Not Super Bowl“ed” over

"Cleatus," the Fox Sports robot in the Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square.
“Cleatus,” the Fox Sports robot in the Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square.

The temperatures might have been freezing and so was Hyun Joon Woo from South Korea. Wrapped head to toe, he was busy clicking pictures on Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square. This was his first week in the city and he had come to see Times Square. He had stumbled upon the Boulevard.

“I know that they play football during the Super Bowl but I like soccer more. I just took pictures in front of the Boulevard as this is my first time in New York,” said Woo.

Stretching from 34th Street to 47th Street along Broadway in midtown Manhattan, the Super Bowl Boulevard has taken over Times Square—and tourists from just about everywhere are taking in their share of the action. While football fans, bundled in their winter gear, came to see their favorite NFL players and get into the spirit of the game, the international tourists and migrants stood around taking pictures. Featuring a toboggan run, Pepsi City, NFL Rush Zone and NFL Play 60 for kids, a concert stage and other football-themed events, the Boulevard is drawing crowds, even during the third polar vortex.

For the many international students in the city, it was their first brush with football. Coming from soccer playing countries, most of them had a gamut of reactions to the “Super Bowl madness.”

Sudipta Mohipatra, a computer science student at City College, did not know a lot about football before coming to New York from India last August. Since then, things have changed. Near 34th Street, when Mohipatra caught his first glimpse of  the Super Bowl Boulevard he was excited. Though a soccer fan, he was now looking forward to the Feb. 2 game as he had recently started following football.

“Unless I have an accident and I’m comatose, of course I will watch the game! It’s fascinating. It is a lot like rugby,” said Mohipatra.

While football fans around the country get ready to see the Seattle Seahawks go head to head with the Denver Broncos in the Sunday match, many other viewers will tune in for other reasons.

“I only watch the Super Bowl for the advertisements. The best ads come out during that time. I have no interest in watching the game as such or going around the Boulevard,” said Miya Jimenez, a first year student at the New York University. She came from the Philippines last August and does not understand football. She was not interested in the Boulevard at all and her reaction to the boulevard was “no comments.”

Rather than the advertisements, alcohol is a deal sweetener for 27-year-old Sotiris Ioannou, from Greece. He does not understand the game just like Jimenez and usually watches it only if he is at a friend’s place. A first year student at City College of New York, Sunday evening means partying for him.

“It seems nice and exciting. I will see the game since I have an invitation to see it at a friend’s place with alcohol,” he said.

Priyanka Chordia, an Indian student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, had no idea about the game either. But she came to the Boulevard to take and was excited as she would go out with her friends to watch the game at a place with a good sound system.

“My brother really likes the game. I honestly have no idea what it is about. It is all about the environment and my friends for me,” she said.

Not everyone has football fever.  Some of those wandering around Times Square simply could not care less. They might be new to the city too, but have not embraced the “All American” football love.

Deepak Kumar, was one of them. He had no interest in the game, at all. The 24-year-old City College student was unfamiliar with the game and had no interest in watching it . He did not even like the fact that he had had to come to Times Square to see the Boulevard.

“I would rather watch the X Games or motor racing than watch football,” said Kumar. “I would prefer even soccer over football, though I don’t like soccer too,” he added.

Comments are closed.