Making a buck on Super Bowl Boulevard

Hundreds of temporary workers and independent vendors swarmed on the 13-block stretch of Broadway, dubbed Super Bowl Boulevard this week with one purpose: to make money.

Lamar Smith, equipped with warm clothes and a backpack, sold Super Bowl tee shirts on Broadway for $10 a pop. Many passers-by thought the shirts were free because nearby a New Era hat company gave out complimentary ice cream from a truck instructing fans to “embrace the cold,” but Smith still went through about four dozen tees in two hours.

“You make money, you know? There’s enough people out here,” he said.

Smith, 44, has been selling tees at different events around the country since 1996.

“I mostly sell shirts, I stick to what I know,” Smith said.

“Sometimes when you change things you mess it up,” said Smith who is originally from Brooklyn and currently lives in Yonkers.

He estimated that he gets to more than a hundred events each year and travels 4 to 5 times a month. He’s studying graphic design and recently bought an industrial screen printing machine to make his own designs for shirts to sell at events as well to schools and businesses.

“I’m going to take it to a whole other level,” Smith said.

Lucy Z, a 26-year-old Chinese student at New York University, was one of about a dozen costumed characters roaming Super Bowl Boulevard – also known as Broadway between about 34th and 43rd streets. Her pig costume, a mascot version of an animal that symbolizes wealth and luck in China, stood out from the surplus of Sesame Street Elmos and Disney characters. She is working the next three days to make some extra money and was hired by American Da Tang Group, “a real estate group targeting Chinese clients,” she said, and using the occasion to promote Chinese New Year and Chinese culture by distributing wristbands featuring the company’s information.


One man, who’d made about $400 in seven hours, selling Super Bowl posters for $5 was arrested at the corner of 7th Avenue and 40th Street for unapproved use and sale of NFL and Super Bowl logos.

A couple of blocks away, at Broadway and 42nd Street, two men, with a vending license, sold the Super Bowl’s official program, a coveted and exclusive vending gig, at $15 each.  The two men have known each other for 20 years and in typical times sell things like suits, jewelry and women’s coats on the street.

A military veteran and former member of the Marine Corp., Hosea Johnson, 50, of Bushwick, who has been in the business for 20 years, hopes that working the Super Bowl festivities will bring in a lot of money.

On Wednesday, it was too early to tell how well sales were going, said Johnson’s long time friend, Army veteran Jean Coeroli, 45.  Coeroli feared that the official program might be too expensive at $15.  “At $5 they would sell like crazy.”  As an NFL-approved vendor, the duo has no flexibility on the sale price, however.

“By Friday, Saturday, Sunday we should be making some (money),” said Coeroli, who will make 25 percent of the sales when the group finishes up at the end of Super Bowl Sunday.

In this business, Coeroli says, timing is everything.

“After New Year’s is always bad for street vending,” said Coeroli, because everyone’s out of money. But he added quickly, business picks up again near Valentine’s Day.

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