New York, New York, it's a helluva town, if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere! So, the songs go. Yes, we are the capital of the world, the sports mecca, but we'd better brace ourselves if the Super Bowl is going to be a mega-hit that it ought to be! What?
Yeah! It's going to be extremely difficult even under the best of conditions to pull it off, so we have to collectively embrace it or we are in for a black eye, if not worse.
Let’s face it- we've never done this before. No World Cup, no Olympics… no track record. This isn't Times Square on New Year's Eve, let's not kid ourselves. We’ve never been infiltrated. We have to be at our best. The Super Bowl is our acid test.
I know, we've hosted many World Series, as well as NBA and Stanley Cup championships. But those events are series-long, and pale in comparison to a singular Super Bowl, when a half million visitors will converge on the Big Apple, particularly late in the week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday leading up to the game.
We need to swallow the pill of inconvenience, because there will be plenty. Our crowded subways will be more crowded; same for all mass transit, the buses and Metro-liners; hailing a cab more difficult; bumper-to-bumper traffic at its worst; airport delays for sure.
No, it won't be easy. I'm actually nervous because unless we're all in, it will be problematic. This is my town, from the days of growing up in Brooklyn to today's partnerships with the Yankees, Knicks and Nets, and relationships with many New York champs like Eli, Messier, Jeter and Mariano. Our reputation is at stake more than anyone can imagine. This is not a self-serving message; it’s a major concern from a New York guy who has been around the block. We need to galvanize New Yorkers.
Everyone needs to bite the bullet for the greater good, whether you are a football fan or not isn’t the issue. Stay away from midtown if at all possible. If you don’t have to be in the city, schedule those meetings for the week before or week after. Help a lost visitor with directions. Do your part!
I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (remember Dallas and Atlanta?). The Super Bowl is an unbelievable opportunity to showcase our city. We think that everyone across the country and throughout the world knows, but a lot of people don’t know how great New York is, and that they can be safe and cool here.
New Yorkers need to realize that this is great for your city besides the millions and millions of dollars of revenue. Visitors will be motivated to return only if we put on a great show, and that will happen if our attitudes are right.
Coming to New York for a Super Bowl is a once-in-a-lifetime deal for a tourist. With ticket prices at upwards of $3,000 and hotel rates going through the roof, these are high level, decision-makers who will return with conventions, and other significant events, who will be back to spend money, if they have a good feeling about our city.
It's up to you, New York, New York.