The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

January 21, 2014

NYC and NJ prep for Super Bowl on calm MLK Monday

— NEW YORK (AP) — Workers hung in harnesses, putting the finishing touches on a sponsor's billboard high above Broadway. A few blocks north, in Times Square, a three-story stage festooned with Fox Sports logos towered over the crossroads of the world.

Below, the pedestrian plazas stayed relatively calm and uncrowded — for now — beneath blinking ads, most of which referenced the Super Bowl as New York spent a mellow MLK Monday preparing to host the biggest event in sports.

The Feb. 2 championship game, between Seattle and Denver, is still almost two weeks away, and while there will be all sorts of events surrounding the game throughout the metropolitan area of nearly 20 million, the anticipation hasn't quite started to spike yet.

It takes more than a big ballgame to get New York City excited.

New Jersey, too, where everyone's still steamed up over allegations that top aides to Gov. Chris Christie orchestrated traffic jams in a northern New Jersey town, Fort Lee, by blocking off lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

Unintentional traffic jams are a concern every day in the region, let alone with an influx of visitors expected and a big game day crowd anticipated at the Meadowlands sports complex.

Crowding in Times Square is always a given, too. To the point that New Yorkers make a point of avoiding the area at all costs.

But on Monday — with most people off from work for the Martin Luther King holiday and the Broncos and Seahawks basking in their conference championships back at home — most of midtown was calm.

One pocket of energy could be found in Macy's, where a temporary NFL store is set up to sell tiny Statues of Liberty splashed with Super Bowl logos, NFL shield hats in various colors, helmets in every size from "big enough to protect a golf ball" to the real thing, and virtually anything else NFL-related.

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