NEW YORK (AP) — Laughter and shrieks echoed through Times Square on Wednesday as bundled-up football fans slid down a gleaming toboggan run, the centerpiece of a Super Bowl-themed outdoor street fair that has invaded the city's busiest thoroughfare.
Sun glinted off the toboggan run, which towers several stories high and looks like a giant slide, and fake snow spat out of a machine into the frigid air, even though the ground on Super Bowl Boulevard had already received a coating of actual snow.
"We're never going to get to do that again down Broadway," said Margaux Untracht, 28, as she exited the toboggan run with a group of co-workers. "It was fast, but not that fast. It was awesome."
Having ducked out of work during lunch to check out the boulevard festivities, Untracht was in good company. Many of the people roaming around the event were New Yorkers and New Jerseyans — often clad in Jets or Giants apparel — who had come to see what all of the fuss was about.
Hundreds of people watched as the shiny silver Vince Lombardi Trophy made its debut in a glass case, where it will remain until it is awarded to the winner of Sunday's game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck carried the prestigious award from a truck to a trophy display area as a marching band drum line pounded out a cadence for the crowd.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the crowd for the unveiling of giant lighted Roman numerals XLVIII.
"As a big football fan and even bigger fan of the Big Apple I could not be more thrilled at what's happening with Super Bowl Boulevard," de Blasio said.
Cuomo said, "This Super Bowl Boulevard is symbolic of the way New York has opened its heart to all the fans."
Organizers expect more than a million people to visit the boulevard between now and Sunday. Lines were already growing as people waited in frigid temperatures to get autographs from NFL players and milled about the many tents emblazoned with corporate logos.
Steven Bell, 52, who works for the city's transit authority, was standing in line to register for a free prize.