Our last full day in New York was serendipitous.
Serendipity is a word coined in 1754 by English author Horace Walpole. It means “the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.”
Doesn’t that accurately describe New York? I mean, we all know about the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. But the beauty of New York is finding one of the millions of hidden gems. Heck, in that regard, New York is no different than your hometown, if it’s of any size. Think of how many cool places in Oklahoma City undiscovered to many of us.
Anyway, our last Sunday was serendipitous because of Serendipity3, a restaurant on 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues, in the Silk Stocking district.
Serendipity3 is famous for its outrageous desserts and its role in the 2001 movie “Serendipity,” starring John Cusack. I sort of remember the film; I like John Cusack.
Anyone, Serendipity3 sounds like a tourist trap, except it’s not in a touristy part of town. And it’s not big enough to handle tourist crushes, maybe 15 to 20 tables. The restaurant is tiny, shotgun style, set half a story below street level, with whitewashed walls, tiffany glass lamps hanging over each table and all kinds of light-hearted décor on the walls. A totally charming place.
Everyone comes in for desserts. A bunch of locals clearly were among the customers.
And we discovered a jewel. My favorite meal in New York. I had seafood fettuccine; the Dish had chicken crepes. Her crepes were good and my pasta was fabulous. Most meals were priced $15-$21, which by New York standards is very reasonable.
And then we shared a Cinnamon Fun Sundae, a combination of apple and cinnamon ice cream sundae. I think it was $16, which is absurd for any dessert, but it was terrific. Looked good enough that a New Yorker sitting two tables over felt compelled to ask us what it was. He, his wife and daughter were having Seredipity3’s staple, frozen Hot Chocolate, which is some huge ice cream deal. I’m sure it’s good, too, though I’ll take cinnamon over chocolate eight days a week.
The staff was superb, too. Some guy next to us was from the Czech Republic; his credit card was rejected. Some kind of international business situation. The waiter told him how to get to an ATM machine and let him leave. He soon returned.
The table next to us was a woman from Alabama visiting her daughter and two friends who live in New York. We took their photo and they took ours.
Just a fun place to be. Everyone happy. No one in a rush. A serendipitous find in New York City.
All week, I wondered whether I’d be in the main pressbox. No Super Bowl pressbox can handle all the writers credentialed for the game. So some make the cut for the main pressbox, some don’t.
For instance, in Super Bowl 45 at Arlington, Jenni Carlson and I were in the main pressbox, but Jason Kersey and sports editor Mike Sherman were in the auxiliary, which means, out in the stands. In Super Bowl 42 in Arizona, I was in the auxiliary.
The auxiliary isn’t bad. In fact, it’s better some places. At Arlington, Jenni and I were on the third row, which is the only place in JerryWorld you can’t see the big video board. The auxiliary is set up with a work table and electricity and the same internet access as everyone else, so that’s all we need.
But at MetLife Stadium, I indeed made the cut. Seat 260 on row 4. I couldn’t see the video boards or the upper deck, but I was warm and dry and my laptop was relatively safe. Turns out, the same was true in the auxiliary box, which was placed under the MetLife upper deck, complete with overhead heaters. Word was, it got a little too toasty in the auxiliary box.
You would think the crush of a Super Bowl would be a nightmare to get post-game interviews. But the NFL knows what it’s doing.
In most Super Bowls, the league sets up an interview tent adjacent to the stadium (at Arlington, there was room beneath the stadium). The locker rooms are open for interviews, but the NFL brings 15-20 players per team into the interview tent, which is set up with 20 podiums.
For Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson, dozens and dozens of media surround the podiums. But for lesser stars, you can get some decent interview time. I was able to video Wes Welker for several minutes. Russell Okung, too.
Truth is, it’s much more manageable than, say, an OU-Texas game. Or the NBA Finals.
Only trouble I had was finding the danged thing. The NFL, like every other football enterprise known to man, wants you to go downstairs with several minutes left in the game. But I don’t do that. That’s prime writing time. And if the game’s close, I want to see the finish, since, you know, that’s why we’re there.
So I stayed in the pressbox until the game was over, and even to when the MVP was announced, since that was the last piece of information I was waiting on to send my first-edition column.
Then rather than mess with the elevator, which always seems to be packed, I just went down the exterior stairs. And didn’t even put on my overcoat. Once I reached the ground, I started circling the stadium and eventually found the tent. The Super Bowl is an adventure in more ways than one.
TRAFFIC? WHAT TRAFFIC?
The NFL set up a caravan of buses to take the media from the Sheraton to MetLife Stadium. They were set to leave at 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. But only the 1:15 buses would have police escort.
I didn’t need to arrive at the stadium four hours before kickoff. I was thinking the 3:15 bus would be about right, but when the Dish went shopping after our lunch, I got back to the hotel a little before 2, got my stuff and jumped on the 2:15. And traffic was non-existent.
The city was relatively quiet, being a Sunday afternoon, and the New Jersey Turnpike was wide open. We were at the stadium by 2:40, went through security relatively easy and I was in my seat by 3:15. An hour from the Sheraton to the MetLife pressbox.
I wish I had taken the 4:15.
The NFL charged huge prices for parking at MetLife Stadium, which cut into the number of cars around the stadium. The vast majority of fans took public transportation, which led to major problems at the Secaucus, N.J., rail station, where there were so many fans that people were momentarily crushed.
But if keeping traffic to a minimum was the goal, mission accomplished.
NOT SO SUPER BOWL BOULEVARD
After shopping, the Dish went back to the hotel. Then a little before kickoff, she walked down to Junior’s, a Brooklyn-based New York institution which features cheesecake. She ordered takeout — short ribs and cheesecake — to eat while watching the Super Bowl in our hotel room.
But when walking to Junior’s, she saw the big grandstand at 47th and Broadway full of fans, watching the Super Bowl pregame on the massive video board. She thought, that might be fun. Watch the Super Bowl on television outside for awhile.
Alas, when returning from Junior’s, the stands had mostly cleared out, just a few minutes before kickoff. A security guard told her “someone at the top” put the kibosh on the game being shown on the big board.
So she walked back to the Sheraton, where the cheesecake was great and the ribs and ballgame stunk.