Unlike the locals in the majority of host cities, normal people living in New York haven’t been inconvenienced at all by the Super Bowl.
The city is big enough, with enough preexisting travel and entertainment infrastructure, that the typical New Yorker could go about their business during Super Bowl week without the slightest inkling that a massive sporting event is taking place.
There are no major traffic issues because everyone uses public transit, and the influx of riders is relatively small. The only traffic issue will be on Super Bowl Sunday around the stadium.
There are no hotel issues because there are more rooms than Super Bowl visitors.
There are no two-hour waits at restaurants because there are approximately 10 million places to eat.
The garish branded hellscape that is “Super Bowl Boulevard” is placed on top of the preexisting garish branded hellscape that is Times Square — a place locals habitually avoid already.
New York City has swallowed the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is thing that happens to be in town, not a thing that has taken over the town.
Some people think that’s a bad thing, which is crazy.
I went to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis two years ago. There, Super Bowl week crippled the city. Downtown was literally taken over by the Super Bowl — the streets were closed and renamed after football stuff, the facades of buildings were plastered over with Super Bowl-themed wraps, and massive white tents obscured any sense of place.
The main part of the city was transformed into a cultureless NFL amusement park devoted solely to branded experiences. You had to travel out of the center of town to get even the smallest grasp of what the city was all about. In addition, the traffic was awful and there wasn’t a hotel room to be found in a 100-mile radius.
It was a massive disruption that affected everyone in town, regardless of what was happening in their lives and whether or not they cared about the NFL.
The NFL loves that. It reinforces the notion that they are always the biggest, most important thing in town. But it comes at the cost of a massive civic annoyance for whatever city is coerced into hosting it.
The NFL is doing small cities across the country a favour by putting a Super Bowl in a city that can actually handle it.
It’s not a bad thing that no one in New York cares about the Super Bowl — it’s a sign of just how little the Super Bowl has messed up their lives.
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