Long after the red double-decker bus carried the newly crowned Super Bowl champs through the Canyon of Heroes, hundreds of Giants fans turned celebration into chaos.
A deep blue mob rode roughshod through Lower Manhattan’s Franklin Street, going on a two-block rampage that left at least two arrested, and an unmarked police car destroyed.
The incident started innocently enough, in the middle of Broadway at the intersection of Franklin Street, when the unruly fans started climbing up street signs, surfing through the crowd, and chanting, “Let’s Go Giants!” But quickly the mood changed.
In a crude homage to Eli Manning, fans of Big Blue chucked beer bottles and cans into the air, hitting some of their fellow fans in the face and drenching them in froth. The police quickly stepped in, forcing the group down Franklin Street towards Sixth Avenue.
Not content to simmer down, the group became increasingly brash, briefly jumping onto the roofs of the cars lining Franklin Street as they pleaded for their comrades to cheer them on. The group continued to the intersection of Franklin and Church Streets where they came to a standstill in front of police barricades, continuing to chant and pop confetti into the crowd.
The situation reached its crux when individuals from the crowd climbed onto an unmarked police car parked just inside the barricades. People from the mob took turns atop the police cruiser, first jumping up and down on the trunk and hood, before moving to the roof to get a higher vantage point.
When it became clear that damage was being done to the car, some fans climbed on top of the vehicle, catapulted themselves into the air, and body slammed the roof, collapsing it entirely. Another fan stomped the windshield of the vehicle, leaving it in shambles.
Giants fan Mohamed Yousef, 22, watched the incident unfurl.
“A bunch of people just took their shirts off and jumped on top of the police car,” Yousef said. “It was stupid, crazy, and unnecessary.”
After the car had taken a five minute beat-in, police quickly apprehended two of the shirtless ruffians, slamming them to the ground and cuffing them. The arresting officer had no comment on the incident, but verified that the destroyed car was in fact a police cruiser.
Ars Metnak, 22, said he had seen the same group of fans jumping on top of a van near the Century 21 in the Financial District earlier in the day.
“I don’t get it, the way they are acting is crazy,” said Metnak.
In an ironic twist, Herman Maisonave, 47, of Queens, stood just around the corner from where the perps sat in handcuffs, holding up a sign that read, “Please don’t arrest me. I’m not occupying Wall Street, just celebrating a Giants win!”
“I’m just here to poke fun at the NYPD, and give Giants fans something to laugh at,” Maisonave said. “I saw this coming.”
And while the rest of the dispersed mob lauded Maisonave’s sign as they walked by, the longtime Giants fan had harsh words for those that caused the bedlam.
“What they did, puts a sour note on all Giants fans,” he said.
With a blue “NY” painted on her face and grinning as if she was awaiting entry into Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory, Melinda Gomez, 9, had a single word to describe how she felt about missing school in favor of the Giants’ Super Bowl parade.
“Happy,” the fourth-grader said.
“Happy is an understatement,” added her father, David Gomez, who’d brought the family in from Long Island for the occasion.
Melinda was one of countless pint-sized Giants fans who’d been excused from school to help pack the championship procession route along Broadway in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday.
In Thomas Paine Park, father-child piggyback rides were a common sight and kids, seeking better views, perched themselves in trees like oversized pigeons. In one of those trees, about 15 feet above ground, were 10-year-old twins Eric and Chris Schneider, who wore matching Giants Super Bowl shirts. They’d taken the Long Island Railroad here with their father, David Schneider, who sat underneath the tree like a spotter at an Olympic gymnastics event.
“These guys never miss school,” the elder Schneider said. “But this is worth it.”
Schneider said he had no misgivings about removing his kids from school, since they’re both straight A students.
Plus, “their mom said it was okay,” he said.
Across Worth Street, where tour buses lined the curb and passing fans barked out expletive-filled chants, a group of eager elementary school children stood on steps outside the City Clerk Office. Some were giggling, others had missing teeth, but nearly all held up signs that read “Go Giants!,” “PS1 Loves U,” or “PS1 Mrs. Curry’s Class.”
An adult identifying herself as their teacher, Mrs. Curry, denied that the kids were skipping class.
“They’re not missing school,” she insisted, noting that their building was just down the street and that the event was a cultural experience.
