For towns near Super Bowl, party starts early
SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) — If any bruised feelings remain in New Jersey over
perceived Super Bowl slights from the other side of the Hudson River,
they weren't evident Saturday — mainly because people were too busy
partying, or getting ready to.
In Secaucus, which lies a couple of long punts to the east of MetLife
Stadium, thousands flocked to a downtown festival to eat, drink, play
games, listen to live music and, probably, congratulate themselves that
they didn't shell out thousands of dollars to watch the Super Bowl in
person Sunday night.
"My cousin paid $2,800 for two tickets — that's insane, isn't it?" said
Richard Bello, of Rochelle Park, as he munched on fried cheese curds,
one delicacy among many offered by a staggering array of food trucks.
Where else could you get Belgian waffles then walk five paces to your
right and savor a yak burger? And that's not even taking into account
the 344-pound football made of mozzarella cheese, billed as the world's
"This is a really nice thing for the town to do," Bello said. "My wife
took the kids into New York and the line for the toboggan ride was
three hours. You're better off staying over here and going to the
Liberty Science Center — they've got the Vince Lombardi trophy and a
lot of other great Super Bowl stuff."
In Hoboken, hundreds of people strolled along a riverfront park where
they snapped pictures in front of a giant Roman numeral "XVIII" and
tried their hand at the sport of curling.
On Sunday, the town of East Rutherford, where MetLife Stadium is
located, is set for a giant downtown tailgate party complete with live
music, food and drink.
The Super Bowl will be the first played outdoors at a cold-weather
location, and tens of thousands of people were expected to travel to
the region. Most of the big-ticket events outside of the game are being
held in New York, including Super Bowl Boulevard, the 13-block stretch
of Broadway that features the 60-foot-high toboggan slide.
The rivalry between the two states intensified with the release of the
Super Bowl program, which some in New Jersey felt slighted the Garden
State by using the Manhattan skyline on its cover with a sliver of New
Jersey in the background. A predictable war of words between newspaper
columnists on both sides of the river ensued.
If food and people were in abundance in Secaucus and Hoboken on
Saturday, far more scarce were fans of the two teams playing Sunday
night. Denver Broncos jerseys were nearly nonexistent, far outnumbered
by locals wearing the blue and white of the hometown New York Giants.
Seattle Seahawks fans made a slightly better showing.
Todd and Michele Roan, of Puyallup, Wash., were staying in a hotel near
Secaucus and had already made the trip into Manhattan when they heard
about the local festivities.
"It really wore us out," Michele Roan said. "It wasn't like we got up
today and said, 'Let's go back.' Some people at the hotel told us they
had come here and had had a good time."
In Hoboken, David Nghiem of Seattle met up with his brother Will, who
lives in Washington, D.C. Tickets in hand, they were suitably stoked
for the big game.
"This is the biggest moment of my life," David Nghiem said.
"I told my co-workers come Sunday night, I'll be crying one way or
another," his brother added.
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