subtle stickers on the bottom of the luggage carousels at LaGuardia Airport -- the kind of advertising that only roaches and rats could spot. I personally saw only one mention on the news about some department store (Macy’s maybe?) devoting an entire floor to Super Bowl products and memorabilia. But, that’s been about it. I just checked and it looks like there is a bunch of SB-themed events happening in and around the city. There’s a food festival near Madison Square Garden (a place where folks lose-their-lunch nightly watching the Knicks) for a mere 400 bucks. There’s also a Super Bowl Block Party in Times Square starting this Wednesday. To be clear, real New Yorkers avoid Times Square like the plague. The people you see freezing there on New Year’s Eve are pale-faced zombies from parts unknown. In any event, there’s stuff happening but the locals don’t really know about any of it.
New York F***ing City! Down around Chinatown you can’t walk more than a block without seeing a baseball cap or t-shirt for sale with the phrase “New York F***ing City!” on it. No one really buys these things (although I did around 20 years when I was really plastered) but the crude phrase does make a point. This is New York City and there is no shortage of human drama and exciting things to do on a daily basis to drop everything and spend two weeks paying full attention to a football game not featuring a local team. If the NFL wants that kind of fawning they should keep the game in cities like Jacksonville and Indianapolis (no offense). New Orleans works so well because people in the Big Easy are always up for a party, no matter the occasion, and events such as the Super Bowl can seamlessly slide into that atmosphere with everyone being happy. Same goes for Miami. Bottom line, there is so much happening in New York that people can’t be bothered to pay complete attention to a game like the Super Bowl. It’s great, yes, but so are the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty and the Guggenheim, and most native New Yorkers don’t pay those classic landmarks much mind. We love that they are here but they kind of get gobbled up by the city itself, and the same goes for the Super Bowl. It’s the biggest sporting event around but not as big as New York. It’s part of the landscape this week but by February 3rd it will have moved on like a luxury liner chugging out of New York harbor towards the Atlantic.
So, there you have it, the Super Bowl is almost here and it will hopefully be a great game. But, like pretty much the rest of the world, most New Yorkers will be watching the game from the comfort of their cramped, over-priced apartments.