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NYC readies for the Super Bowl of party weeks

Work crews set-up the Toboggan Run on Super

Work crews set-up the Toboggan Run on Super Bowl Boulevard on Broadway. (Jan. 26, 2014) Credit: Charles Eckert

New York City prepared for the final Super Bowl stretch before Sunday's big game as both teams were expected in New Jersey by Sunday night and a wide range of businesses hoped a party atmosphere would trump cold-weather jitters.

While bar owners and other businesses geared up for fans and their wallets, the LIRR prepared for more trains and workers by midweek, and Manhattan stood poised to open a Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square, complete with a toboggan run -- apropos with forecasts calling for a chance of snow and a game-day high temperature of 37 degrees.

"By Thursday, we should be cranking," said Patrick Shalvoy, an East Islip native and bartender at Carlow East, an Upper East Side bar that has hosted Seattle Seahawks viewing parties since 2009. "On Friday, we're expecting pretty much a St. Patrick's Day atmosphere."

Officials are predicting about 500,000 visitors to New York and New Jersey for the Super Bowl and the related festivities.

The NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee has claimed in the yearslong run-up that the influx of those visitors would help generate $500 million to $600 million. Sports economists, however, have downplayed those lofty economic predictions and predicted a far more modest financial impact once the fans leave town and receipts are tallied.

"Move the decimal point one place to the left," said Robert Baade, a Lake Forest College (Ill.) professor who has studied the Super Bowl's impact on local economies. "The NFL says five hundred or six hundred million [dollars]? I think 50 to 60 million would be a generous appraisal."

Shalvoy said 260 tickets at $100 each have been sold for entry into Carlow East and affiliated venues on Super Bowl Sunday. He said fans from Seattle will likely start arriving by Wednesday -- and the bar has stocked up on liquor and beer. "As much as we can fit in our walk-in refrigerator," he said.

Big crowds are also expected at Stout NYC, a Manhattan bar that is one of a handful of city hubs for Denver Broncos fans.

"The stars just kind of aligned for us," said manager Chris Hughes, a Broncos fan from Floral Park who convinced his boss to hold Broncos-watching parties early in the season.

The Long Island Rail Road is adding off-peak train service, starting Wednesday -- the same day 13 blocks of Broadway in Manhattan will be transformed into Super Bowl Boulevard with an autograph and concert stage, souvenir venues and the 60-foot-high toboggan run.

The LIRR has also added special signage and will have personnel at Penn Station to direct fans to Super Bowl Boulevard.

For those with the means, Helicopter Flight Services, which operates a fleet out of the Linden (N.J.) Municipal Airport, will shuttle fans to the game.

"We think there will be a high demand. It's all going to be last minute, the same day probably," said charter manager Riptinder Singh.

With New York and New Jersey hosting just the second cold-weather Super Bowl -- Super Bowl IX at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans had a game-time temperature of 46 -- much of the buzz has been and will continue to be about the forecast.

So will it snow? "At this point, I don't think so," predicted AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno. "I always reserve the right to change my mind."

A chance of snow showers is forecast for Saturday night, with another system that might come next Sunday night or Monday morning. "It's a really close call," Rayno said. With AP

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