GOINGS ON ABOUT TOWN
The inaugural brutefest stomps through Gotham.
Parading through New York City this weekend will be all the trappings of a Philadelphia-area beauty pageant, but with less class and a dose more testosterone (but roughly the same amount of arm hair). Possessed within—perhaps imparted by an errant father or misguided childminder—many have a burning flame for the clashing of gorillas and their tanned pointed orbs. If you find little elegance in brushed canvases and brûléed treats, and prefer a layman’s “warm dog,” “spiced patty,” and “thin brew,” we’ve compiled the goings on—or, should we say, “touchdowns”—about town as the first ever Super Bowl engulfs our delicate, pastoral New York and its surrounding environs.
At the IFC Center on Super Bowl Sunday, there is an on-the-hour marathon of Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts and their companion Oscar-Nominated Live Action Shorts. Beginning at 10:35 a.m. and running all day until 10:35 p.m., the center provides the most stirring alternative to plunking one’s body onto a couch and absentmindedly rummaging in a bowl of stale Lay’s. The marathon has us posturing that perhaps IFC—commonly known as the International Film Center—is actually shorthand for “I Feel Cleansed.”
The World Cup in 2012 had its vuvuzelas, a tapered conical plastic tube from which a bombastic, low-pitched sound emits pleasurably, like a hybrid kazoo-flugelhorn. The 2014 Super Bowl has nothing of the sort, but for the piercing squawk of a Bergen County mother surfacing from a PATH station, among her gaggle of ill-behaved children. If the soothing serenity of Chopin is in your sights, head to Carnegie Hall for a Sunday evening spent in the presence of piano virtuoso Lang Lang. But be sure to leave your house earlier than usual—there is a giant eight-lane toboggan run making an eyesore out of Midtown.
Though football itself has been described by many as “theatre for imbeciles,” the dramatics of New York slow for no one while its catastrophically dense younger brother is in town on its drunken walkabout. If you’re fiending for lowbrow theatrics, perhaps football is your answer—at Hudson River Park, such famed thespians as Suits’ Meghan Markle and the Food Network’s golden-crowned poster child, Guy Fieri, will square off against athletes not decorated enough to be performing in the real competition, in an ill-fated Celebrity Game. Actors performing athletics—even Kenneth Branagh couldn't dare be so entertaining. It’s free for the public and features “the world's largest indoor beach.” (Or you could catch King Lear at BAM.)
Occupy Wall Street may have dwindled since its hopeful beginnings in 2011, but the city’s large population of financially burdened—the 99 percent—still occasionally need something to do during the weekends. While they search the pages of lesser rags for “free this” and “free that,” might we suggest Maxim's Super Bowl blowout at Times Square’s Espace? French for “space,” Espace is not typically dog-eared in our address books, and their Friday night performer—a one Mr. K. Lamar—is unknown to our fact-checkers, but the accompanying fee should promise a night one will never forget. At fifteen hundred dollars, entry alone is granted, but double your contribution, and you’ll find an unlimited well of cocktail drinks, access for very important persons, and more. The “more” might be an alternate, better-suited evening at Lincoln Center, immediate transportation away from Times Square and associations with Maxim included, but we’d say it’s worth finding out. Live a little!
No doubt under the financial thumb of much more prosperous organizations, such as the National Football League and CBS, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, our blushing beauty uptown, will be displaying tattered scraps of paper beholding football “stars” for the general public to do what with exactly—regard humbly? These vintage “trading cards,” as they are called, will be encased in thick Plexiglas and tucked away in the oft-neglected Dilettante Ephemera wing of the museum for this week, and next. They will then be removed forever, and likely plunged into the inky, chemical waters of the East River.
Among the cards, one may find pictures of such football greats as Trevor McMenamin, Mickey Trotter, and Bud “The Bludgeoner” Bakewell. Some are rudimentary sketches that a child could pull off, while others are juvenile lithographs that a child in the 20s could manage while inebriated at an Atlantic City speakeasy. None can compare to—it gives me no pleasure to say—the works of Gauguin or de Chirico. The occasional card that strikes the eye is usually reserved for covers of magazines from a past era, if only as an intellectual monument to the farce of other publications’ art departments—then and now. In one example, we see a modish gentleman escorting his disdaining mother to a sporting match, and surely she is saying what we all are: “Really, Henry, there must be something more entertaining than all of this animalistic skylarking.” His vacuous facial expression says it all.
OUT OF TOWN
After consulting Princeton cartography professor Dr. H. Lee Spiegelman, we’ve discovered that the Super Bowl itself is out of town. Spiegelman, who has worked for thirty years as the sole cartographer on staff in the orange-and-black’s Science Department, told us by phone this week that the main event—a game between Team A and Team B—will be occurring “on arid New Jersey soil.” When pressed on why any rendering of the competition would edge past the cold waters of the Hudson, Spiegelman remarked that the politics of sports games were not his "area of expertise"—an inauspicious response, to say the least.
TABLES FOR TWO
Standard protocol in any gentleman’s club this side of the Verrazzano, Scores does not allow any sort of photography, which is a shame for any reviewer who is to believed when it comes to the quality of edible fare on offer. As a special Super Bowl “deal,” the Chelsea mainstay is offering a $40 prix-fixe buffet, provided exclusively by a local barbecue joint. Don’t be alarmed when your eyeballs are more tantalized than your appetite—a lonely chafing dish with an unlit Sterno can keeps a melee of pulled meats miraculously warm, and three plastic tubs are piled high with frightening neon-colored mac ’n cheese. A brick of cornbread snuggles helplessly between the two lesser options.
Whether it’s the shame in becoming ensnared in the sharp grip of the male trap triumvirate—breasts, barbecue, and (foot)ball—or if the milk in the “cheese” portion of the radioactive side dish has gone slightly rotten, you shan’t leave without a twinge of nausea growing in your belly. Our best recommendation is to snap off a rectangle of cornbread on your way out the door, allowing the crumbs to serve as a reminder to the other patrons that the plentiful outside world indeed still exists—one must simply follow the yellow cornbread road in order to find it.
Not all is amiss at Scores, however. The drinks were delightfully punchy!
READINGS AND TALKS
As we had initially feared, few people affiliated with this charade of masculinity and its Jonestown-like fanaticism enjoy the simple pleasures of a good book. And if you define their mealy-mouthed jabbering and vulgar grunting as “talking,” then so help us all. We recommend, instead, taking the 4 train uptown to the 92nd Street Y where Claire Messud and Joyce Carol Oates will be reading selections from their latest novels on the following Saturday. Or, if you prefer staying warm within your domicile, simply throw a smooth-backed stone in any direction, and you’ll hit an Oates novel, per the mystic legend of New York. Pick it up and dive in—there are half a box of ginger-molasses biscuits in the pantry.
ON THE HORIZON
Anything but this.
*Editor’s note: An early printing of this magazine implied that this was the “inaugural” Super Bowl. This is apparently the 48th Super Bowl, and is comically referred to as Super Bowl XLVII, as if those amused by the sport all happen to also be Roman scholars.
Previously: Seasonal Affective Disorder Olympics
Photo via gwgelmansprc/flickr.