NEW YORK—Super Bowl fans have finally arrived. Anticipating the swell of humanity, workers had partitioned off a Midtown stretch of Broadway days before—some locals had no idea why. But when the clock struck noon on Wednesday, Super Bowl Boulevard was already filled with as many fans donning Jets and Giants items as those in Seahawks or Broncos memorabilia.
“We tried to get to the Vincent Lombardi trophy but the line is like two and a half hours long,” said Aneesha Powell, who lives five minutes from the MetLife Stadium where the game will be held in New Jersey.
Like many others on Broadway, Powell will be watching the game from home but was excited about events in New York.
Jennifer Roach from Brooklyn was on the boulevard Wednesday to take pictures and came back for more pregame events with her football hat and Giants-branded clothing Thursday. Some of the lines were too long for her, but “we live in New York. We can just come back tomorrow for that,” Roach said.
Every block from 34th to 47th streets on Broadway hosts a different attraction from concerts and autograph sessions every night 8 p.m.–10 p.m. between 39th and 40th streets to the 60-feet high Toboggan Run with lines that fill up soon after opening.
According to many event staffers, the boulevard was packed soon after the opening at noon the first day and stayed crowded during the sunny hours. Thursday was no different.
Cross streets from 42nd to 47th streets remain open to traffic, where cars pass by, slowly, between crowds of pedestrians.
On the sidewalks, traffic moves just as slowly. Two such New Yorkers were stranded on the sidewalk just a few feet from their office building, where pedestrian traffic had come to a standstill for minutes because of the crowd of fans. “This is unbelievable,” one commented. “We’re right outside the building.”
Players signing autographs or giving interviews with ESPN came and went throughout the day, and Felicia Duquette from Virginia said she had exclaimed loudly “You’re one of them!” on such an encounter.
“I’m not going to the game, we’re just here for the junk,” Duquette said laughing. She said she’ll be watching from her relative’s house in New Jersey but is here for the week of events.
Many of the fans attending the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII game Sunday in New Jersey plan to make the most of the trip by making the most of New York.
“We’re excited about New York City and we’re excited about Super Bowl,” said Gilbert Rodriguez, who flew in from outside Colorado Springs with his wife Elena. Gilbert has been a fan of the Denver Broncos since he was 5 years old, for 39 years and counting, and the couple has had season tickets for 18 years.
The Rodriguezes spent about $16,000 on the trip entirely. Gilbert said he’d paid over face value for his tickets and wasn’t too happy about that, but they were determined the trip would be worth it.
“We know they’re going to win,” Elena said of the Broncos.
Keenan Sanders has been a fan of the Seattle Seahawks her whole life, and couldn’t be happier to support her team by attending her first Super Bowl game—and making her first trip to New York.
“We really need to win one,” Sanders said.
Neither the Super Bowl nor the city was new for Kelly King, who said he was excited not just for the game but “to see everything we can in New York that we can.”
King, who said he’s been a Seahawks fan since the 1970s, flew into the city last night and the first thing he did was to see “The Lion King” on Broadway.