Are You Fan Enough for Super Bowl XLVIII?
Snow predictions aside, February 2nd is set to mark the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl, and will take place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. To quote one very proud president of the Super Bowl Host Committee, Alfred Kelly: “It’s sort of about time it was played here.” Besides putting on the Big Game, New York and New Jersey will throw larger-than-life charitable fundraisers and shiny celebrity bashes like only the two neighbor states can—in a flourish of grand celebration. So get your game face on (and that woolen balaclava handy) for what may be the coolest game ever in the sport’s esteemed history.
A sampling of events surrounding Super Sunday follows for football devotees. Many are star-studded, some free, but the roster of NFL-sanctioned fetes is poised to honor fans, as well as local communities and venues from Bryant Park to Bergen County.
• Now through March 2nd
Liberty Science Center, Jersey City
Combining sports, history, and culture interactively, this exhibition dimensionalizes American football with rare artifacts and chances to meet NFL alumni. A separate presentation gives a hero’s tribute to the hometown Giants and Jets.
• January 29th, 30th, and February 1st
Bryant Park, 42nd Street at Sixth Avenue
As a giant thank you gift to NYC, long-time NFL sponsor PepsiCo is throwing a free, three-day soiree they’re calling #PEPCITY. Taking place daily from 2–6:30 p.m. under a massive, constructed dome, numerous stages will hold a slew of diverse performances in the course of the event. The innovative food and beverage company will integrate its many iconic brands in complimentary tastes of artisanal fare created by celebrity chefs and served at stations throughout the dome. All that is the essence of New York—from Broadway, art, sports, and culturally themed displays—will be incorporated into multi-dimensional presentations. Then, each evening at 8 p.m., a free concert (tickets required) will showcase talent leading off with MTV Video Music awardee, Austin Mahone; Billboard Latin music chart topper, Prince Royce; and on the final night five-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Ziggy Marley will perform live. Click here for details and more information regarding #PEPCITY.
• January 29th–February 1st
Broadway from 34th to 47th Streets
Snap a selfie with the Vince Lombardi Trophy or stand before 20-foot-high illuminated XLVIII Roman numerals for a coveted photo opp. Join a 180-foot-long toboggan run ($5 a ride donation to MillionTreesNYC), kick a field goal through NFL uprights, and get free NFL player autographs. Along the Pepsi/Tostitos-sponsored 37–38th street stretch of the boulevard event, experience the magic moment NFL players have as they enter the field on Game Day, run through a stadium tunnel, jump onto the field, and show your team admiration by participating in the filming of an “Are You Fan Enough” video. Broadway’s 13-block interactive fan event is taking place for four consecutive days from noon to 10 p.m.
• January 29th–February 2nd
One Penn Plaza
Touting itself to be among the premier hospitality destinations during Super Bowl week, the private event is treating guests to a rolling schedule of cuisine hailing from some of the city’s best restaurants as it highlights New York’s ethnic diversity, and is providing meet-and-greet opps with pigskin legends. In addition, there’ll be chances to hear live music, all within steps from Madison Square Garden, Penn Station, and Super Bowl Boulevard. Single and multi-day passes range from $400–$2,200, are all-inclusive of food, beverages, events, and will allow guests in-and-out privileges from morning till night.
• January 30th
Gerald W. Lynch Theater at Manhattan’s John Jay College
Students interested in sports careers will learn from industry experts about how they can make a living in football. Topics will include career opportunities outside of being a professional athlete.
• January 31st
With many local communities still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, national nonprofit Rebuilding Together, Lowe’s, and 200 volunteers have been actively repairing homes in the area. This time, charitable efforts will result in a new playground being built with the help of Carter’s Kids, dedicated to promoting fitness awareness and self-esteem for America’s youth.
The Theater at Madison Square Garden
The NFL Players Choir and Grammy-winning artists like Patti LaBelle and a multicultural choir representing the region are on tap to entertain at this uplifting annual event. Tickets range from $45–$150.
• February 1st
Soccer Coliseum at the Teaneck National Guard Armory
Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie and hip-hop artist Nelly lead opposing teams in this exhibition match-up. Tickets start at $100 and proceeds benefit military families.
Chelsea Piers, West Side Highway
Amateur bowlers team up at Pier 60 with NFL players, members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the Wounded Warriors Project in a handicap tournament. For $750 a ticket, each bowler receives limited-edition Super Bowl commemoratives and, along with spectators (admission $200), access to a “NY/NJ Neighborhood of Foods” buffet and auction.
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Foodie alert: Donning a Flavors of Brooklyn-themed toque, celebrity chefs from every NFL city will serve up regional delicacies in the sprawling 180,000-square-foot Pier 12 alongside current or former members of their respective teams. In what may be the biggest fundraiser in its 23-year history, ticket proceeds ($700 each) will benefit food banks across the U.S. including the local Food Bank for NYC, Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, and Community Food Bank of New Jersey, and affords guests a yacht cruise and special access to a private party with chefs and NFL veterans.
• February 2nd – Super Bowl Sunday
City College of New York’s Shepard Hall
Before the big game and tailgate noshing begins, Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks and Celebrity Sweat’s “Eric the Trainer” lead fans in a morning fitness workout from 9 a.m. till noon. You must be pre-registered and early arrival to this free event is recommended.
Midtown’s Edison Ballroom
Revered Super Bowl champs Joe Montana and Dwight Clark will share pre-game analysis with attendees at 4 p.m. (event till midnight) and be joined by Sean Landeta and Howard Cross. There will be 20 TVs to watch the game, an open bar, and food stations presided over by Chef Mina Newman. A memorabilia silent auction along with a portion of the $300 a ticket admission sales will benefit Autism Speaks.