Toboggan Run – Super Bowl Boulevard
The Super Bowl is taking place tomorrow at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, which means that New York City has been overtaken by Super Bowl Fever. Thirteen blocks of Broadway, stretching from Macy’s (34th Street), up through Times Square and all the way to 47th Street were refashioned as “Super Bowl Boulevard”, including attractions where visitors could take a picture with the Vince Lombardi trophy, kick a field goal, visit broadcast sets of ESPN, NFL Network and Fox, and my personal favorite, ride a 60 foot tall so-called toboggan. My friend Lauren suggested we get tickets in advance ($5) to ride the Toboggan Run. Our tickets were for 6:30 pm on Friday, and we went last night.
Our office is on 45th Street, close to 6th Avenue, so we could walk over. (I will briefly digress: When I was a senior in college preparing to move to NYC, a PhD student who had lived here gave me and my fellow hopefuls some advice, and one thing he told us was that even though the street signs say Avenue of the Americas, we should never, ever call it that because no one in NY calls it that and we would sound ridiculous; he said, “It is Sixth Avenue, and should always be referred to as such.” I remember thinking he was being a bit of a pompous ass about the whole matter, and that if the street signs said Avenue of the Americas why should he make such a big deal about it? I was absolutely wrong. He was absolutely right. It’s Sixth Avenue. Also, he gave us a suggested list of bars and restaurants that was spot on, especially for a bunch of Texas kids who didn’t know their Astor Place from their L Train. And back to the point.)
Times Square is generally crowded and unpleasant to walk through if you aren’t a strolling tourist, but I have never experienced it like last night. Even the one year that I went to Times Square for New Year’s Eve, I don’t remember it being like this, although I was fairly young and I think somewhat drunk, so maybe it was similar. Walking through Super Bowl Boulevard was a near-futile attempt to move down the street, packed in like we were surging the stage at a rock concert. Madhouse is too mild a term.
Eventually, we found the giant Toboggan Run, but had to go back over toward Bryant Park to pick up our tickets. Tickets had sold out for the day, which a young man was yelling at us as we walked up. We explained that we were picking up tickets already purchased in advance, and he apologized for yelling. At least there’s that.
We made our way back to the madness and found the entrance for ticket holders. We then realized that the line snaked all the way around the slide and back again. But there was music playing and we were excited to watch people racing down the enormous plastic contraption.
Basically, it was a big slide. People sat on a sack-like thing with a pouch for their feet, pushed off and slid down the rippling plastic hills, laughing, screaming, some holding hands while the lights flashed and music played. We waited maybe an hour and a half on the queue, but it didn’t seem too bad because I was there with friends and there was so much going on around us. Toward the end of the line, they pumped out suds or something to look like snow, which must have been really annoying for the people working there, but it looked pretty. Eventually, we were each handed a sack and sent up the ramp to the top.
What a climb! Looking down over all those people in Times Square, with Toboggan Runners sliding down next to us, was memorable to say the least. When it was at long last our turn, I had a quick chance to take a couple of photos from the top before we took off. Then the guy working the run gave us the “Go!” and off I slid, squealing with glee. I actually “won”, getting to the bottom first, right before another girl a few lanes to my left. I got a high five from the woman at the bottom, and it was over all too soon. We were back in the fray, finding our way to a bar across from our office where Broncos and Seahawks fans were WAY too rowdy considering the actual game was two days out. It was an adrenaline rush – silly, family-friendly fun – and I loved it. It’s nice to actually take advantage of living in this amazing city, and it was well worth the wait. How often do you get to slide down from 60 feet above Times Square?