Manhattan is cold for someone from L.A., but inside private events, it feels like the same Super Bowl as in Dallas or New Orleans.
Out on the street and elsewhere in the city, the city has definitely swallowed the hoopla whole: Times Square has become “Super Bowl Boulevard,” a magnet for local news crew live shots and a default tourist stop. On the local news, the big story is local New Jersey businesses and politicians complaining about getting shut out of the windfall and how they’re not seeing any uptick from the game being played in their community.
I think I know what they’re referencing, as I’ve been lucky enough to see it up close.
Atop the double wings of the VIP balcony at the Bud Light hotel tent on the water in midtown, the Super Bowl party scene clicked in to gear on Thursday night. With a giant cruise ship parked across the West Side Highway housing 4,400 (above) Mark Cuban was one of the first faces to populate the space that required a gold wristband to ascend.
Cuban’s a semi-regular at the Bud Light hotel over the years, spending time with fellow ABC/Disney personality, ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser, in the space.
Tony Kornheiser and Mark Cuban at the Madden Bowl at the Bud Light Hotel, as Stacy Keibler and Jared Pobre, and Bootsy Bellows owners John Terzian and Markus Molinari enjoy the early festivities.
In another corner of the balcony, San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who narrowly missed out on playing in the game, was by far most popular NFL player. Both NFL players (like Jerome Bettis) and civilians sought him out, as Eric Dickerson orbited nearby.
Even ESPN talent on hand – Stuart Scott and Trey Wingo , surprisingly popular in their own right- went out of their way to spend time with Kaepernick.
This seemed genius on the way in: “Oh cool, a digital coat-check that takes your picture and texts you a digital claim stub.”
Not genius on the way out: Here’s a few thousand people waving their phones, trying to get their “black jacket” back after unlimited Bud Light.
Musically, anyone who has been around the party scene has “Roots” fatigue. Besides the fact that they’re on “Jimmy Fallon” every night, they play so many events. They really took advantage for this history of hip hop night, playing the most classic New York originated hip hop songs in a killer set.
In a nearly two-hour set of hip hop covers, beginning with “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” they ran through an entire anthology of NYC hip hop. From Audio Two and LL Cool J classics, to Wu Tang Clan and DMX anthems, to live surprise appearances by Naughty By Nature and De La Soul, it was a surprisingly strong showing. DJ Jazzy Jeff, a fellow Philadelphian like the Roots, DJ’d with the group.
By the time Bustah Rhymes came out for his sweaty set and RUN-DMC’s night closing set (above), it was just too hard to compete with the entire anthology of hip hop music. The Roots win.
As the night went on, there was a demographic divide.
The talk of the NFL players and their friends was heading to Jay Z’s 40/40 club. In contrast, the L.A. scene was all heading to one place: a Bootsy Bellows pop up two streets up.
They were the other big winer of the night, and it wasn’t just the total organization, lack of line drama, and a tight list that kept the space breathable.
On opposing sides of the dance floor: Lindsay Lohan (smoking a cigarette while tapping at her Iphone) and Paris Hilton in a black dress holding court close to the Kellan Lutz contingent on the far side.
ABC reported that Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune increased by $3 billion dollars on Thursday, on the heels of Facebook’s earnings report. He celebrated that night a few feet away from the Winklevoss twins at the Bootsy Bellows party.
Diageo’s “Liquid Cellar” space on Thursday night went until 4 a.m.
A newly brunette Stacy Kiebler was barely recognizable, and people were talking about her post-Clooney new boyfriend who was with her. Aaron Paul, Zach Levi, and Reggie Bush were also somewhere in the above photo.
Diageo made the smart move here, taking over a creative space on 27th street, around the corner from perennial hotspot Marquee. In addition to Ciroc and Bootsy Bellows’ team-up on Thursday, it will host a Don Julio event on Friday.
Before Terrell Owens found his table, he pulled out his bank card and tried to buy drinks, not realizing that this private party with Ciroc branding everywhere would be open bar.
I have to give it to publicist Ben Russo, and his very boutique army, that pulled this off with more and better talent than Anheuser-Busch, who has an entire in-house entertainment marketing department. Talent executives Pantera Sarah and Grace Fernandez were in on the mix for the Diageo space.
Bootsys has been following what I call the ESPN “ooze” model: Be on every platform and every stage where their following goes. They had a pop up in the Ciseros space on Main St at Sundance 12 days ago, and opened an Aspen location during the Christmas – New Year’s week.
Friday night’s hottest tickets include Howard Stern’s Birthday Party, ESPN’s bash with Robin Thicke and Kendrick Lamar, GQ‘s post bash at the Boom Boom Room (Sarah Silverman and Joel McHale are expected), and Playboy’s after-hours party with Nelly.
Fantastic Bootsy and Ciroc photos by Chelsea Lauren, all others except the coat check and Mark Cuban by Getty Iamges.