“It’s their lunch,” she also made clear.
Back in the park, with anticipation and raucousness building as floats neared the vicinity,
Mario Gomez of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., stood on a bench alongside his children, Mario, 10 and Odaliana, 7. Immediately after the Giants had clinched the title Sunday night, Gomez said he’d obtained permission from each of his kids’ teachers with regard to their absence on Tuesday.
He stressed that he’d attached a condition to his kids attending the parade.
“I made sure they did their homework,” Gomez said, with much seriousness. “I don’t want them to get penalized.”
Thousands of Giants’ fans traveled from all over the New York metro region to attend today’s Super Bowl victory parade in Lower Manhattan, but one boisterous group of supporters on Cortlandt Street only had to walk a few blocks to catch the action.
“We do whatever we want, we’re stock brokers!” said Dave Cutolo, 44, oozing with bravado.
Cutolo, of Murray Hill, was standing with a group of work associates who all worked “down the street,” he said, without identifying the company they worked for. Wearing a black coat over his brown suit and patterned yellow tie, he held a plastic red horn that he bought from a street vendor in one hand, a coffee cup half-filled with beer in the other.
Cutolo and pals all wore suits and overcoats, standing out in a sea of people clad in Giants’ blue. But their attire didn’t prevent them from mixing in with the crowd: they hooted, hollered, laughed and screamed at passerby, passing the horn around and joining in the various “Let’s Go Giants!” chants that arose out of the massive crowd bordering Broadway.
Ron McClintock, 32, a member of this stock-broking entourage, brushed off the idea that they were sacrificing time at work for a day of partying, saying that they could easily enjoy themselves while being productive.
“We’ll go back and forth,” he said, confidence dripping out of his pores. “We’ll go back (to the office), make some calls, make some money, and then come back.”
And the celebration would last all night, he said.
“See all these women?” he said, motioning to the enormous crowd. “I’m going to be like a fish net, scooping up everything.”
McClintock and Elvin Lopez, 31, were eager to express their love of this season’s Giants’ team, and Lopez said the way the team fought through the playoffs was representative of the city’s attitude.
“It’s such a New York story,” he said. “Everyone’s walking a little taller today, a little prouder.”
“It’s the greatest thing,” McClintock said. “No one stops (the Patriots) but New York.”
But Cutolo, despite being a Giants fan, wasn’t totally thrilled with the game’s outcome.
“I had money on the game,” he said, explaining that he needed the final score to end with the numbers five and three in order to take home the cash.
He wasn’t letting his lost wager depress him too much, though: while he and his friends attempted to whip the surrounding crowd into a frenzy, he cast an optimistic lens on the rest of his afternoon.
“I’ve got to go inside and make $2,000,” he said with a smile. “Then we can go back (here) and have fun.”
While the New York Giants paraded up the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan this morning, Richard Sedotto was making money in buckets, with a business model so simple, passing Wall Streeters were praising his brilliance.
One look down the block and it was easy to see why. Almost everyone waiting for the parade at Broadway and Exchange Street were standing on a bright orange Home Depot bucket in an attempt to get a better view of the event, buckets Sedotto sold for $10 a pop.
In four hours of work, Sedotto and two friends sold nearly all of their 800 buckets.
“I’m sending my kids to college after this,” he sang to passers-by who scoffed at his price, then shouting. “I got the market cornered! 100 people have called me a genius. One more and I’ll believe them.”
A contractor from Long Island, Sedotto said he stands on buckets everyday in replace of a step stool. At the Yankee’s victory parade in 2007 Sedotto and friends brought a few just for themselves. After a number of fellow spectators offered to buy the pails from under their feet they realized they were standing on a goldmine.
They first sold buckets in New Orleans after the Saint’s Super Bowl win two years ago. Tuesday New York turned out to be much more profitable. Since, Sedotto has made selling buckets a loss-proof business.
“Say you only sell 400 buckets, then you just return the ones you didn’t sell,” he said. “You buy them on credit and you never spend any money.”
Another big part of Sedotto’s business model was heckling bystanders. His commodity was so hot, it seemed he could say anything.
“Hey, you’re short. You need a bucket,” he shouted.
The bucket man may now be popping up at more parades in more towns, from Philly to Boston to Chicago.
