NEW YORK — One of the most visible and popular Super Bowl XLVIII attractions in Times Square isn’t exactly new to South Sound residents.
A giant toboggan run was built on the corner of 41st and Broadway in the iconic area of New York City as part of Super Bowl Boulevard, a 13-block section of the city that will offer free activities to visitors leading up to Sunday’s game.
John Williams said Wednesday that the big slide was cool, but familiar.
“It’s just like the Puyallup Fair,” said the Eatonville resident, who wore a Marshawn Lynch jersey and a Seahawk on his head. He will wear his Steve Largent jersey under the newer one at the game Sunday.
Williams and his wife, Vicki, committed to a Super Bowl trip before the Hawks won the NFC title. But Vicki Williams said there was never any doubt they’d be in New York rooting for their team.
“We had faith that the Seahawks would make it,” she said.
The couple were among thousands who braved the freezing weather to stand in long lines and experience the most affordable part of the Super Bowl festivities.
Fans took pictures with the Lombardi Trophy, got autographs from NFL players and watched a live NFL Network broadcast hoping to make it on TV.
Organizers erected uprights in the middle of the street so passersby could experience the pressure of kicking a field goal in front of a gazing crowd, who would groan after anyone would miss (which was often).
The ratio of Broncos and Seahawks fans was equal, and New Yorkers donned their Giants and Jets gear. But fans of many NFL teams showed their pride, with one brave Pittsburgh man wearing head-to-toe black and yellow and a Steelers cape (an apparent jab at Hawks fans who have sour memories from the loss in the team’s only other Super Bowl appearance).
The shops and department stores along Broadway took advantage of the football frenzy, dressing up mannequins in fashionable football gear. Some even used live models in display windows, with music and dancers on a makeshift runway along the sidewalk to entice fans to buy.
Reece Harris of Brooklyn said the crowded streets were typical for the city.
“This is how 42nd street is anyway,” she said.
Host committee officials told reporters at a press conference on Monday that Super Bowl Boulevard was an important part of the week’s festivities, since it offers people who can’t watch Sunday’s game in person an opportunity to experience the spectacle of the Super Bowl.
Committee president Al Kelly said that fan experience is “where the Super Bowl lives.”
Jory Shinpaugh, a 24-year-old Yakima native who moved to New York this year, was an early beneficiary of that effort. The lifelong Seahawks fan is thrilled his team has followed right behind him, playing the biggest game of the year.
“I wish I had tickets,” said Shinpaugh, who had already seen everything along Broadway on Wednesday. He said the toboggan was definitely a highlight, but it was hard to choose the coolest parts. “It depends on taste,” he said.
LOCAL GOLFERS SHOW HAWK PRIDE
University Place's Michael Putnam and Gig Harbor's Kyle Stanley, both PGA golfers, will be represent the Seahawks on the crazy 16th hole sometime during this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open. Putnam will wear a Marshawn Lynch jersey and pass out 25 12th Man towels while Stanley will wear a Richard Sherman jersey that Nike specifically sent to him this week.
COLOR US IMPRESSED
Big Apple architecture is showing its Super Bowl colors with the help of Twitter and a quiz for fans.
And the 12th Man won the first two days.
All week leading up to Sunday’s game, the website whosgonnawin.com will ask Broncos and Seahawks fans to use the hashtag “WhosGonnaWin” to answer daily questions.
The side that swarms social media with the most answers will “light up the Empire State Building,” as the website says, and the winning team’s colors will shine above the New York City skyline.
So far, blue and green prevailed on Monday and Tuesday.
As of 3 p.m. West Coast time, Broncos tweets had a 1-percent edge for Wednesday’s question – “Which team will dominate the sideline?”
The George Washington Bridge is taking a non-biased approach, lighting up opposite ends of the span with competing colors
Staff writer Todd Milles contributed to this report.