Super Bowl Boulevard Takes Over Times Square! Is it Worth a Visit?
You've probably already heard plenty about Super Bowl Boulevard, the half-mile-long (or so) stretch of Broadway between Herald and Times Squares that the city has closed off to cars and filled with every sort of heavily-sponsored NFL-related activities you can imagine. The idea, of course, is to give the tourists and ticket-holders something to do in the days preceding the big game, as well as providing a backdrop for the crush of media folks.
Question is: should you, New Yorkers with varying degrees of interest in the Broncos and Seahawks, brave the inevitable crowds of Super Bowl Boulevard to check out the scene? After a freezing afternoon spent wandering the avenue, I'd give it a qualified "YES!"
Football Games and The Toboggan Run
There are certainly fun things to do on Super Bowl Boulevard, and it's all extremely family-oriented. The Toboggan Run is getting the most air time, because it's definitely cool to see a six-story, 180-foot-long slide plopped down in the middle of Broadway, and everyone shrieks and raises their arms as they slide down the eight lanes. It costs $5 to ride, lasts a few seconds, and if the line looked prohibitively long for me on a Wednesday afternoon, you can imagine what it will be like tomorrow. Other physical activities include games of skill like football toss, obstacle course races, and field goal kicking, and these are all free. Again, though, you won't be the only ones waiting to play.
NFL Players Autograph Signings and Photos
For hardcore football fans there are free autograph signings and photo ops with NFL players, and the Super Bowl's Vince Lombardi Trophy is on display. Several tents involve getting your picture taken in front of green screens, so it looks like your diving for a pass, or bursting onto the field, or, uh, standing next to "Yellow" the M&M. There are concerts each night (tomorrow is Blondie), an Xbox One tent with video games galore, and lots of free food handed out by Super Bowl sponsors like Papa Johns, Snickers, and McDonalds.
#PepCity Free Gourmet Food
Speaking of free food, over in Bryant Park, Pepsi has set up a dome, called #PepCity, inside of which some legitimately excellent NYC chefs like Mike Psilakis, David Burke, and Khe-Yo's Marc Forgione have concocted surprisingly tasty snacks using PepsiCo products. And it's all free! For example: Mountain Dew Bacon Tacos, Cherry Pepsi Barbecue Wings, and Cool Ranch Doritos Gravlax. I had everything here–about 10 dishes in all–and liked each one much more than I expected, this being just a prelude to all the take-out food I'll be ordering for the Big Game on Sunday. Plus #PepCity also has concerts and dance performances! (Go early to avoid the line.)
More Information: Super Bowl Boulevard
The Super Bowl Boulevard festivities run from 12:00 noon until 10:00 p.m. through Saturday, February 2. The food part of #PepCity will be open on Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and there's a concert that night (RSVP online for your free ticket) starting at 8:00! If you're not a fan of football, crowds, and waiting in lines, you may want to stick with some of these Super Bowl alternatives and things to do in NYC this weekend!