Steven Gorilik was supposed to be at work at the Colonial Insurance office on the other side of the street, but he couldn’t get across. He was so taken with Sedotto’s business he jumped on a bucket and helped with sales.
“This is the best business idea,” he said. “I’m going to be down on the next block at the next (parade).”
Sedotto said he’s not worried about competition because he had made so much money on just one block, pulling a thick wad of uncounted bills out of his coat pocket.
By the end of the parade there were discarded buckets everywhere, but Sedotto wasn’t interested in picking them up for resale; in fact he was gone well before the last float.
“It was well worth the $10,” said Frank Esposito, from State Island, who stood on a bucket with his girlfriend, Danielle Ballestero, on his shoulders. “I’m stealing his idea.”
But when the parade ended Esposito was left holding a bucket.
“Now what am I going to do with this $10 bucket?” Esposito wondered before turning around and shouting “$9 bucket.”
A parted sea of blue jerseys and hats lined New York City’s Canyon of Heroes for this morning’s ticker-tape parade. The celebration was in honor of the Giants win over the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Floats carrying the victorious football team cruised up the wide, sunny avenue to chants of “Let’s go Giants,” and bone-rattling vuvuzela honks.
At the tail end of the parade, where the floats turn off Broadway and snake down Worth Street, a family from Bushwick, Brooklyn, waited excitedly for just a peek of their team. Together, they reveled in some home team pride and relived happy moments spent watching games together as a family.
Dimitri Vega, 35, and her sister Denise Gonzalez, 36, took the day off of work teaching nursery school and third grade at Salve Regina Catholic Academy. In tow were a gaggle of kids playing a sanctioned form of hooky — nieces, nephews and their friends. Among the lucky youngsters were Gonzalez’s niece, Gabby, 16 in a perfectly plaited fishbone braid, and her son Ronnie, 8, bundled in fleece and a windbreaker.
Instead of trigonometry classes and spelling lessons the troupe was dressed up in red white and blue, ribbons in hair, hats on head, cameras in hand, ready to fully celebrate the championship win.
“I’m hoping to see Manning with the trophy,” Vega said.
Where they stood on the corner of Worth and Lafayette, the crowd was thick. People were packed in behind police barricades craning their necks, straining their gaze to catch the top of the parade. Fans amused themselves with chants and cheers — hollering gleefully at the sight of rolls of toilet tissue being launched out of windows, and reams of office paper raining down from above.
While the Vega and Gonzalez clan waited, they recounted memories of fun from this football season, and especially Sunday’s big game. The crew giggled and smiled as they recalled Raymond Gonzalez’s strict game-watching rules.
“We watch the games on Sundays at home and my husband is very superstitious, so we’re not allowed to move around or do anything,” Denise Gonzalez said. “We have to have the same seats. At half time, everyone gets to get up take a breather, come right back and make sure you’re in the same spot. And you’re not allowed to move until the game is over — no changing.
“If you’re standing, you’re standing for that quarter — if the Giants are doing well,” she said. “If you were sitting, you’re sitting for that quarter.”
During one game, Gonzalez’s infant niece was wailing, but Raymond would not let her mom pick her up or comfort her because the baby started the game on her father’s lap, Vega said.
During the Super Bowl, hilarity ensued when he became overenthusiastic about how the game was going.
“I think my favorite moment of the Super Bowl was watching my uncle fall through a patio,” Gabby said. “He gets really excited about it and it just overwhelms him and he just fell through our patio.”
“And he’s like ‘that’s ok, if we win, it’s ok, I’ll get a broken leg, it’s ok,’” Gonzalez said.
Everyone chuckled together remembering the scene — little Ronnie put his hand to his mouth and laughed. It was another funny episode shared among the family during a winning football season.
At around 11:30 a.m. the air started to fill with little bits of white paper and sirens wailed, announcing the approaching head of the parade. The Vega and Gonzalez crew got out their cameras, loaded Ronnie onto their shoulders and prepared to see what they could see.
“Even if you get a glimpse of them, it’ll be worth it,” Vega said.
This story was written by Nicole Guzzardi
Thousands of people gathered at Long Beach on Super Bowl Sunday, daring to dive into the bone-chilling water as part of the town’s annual Polar Bear Super Bowl Splash in Long Beach, Long Island.
