My friend Aron and I landed in Newark around 5PM EST. The airport is nice enough, and the people were friendly. I had my eyes on this game for a long time, and so Aron and I have been making decisions all along about the best way to get here. We bought our plane tickets right around when the season started.
I have some family and friends back here, and lucked into a condo in Manhattan for SB weekend while a friend is leaving town. We could have crashed somewhere for free Tu-Th until we could get into the condo, but we decided some cash for some personal space was worth it. All the travel I do for work grants me some privileges at some nice hotels, and the Intercontinental in Times Square is pretty damn nice. We got a great deal, and a nice room upgrade.
It took a long time to get there. The last 0.1 miles took longer than the first five because a Ryder truck was stuck trying to maneuver into a garage. It took 20 minutes, blocking traffic. Horns started honking repeatedly and for extended notes. A few New York City cops strolled past our car looking for the offending members of all-horn orchestra, and when they made eye contact, stopped and yelled, "Hey! You! Shut up!" Ah, New York.
After unpacking and watching some of the media day recap, we ventured out to a little Italian joint named Don Giovanni's off of W 44th St. The food was fantastic, and the waitress was an adorable Israeli woman who had her visit in the United States turn into a six-year stay. She did not have plans to watch the game on Sunday, even as Aron and I urged her to join the movement. We explained the plight of the Northwest, and our dearth of championships. She smiled, and told us she visited Las Vegas once. The country does really just blur together outside of the East Coast for people that live here. To her credit, she followed by saying she'd love to get to Or-ee-gone one day to visit a friend who lives there. She envied the natural beauty there. She should.
It became clear that before we were going to walk Times Square, we needed to put on our thermals underneath our jeans. Even the half carafe of red wine we had with dinner was not going to keep us warm on this night. Once we further protected ourselves from the elements, we strode in the direction of the flashing lights and billboards.
It was already 10PM, but it could have been 5PM or 2AM the way things work in New York. That whole concept of the city that never sleeps is not hyperbole. The energy in this city always reminds me of being in a Vegas casino. It is just outdoors and far more expansive.
We checked out the Super Bowl Boulevard which was still being built in preparation for a Wednesday open. Forklifts buzzed by carrying concrete barriers. They are shutting down Broadway between 34th and 47th Streets for FOX Sports and ESPN broadcast booths, as well as all sorts of fan activities like a giant toboggan slide, field goal kicking, and a chance to see the Lombardi Trophy. Oh yeah. That is happening.
I needed to pick up some gifts for my family, so the M&Ms store is always fun. Apparently, it is not only Skittles available in Seahawks colors.
By the time we left, I had already decided I needed a scarf to cover my face. I actually like cold weather, but this was bitter cold. We noticed a few Super Bowl scarves in Lidz and got to talking to the people who worked there. They were in the middle of custom stitching the Statue of Liberty and a 12 in green stitching on a SB hat. I asked if they could do that to a SB scarf. They looked at each other, shrugged like kids that had nothing to lose and were bored anyway, and said, "Sure."
It took about a half-hour, and made for an expensive scarf, but I walked away with something unique.
While we were waiting, a couple walked in who noticed our Seahawks garb and started up a conversation. The woman was wearing red, and was quick to inform me that she was a 49ers fan. I love the naked aggression of New Yorkers. It allows me to go hard at them without fear of hurt feelings. I pointed out that her team had some nice Pro Bowl performances. She laughed and said NFC West teams make the Super Bowl, but never win it, and that the Seahawks better not embarrass the division. She went on to explain that we better win it this year because the 49ers are going to crush us next year. I smiled and explained, "The 49ers have a great history. The Seahawks have a great future." Her boyfriend/husband covered his mouth and laughed. She was, in what seemed to be a rare moment in her life, speechless for a split second. We all laughed.
By around 1AM, it was time to hit the hay. We have a busier day today picking up our game tickets, interviewing Marshall Faulk, and catching a show tonight. Hope to see a few of you around town. Go Hawks!