Super Bowl boulevard

Super Bowl boulevard Credit: Crews help create the toboggan run on Super Bowl Boulevard. (Charles Eckert)

Whether Mother Nature interferes or not, the Big Apple is ready for some football.

This week, the NFL and the city will kick off the countdown to Sunday’s Super Bowl — being held for the first time in the New York City area, at MetLife Stadium — with a wide array of events, games and promotions throughout Manhattan.

Although the big festivities don’t start until Wednesday, the city began work on Super Bowl Boulevard Sunday by closing off Broadway between 34th and 47th streets to traffic Sunday to set up the event, featuring shows, games, rides and more.

Organizers say the city is going to score big economically this week.

“It’s our opportunity to bring the world’s biggest game to the world’s largest stage,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

The league said the big game between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos and related events will generate at least $500 million in economic activity for the New York City area. Some 500,000 visitors are expected.

The boulevard attractions will be in full swing Wednesday, with several events for all ages, including a toboggan run, concerts, autograph sessions with NFL players and a chance to touch and be photographed with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

McCarthy said the league wanted to use Times Square to its fullest potential when designing the game week festivities. “The center, right down Broadway, will get a lot of attention from media and fans,” he said.

Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said he expects the restaurants, stores and bars that are near Super Bowl Boulevard to get in on the action. Advertising and promos  already brought tourists and New Yorkers alike to Times Square Tompkins said.

 “New York City is a bargain for Super Bowl visitors. We have the capacity and array of options,” Tompkins said. “There’s a variety of forms of entertainment.”

Store owners said they are gearing up for a big boost in visitors. Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square has turned its entire fourth floor into the “NFL Shop” and is offering sales all week.

“We expect it to get crazy starting this weekend,” said a Macy’s employee who asked not to be identified last week.

McCarthy said the league takes security very seriously and worked hard with the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies to make sure fans are kept safe.

“You can go anywhere in this area and find police presence during any time of the year,” he said.

Of course, the big topic has been the freezing weather gripping the Big Apple. Temperatures won’t be above freezing this week, but Tompkins said he wasn’t worried that this would affect Super Bowl Boulevard’s success.

"Even for New Year’s Eve, the weather affects not how many people come but how long they stay. I think that they will come but they will not be there the full day, which is still great for us,” he said.

Overall, the NFL predicts this week will be one of the most memorable parties yet, McCarthy said. “It’s a combination of community, cultural and commercial drive that makes these shows successful,” he said. 

Here's a look at some of Super Bowl Boulevard's festivities:

Super Bowl virtual theater
Wed.-Sat., starting at 5 p.m., every 30 minutes until 9:30 p.m.
A 10-minute video celebrating football will grace the iconic facade of Macy’s storefront at 34th Street and Broadway.

NFL Rush Zone and NFL Play 60 (aimed for children ages 6 to 13)
Wed.-Sat., tented spaces open noon-10 p.m. daily (NFL Play 60, noon-5 p.m. daily)
Heated, tented spaces on Broadway between 34th and 35th streets will feature the animated series “NFL Rush Zone.”

Autograph & Concert Stage
Wed.-Sat., autographs noon-5 p.m. daily, concerts 8 p.m. daily
Score free autographs from current and former NFL stars and then stick around for concerts starting at 8 p.m. on Broadway between 39th and 40th streets.

Toboggan Run
Wed.-Sat., noon-10 p.m.
Standing 60 feet tall on Broadway between 40th and 41st streets, this eight-lane toboggan run is open to kids and adults for $5. Tickets can be purchased at multiple locations, including within Macy’s NFL shop.

Roman numerals
Wed.-Sat., noon-10 p.m.
Glowing, 20-foot-tall Roman numerals will be on display on Broadway between 42nd and 43rd streets; prime for photos.

NYC & Company
Wed.-Sat., noon-10 p.m.
NYC experts will be providing dining and tourism suggestions on Broadway between 43rd and 44th streets.

Vince Lombardi Trophy Display
Wed.-Sat., noon-10 p.m.
The trophy will be available for pics on Broadway between 43rd and 44th streets.
NFL Extra Points Kick
Wed.-Sat., noon-10 p.m.
Test your ability to kick the ball through real NFL goal posts, set up on Broadway between 45th and 46th streets.

NFL Shop at Super Bowl, Macy’s Herald Square
Through Feb. 4,10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Super Bowl merchandise headquarters set up on the fourth floor of Macy’s Herald Square. Stop by for championship gear, free giveaways and player signings.

(with Shawn McCreesh)

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