And splash they did. Of the almost 10,000 in attendance, about 4,000 thrill seekers rushed the waters to have a little pre-Super Bowl fun and raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.
As the sun glistened down on huddles of people waiting to take the plunge in 40 degree weather, Make a Wish Foundation volunteers walked up and down selling merchandise on the beach.
Melissa Raffaele, 25, a volunteer from Long Island, sold bracelets and magnets to the crowd, and though she wasn’t taking the dive herself, she was excited to see the massive turnout.
“I am not plunging, because it’s cold,” she said with a laugh, “But I think its great that all these people are plunging and donating.”
Despite the weather being unusually warm for early February, many testified as to just how cold the water really was: the low 40s, plungers said.
First-time attendees Cory Dennis 23, and Dan Butera, 24, donned bathing suits with winter hats and gloves as they stood on the boardwalk attempting to warm up after their chilling swim.
The two men, both of Suffolk County, decided to take the plunge to help train for an upcoming Tough Mudder, an endurance event in which participants must tackle extreme obstacles like water and fire.
“I’m regaining feeling in my feet and hands,” Butera said, while drying on the boardwalk after the plunge.
Neither of their favorite football teams made it to the Super Bowl, so the men decided they would cheer on the New York Giants by default. Next on the agenda for the two was to go watch the game.
And they didn’t waste much time wading in the water either.
“We were in for 25 seconds, we clocked it,” Dennis said.
The first Super Bowl Splash began in 1999 in memory of 4-year-old Paulie Bradley, who died of bone cancer.
Patsy Bradley, Paulie’s aunt, 57, of Long Beach, Long Island, has helped run the event ever since it began.
She said her brother Michael was looking for a way to honor his son. He joined his friends, Kevin McCarthy and Pete Myers, who decided to take a winter swim.
“They were sitting around one morning on Super Bowl Sunday, waiting to watch the game, so they decided they were going to go in the water,” she said.
Michael joined them, and afterward the men decided they would take the swim every year to honor Paulie and in support of the Make a Wish Foundation, she said. And so, what would turn out to be an annual extravaganza began.
“I’ve been here every year, I do not go in the water though,” Bradley said, “The rest of the family does, but not I. I’m the one in charge of the money.”
Bradley’s post plunge plans were to join her family in watching the Super Bowl. When asked whom she was rooting for, she replied, “Oh, the Giants!”
Meet Grandma Leoni
Wearing a white Eli Manning road jersey with dark sunglasses, and clutching a red and blue football, a giddy Dylan Bisch arrived in Tompkins Square Park Sunday afternoon with a clear objective.
“If it’s gonna be Super Bowl Sunday, and the Giants are gonna be in it, I feel like you have to come out and throw a football,” said Bisch, a 30-year-old artist and East Village resident.
Accompanying Bisch was his 23-year-old roommate, Tim Morley, a recent transplant from California and self-described Giants fan “by osmosis.” The friends tossed the pigskin back and forth on this cool, sunny afternoon, with Bisch, a devout Giants follower since childhood, maintaining that the activity was putting him “in the [Super Bowl] mindset.”
To millions of Americans, the Super Bowl is a national holiday and television extravaganza, a social gathering that revolves around food, beer, commercials, and the country’s most popular annual sporting event. But to others like Bisch, and to many in the Northeast, the day carried greater emotional significance. To these faithful, it was a day of carefully planned rituals, superstition, and thoughtful wardrobe selection.
Bisch said he planned to watch the big game at Lucy’s, the Alphabet City dive bar where he’d experienced the Giants’ nail-biting Super Bowl win over the Patriots to end the 2007 season. His rationale for heading back, however, bordered on the bizarre: it was the tale of a dusty pub, a mysterious old man, and a magic lamp.
“The game was in the balance,” Bisch recalled of the dramatic finish. “And this old dude went over to this lamp in the corner of [Lucy’s] bar that hadn’t been working the entire time.”
“He touched it, and it [turned] on,” said Bisch, with wonder. “and the Giants won. That was like a magic moment. So I’m gonna go back to Lucy’s to watch the game today, and I’m gonna look out for that lamp.”
