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A New Yorker’s Guide to the Super Bowl

The Big Apple is finally hosting the big game. Okay, so that’s not entirely true (sorry, New Jersey). Nevertheless, when it comes to all of the Super Bowl festivities, Manhattan is where it’s at. We realize that this isn’t exactly what you’d call news, but with so much going on—and so many options to choose from—identifying the can’t-miss events is like trying to spot double coverage 20 yards downfield while a 240-pound linebacker is barreling down on you.

With that in mind, we’ve gathered the necessary intel to ensure that you’re ready to tackle the weeklong extravaganza harder than J.J. Watt. No matter how you choose to experience the Super Bowl this year, the city is teeming with ways for you to celebrate it in style.

The Trick Play – Times Square

As a New Yorker, you no doubt avoid Times Square as much as possible. We get it, and we don’t blame you. But you’ll want to stop by the tourist center of the city this weekend, because Times Square has been transformed into Super Bowl Boulevard—a 13-block stretch (between 34th and 47th Streets on Broadway) with a variety of football and Super Bowl activities. Want to catch a glimpse of the Lombardi Trophy up close?  Maybe take in a live recording of ESPN or the NFL Network? This is the place to do it.  

Play-Action Pass – The Hudson Hotel

No big sporting event would be complete without some championship-caliber tailgating. To satisfy that need, the Hudson Hotel has transformed its lobby into the city’s premier tailgating spot, complete with your typical array of tailgating activities.

Old-School Football – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you need a break from the raucous party scene, head over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and take in Gridiron Greats, a special exhibition of vintage football trading cards and photographs. Standouts include a series of collegiate cards that go as far back as 1894, as well as a Johnny Unitas card from 1959. Action photographs of varsity teams from the early 20th century will also be on view. The exhibition will remain on display for a week following the Super Bowl.  

Halftime Show – The Apollo Theater

As is customary over Super Bowl weekend, many special concerts will be held throughout the city, including performances from the Foo Fighters, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Drake. However, if you’re looking for a more subdued musical scene, head over to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where the Manhattan School of Music Swing Jazz Orchestra and the Mingus Quartet will pay tribute to Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. This special performance, titled “Let’s Swing Uptown,” takes place tonight at 6:00, with tickets ranging from $55 to $105.   

West Coast Offense – Pier 40/Hudson River Park

The annual DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl is back and this year features NFL Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Deion Sanders, and Warren Moon, as well as retired players LaDainian Tomlinson, Tony Gonzalez, and others. It’s true that the celebrity-filled flag-football game is played on an artificial beach field, which sounds out of place for Hudson River Park in February. Fortunately, a heated tent will make Manhattan feel a bit more like Miami.

Tasting Victory – Brooklyn Cruise Terminal/Pier 12

If you’re looking for common ground between your foodie friends and your fellow football fanatics, head over to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal for the 23rd annual Taste of the NFL. More than three dozen food stations will be set up for the perusing, each one staffed by a renowned chef and an NFL player (either past or present). Live and silent auctions, complete with sports-related experience packages and tropical getaways, round out the event.