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Super Bowl Jersey Style

January 27, 2014 - Carrie Olson
A big pile of nachos with a side of pickle wrap dip. After Christmas, the next big holiday for me used to be Super Bowl Sunday. Trust me, not a sports fan here. I was in it for the food and that alone. Every year without fail, my parents or some of their friends would host a party with the most fantastic spread of finger food. Heart exploding sauces, chicken wings, mini pizzas, cheeseballs – it didn’t end. And while I could hear shouting from the viewing rooms or the murmurs of approval from my dad’s famous beer tastings, I always could be found plopped on a chair in the kitchen chowing down. I may have ventured out for a commercial or two, or perhaps halftime if the entertainment was good – but I usually never left my little area. Too good to be true.

The last couple years have been touch and go. From not knowing too many friends in the area that are into football to having weekend jobs with weird hours – I might have watched Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl or loaded a couple crock pots with a few of my favorite appetizers to mimic what was happening back home. But that’s it. Nothing to write home about. Or a column.

This year’s a tad bit different. I’m kind of living in it. With the Super Bowl taking place just a few miles from my apartment, I am now at the epicenter of it all. I started taking notice of it a few days ago. Over martinis, a few friends and I discussed the fact that all the NFL players would be bunked down in our neighborhood in Jersey City. It was a big coup for the city, as the mayor sent out an email press release and everything over it. Snooki never got this much attention. Would they be frequenting our local watering holes, we wondered? Would these hulking men just be hanging out down by the waterfront for fun?

Today, after a babysitting job near Central Park, I headed back across the Hudson River on the train. The stations smelled of new paint, were completely spotless and boasted floor-to-ceiling sports posters. Hmmm, I’m guessing this clean up wasn’t for us usual passengers. Oh, and the train schedule. That's going to be fun to maneuver back home through the throngs of fans.

Today, there is a huge kickoff concert in Liberty State Park a few blocks down. Where we usually go running and hang out in warmer weather. And although it’s absolutely freezing, the venue is free – so I probably will be heading there after work – with a gazillion other people.

Later this week, near Times Square, there will be this boulevard of food and entertainment. Doritos giving away chip-covered cupcakes? Yes, please. Pepsi and other companies will be handing out samples of new products? Don’t mind if I do.

And while I still am not completely sure what teams are actually playing, I’m pretty stoked to be in the center of this flurry of activity. And who knows – I might actually host my own little football party. But I will probably still be turning the television on to make sure my favorite halftime entertainment – Animal Planet’s kittens – are living it up for the world to see. And you can bet the first time I see a hulking linebacker of a guy in my neighborhood, I will be telling everyone back home that I saw one of the great football players. Even though I'm probably stereotyping and the guy walking down the street probably just lives up the road.


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