Across town and on the Upper West Side, Jami Brown, a Giants season ticket holder since she was “in the womb,” was en route to Prohibition, the bar where she and her sister Sam had watched the last Giants-Patriots Super Bowl, four years ago. Wearing Giants socks, hats, shirts, and “undergarments” Sunday, the pair was “super nervous but excited,” reported Jami, 38. To help ease the tension, the siblings had spent a chunk of Sunday baking a cake, a red velvet special featuring blue and white icing and a ‘NY’ logo.
“I’ve been making a cake out of nervous energy,” said Jami, who works in fashion sales and lives on the Upper West Side. “I’ve done that for all the playoff games. It’s a pre-game tradition.”
Jose Romero, a 45-year old building superintendent from the East Village, didn’t bake any cakes Sunday, but he too was spirited in the fashion realm. Donning an “official” Victor Cruz jersey, the offensive lineman-sized Romero appeared confident as he walked down East 14th Street roughly three hours before kickoff.
“[The Giants] are gonna win. I got a good feeling about it,” he said, predicting a 37-20 New York triumph.
“I’m calm right now, but once 5:30, 6 o’clock comes, there won’t be a quiet moment in my house,” said Romero, who mentioned that he was hosting a large Super Bowl party with a food menu that’s “off the hook.”
“I got a 60 inch [TV] and surround sound,” he said.
A few blocks west, Anthony Lopez, a 27-year-old maintenance worker who lives in the East Village, was also showing much devotion to his beloved squad.
“This is a commemorative jacket from the past Super Bowls that the Giants have won,” said Lopez, pointing at multiple patches stitched to his blue and white coat. The goateed Lopez, wearing a Giants cap angled backwards and sideways, said the jacket had cost him $125.
“I can’t wait for tonight,” Lopez said.
About six hours later, the Giants would win an instant Super Bowl classic, 21-17. Hopefully Lopez had space on his jacket for another patch.
From mouthwatering sausage and pepperoni pies to blazing garlic parmesan chicken wings, New York City bars and restaurants are prepping to satisfy the thirst and appetites of hungry football fans this Sunday when the New York Giants take on the New England Patriots for the Super Bowl XLVI.
“I like the Super Bowl, it’s crazy,” said pizza maker Danny Asitimbay of Fat Sal’s Pizza on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “I have no time to watch the play because it’s busy here, but I’m working hard.”
This year, specials at Fat Sal’s include a large pie and 10 wings for $21 or, for wings only fans, a bucket of 40 wings for under $26. Asitimbay, who has been working in the pizza business for the past seven years, said Fat Sal’s usually sells up to 2,000 wings on Super Bowl weekend alone. He added that the wings served at the pizzeria are “always fresh, never frozen,” and that extra ingredients had to be bought in order to prepare for the second biggest eating day of the year, following Thanksgiving.
Chicken wings take the spotlight as the most popular game-day food. According to a report from the National Chicken Council (NCC), Americans are expected to eat 1.25 billion chicken wings – 100 million pounds – this weekend.
By noon on Saturday, Atomic Wings already had 50 pre-orders for Sunday’s game.
“We regularly sell six to eight cases of wings a day,” said owner Christopher Lyn. “But for the Super Bowl, we’ll sell around 100 cases of wings – a substantial amount.”
With around 250 wings in each case, Lyn projects around 25,000 wings will be sold and devoured by consumers during the biggest wing-eating day of the year, despite a price increase on poultry. The NCC said wing prices always surge during the year’s fourth quarter, when eateries start to prepare for the Super Bowl.
Lyn added that the Giants, being from the Empire State, would impact Sunday’s sales because “we’re in a New York market.”
But while pizza and wings may be on the minds of most Americans this year, bars are also expecting a business boost. On Friday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg temporarily renamed Brady’s Bar in uptown Manhattan to Manning’s for the weekend, declaring it “the luckiest bar in New York City,” just as he did when the two teams battled on the gridiron in 2008.
“If I wasn’t going to be in Indianapolis, I would be spending my Sunday afternoon where I think a lot of you should spend it, and that is here at Manning’s,” Bloomberg said.
Owner Dan Brady, an avid Giants fan, said yesterday that altering the name of the bar is a fun change.
“We did it four years ago, and everybody loved it,” he said. “Everybody finds it to be a great thing. Hopefully it’ll bring the Giants good luck.”