Heralding the ‘New York’ Super Bowl

Super Bowl Boulevard in Midtown Manhattan. (Photo by Vincent Lim Show Chen, Creative Commons license)

Welco “Super Bowl Boulevard” in Midtown Manhattan (Photo by Vincent Lim Show Chen, Creative Commons license)

From Richard Sherman to street vendors to kosher food, coverage of the Super Bowl out of New York’s community and ethnic press give local perspectives to a game that, this year, gets played on home turf.

In a column for Amsterdam News, Jonathan P. Hicks fails to see eye to eye with reactions of commentators and politicians to Richard Sherman’s interview after the NFC Championship game. They branded the Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback as, in Hicks’ words, “something of a thug and a loudmouth,” for “rather innocent bravado.”

Richard Sherman speaking with Chris Hayes on MSNBC (Photo via video)

Richard Sherman speaking with Chris Hayes on MSNBC (Photo via video)

Hicks cites an interview Sherman did with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes as a counterpoint to the image of Sherman widely touted – and criticized.

What emerged from the interview was the portrait of a man who was raised in the gritty world of Compton, Calif., graduated from one of the nation’s foremost colleges, Stanford University, and used his celebrity and influence to encourage young people to pursue education.

He goes on to say that some Americans jump to conclusions about others – especially when it comes to African Americans – based on “the most superficial impressions.”

Hicks points the finger at politicians like Rep. Michael Grimm for what he considers a more accurate example of thuggish behavior. The congressman, who represents parts of southern Brooklyn and Staten Island, threatened to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto over the balcony during an interview after President Obama’s State of the Union.

In El Diario-La Prensa, reporter Cristina Loboguerrero talks to Latino vendors who look to make extra money during the Super Bowl. Ecuadorean street vendor David Garcia hopes the festivities will change his usual luck in Newark, N.J.

“During this time of year I normally don’t sell anything. You put up with more cold in the street than you end up selling,” he said. “But now with the Super Bowl, I plan to sell souvenirs, New York publicity buttons and T-shirts.”

"Super Bowl Boulevard" at Times Square (Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario-La Prensa)

“Super Bowl Boulevard” in Times Square (Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario-La Prensa)

Maria Galán, from Cuba, sells hot dogs in Hoboken, N.J., from April to October but this year, she’ll come out for Super Bowl weekend as well, during which she predicts a possible 300 percent increase in sales.

“On a productive day I can make a profit of $500. For Super Bowl weekend, if I work all three days, I could earn up to $2,000,” she said confidently.

Hopes of making more money also means working longer hours, especially for those in industries of transportation, hotels and restaurants.

Javier Mejía, a 32-year-old Colombian man, works parking cars for a company in Manhattan. His said his bosses have asked him to work an average of 12-16 hours each day to meet the rise in customers that they expect from January 25 to February 4.

While those workers see the Super Bowl as an opportunity to make more money, Colorlines’ Jamilah King points out that “very little” of the $550-$600 million in estimated revenue for the metro area will end up in the hands of small business workers and street vendors:

… because there are more out-of-town attractions transported to the host city than there are opportunities for local economies to prosper from the game.

Rahul Saksena, an organizer with the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, notes that while something like the Super Bowl gives workers a chance to make a profit, such events also underscore the reality that workers need these kinds of events to make ends meet.

“When a big sporting event comes to the city, it’s an opportunity for workers to feed their family. It’s a chance to make up for the fact that their income is so unstable. But it’s unfair that they need to rely on big sporting events to feed their families and pay their rent.”

GIFT Box (Photo from STOP THE TRAFFIK via New York City Urban Project)

GIFT Box (Photo from STOP THE TRAFFIK via New York City Urban Project)

In a piece for Women’s eNews, reporter Hajer Naili covers the GIFT (Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking) Box, brought to the U.S. to bring awareness to human trafficking.

An advocate group believes that during a time like this, people are particularly vulnerable to being trafficked.

The throng of football fans and tourists puts women, children and men at higher risk of being trafficked, says Ruth Dearnley, CEO of STOP THE TRAFFIK.

This is the first appearance of the box in the country.

The GIFT Box, launched in London in 2012 during the Olympic Games, is a walk-in exhibit displayed near Union Square, at Broadway and 17th Street, that invites pedestrians to enter a big, colorfully wrapped box, where they are confronted with the harsh realities of sex trafficking through photographs and survivor stories. It will be on display until the Super Bowl.

Reporter Gerald Eskenzi for The Jewish Daily Forward looks at some lighter fare. One thing that will make the Super Bowl truly local this year? Kosher food.

“Stuffed cabbage, egg rolls, franks in jackets and potato latkes” will be on the menu at MetLife Stadium where the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will duke it out. Those noshing on the meals will contribute to the already lucrative industry.

It is likely that those who eat kosher at the Super Bowl will make one of the largest one-day dents in America’s $40 billion-a-year kosher food industry.

Working with kosher food on this grand scale shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for Bill Lohr, who oversees food operations at the stadium, and Eric Borgia, executive chef at MetLife.

Both Borgia and Lohr have experience dealing with a kosher-only crowd at the stadium. Remember, there was that day in August, 2012, when more than 80,000 Orthodox Jews turned up for the Siyum HaShas, the celebration of the end of a 7 ½-year cycle of Talmudic learning. During the cycle, participants around the world studied one page of the 2711-age Babylonian Talmud each day.

“We did a lot of practicing for that one,” said Borgia.

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