Kim Hines and Victoria Ohores spent an unorthodox lunch break Thursday sliding down a toboggan run. Smack dab in the middle of Times Square.
Broadway between 34th and 47th Streets transformed Wednesday into Super Bowl Boulevard. New Yorkers, tourists, and football fans wandered the streets to get autographs from NFL players, take pictures with giant roman numerals (XLVIII) and the Vince Lombardi trophy, go to free concerts, score free giveaways, and more in celebration of Sunday’s New York-New Jersey Super Bowl. But Times Square’s shiniest new toy is the 60-foot tall, 180-foot long toboggan run.
“It’s exhilarating!” said Hines. She and Ohores laughed and whooped as they got off their mats and made their way to the exit, back to the crowds milling about.
“At first I thought, oh we’ve been on rides worse than this at Great Adventure, but it does give you that thrill,” said Hines. “It’s the adrenaline,” she added, smiling wide. “It’s a lot of fun, definitely worth the five dollars.”
Event staff and volunteers pointed visitors to the MetLife Plaza on 42nd Street and 6th Avenue or to the fourth floor of Macy’s to purchase a toboggan ticket assigned to a specific half hour time slot. Proceeds from the event will go to MillionTreesNYC, a public-private PlaNYC program that aims to increase the number of trees in New York City to improve quality of life and create other economic and social benefits. Entry into Super Bowl Boulevard and all other activities are free.
Hines and Ohores, who both commute from the Bronx to work at Hub International Insurance Brokers, were not the only ones to spend their lunch break on the giant slide.
“My heart’s still racing!” said Lisa Marino, as she headed back to work at Four Times Square.
“We just did a friendly race between coworkers,” said Anthony Fassino, who works nearby on 44th Street. “Your butt comes flying off the seat if you go fast enough,” and you don’t even feel the cold.
Temperatures on Super Bowl Boulevard began with a high of 22 degrees on Wednesday, but are expected to rise steadily to a high of 41 degrees by Saturday, the last day of the event, according to the Weather Channel. Some event volunteers, clad in bright yellow vests for eight-hour shifts, ducked into nearby cafes to warm up for a few minutes on Thursday.
Many of the visitors along the boulevard were in the area to attend the big game on Sunday in the Meadowlands. But some out-of-towners made the trip to frigid New York just to take part in the festivities in Times Square.
Nathaniel Doctor, a 19-year-old college student from Florida, came to New York just for a tour of Super Bowl Boulevard. It’s cold, he said, but he thinks he’s faring pretty well for a Floridian. He’ll be back in the Sunshine State to watch the game from home.
Like Doctor, Dana Macari and her son Michael, 12, will be back in Connecticut by the time the Seahawks and Broncos face off. But first, the boulevard. Number one on the agenda is the toboggan, said Michael, with a ticket for entry at 1 p.m. in hand before the slide even opened on Thursday.
“Today when we were taking the train in we heard a bunch of different accents, and people from not just New York and other states but all over,” said Cassandra Stuke, from Patchogue, Long Island. “I love this environment, I love the city.”
She had her sights set on getting an autograph from DeMarcus Ware, and was still debating whether she had enough courage for the toboggan.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Stuke said. “I figure since I’m a Long islander, a New Yorker, I have to experience it, the excitement of the Super Bowl.”