Super Bowl week in NYC: A visitor's ultimate seven-day sports guide

A week filled with six sports, four boroughs, two states, and one good time
01/27/2014 4:56 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Super Bowl XLVIII is the main event Sunday, but there's a week's worth of great sports in NYC leading up to it, too.(AP)
Congratulations, intrepid football fan! Super Bowl XLVIII is this Sunday, and you've landed in New York City to spend a week's vacation investigating the Big Apple ahead of the NFL's 2013-14 finale.

To paraphrase U2, it's a cold and wet January day as you touch the ground at JFK, and in the words of Alicia Keys, now you're in New York, there's nothin' you can't do.

Surely, to fill your days before the big game, you're going to want to check out the sights of the City; from the Empire State Building to Lady Liberty, Bloomingdale's to Chelsea Market, Coney Island to Central Park, "Today" to "Late Night," you've got all the "tourist destinations" on your radar. But what about when the sun goes down and the "City That Never Sleeps" comes alive?

That, my friends, could mean a whole lot more sports for you and your crew, so in the words of Jay-Z, we welcome you to New York City with the Ultimate Sports Visitor's Guide for Super Bowl week, a look at the events that the Follow our travels below and on these social platforms:

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MONDAY NIGHT: A New York State of Mind
If you've been following the music world over the last few months, surely you'd have known ahead of time - and gotten tickets too, because it's been sold out for most of those few months - that Billy Joel becomes Madison Square Garden's next "franchise" in 2014, with the Piano Man set to play one concert a month at the Garden until the fans say when. That began Monday night, and to kick off your week in the Big Apple, there would have been no better way than with Long Island's finest.

Of course, if you wanted to dive right in to sports, well, NYC certainly had you covered. In Brooklyn, the Nets hosted the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center in what amounts to a battle for the Atlantic Division lead. The Raptors edged the Nets in a thrilling game that came down to the wire.

(Editor's Note: That's exactly what Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman did to cap off his first full day in the area, and the YES Network cameras caught up with the All-Pro defensive back at the Barclays Center roughly 24 hours after he and his teammates landed at Newark Airport for their big week.)

TUESDAY NIGHT: Garden of Rivalry
You're obviously a sports fan if you're in town for the Super Bowl…so why not take in one of the biggest rivalries in the NBA? You can do that Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden when the Knicks and Celtics renew hostilities at 7:30 p.m. The Knicks have won two in a row after dispatching the Lakers on Sunday, while Boston is on a two-game skid after Sunday's loss to the Nets and is 2-13 so far in 2014. Surely, you already know that New York fans often take pride in the misery of archrival Boston's struggles, so that will just make the atmosphere at MSG even more rabid come Tuesday night.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Hockey in a Baseball stadium during Football's week?
Indeed, the title is true, as the New York Islanders "hosted" the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night at 7 p.m. for the second and final NHL Stadium Series game in the Bronx. The Rangers and Islanders play each other three times between Jan. 21-31, and the Blueshirts, fresh off a 7-3 win over the Devils on Sunday in the Stadium Series opener, rallied from an early deficit to pull of a 2-1 win to get the Yankee Stadium sweep.

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THURSDAY NIGHT: Music to your ears
After two straight days of sports madness, you may need a quick breather, so why not head out for some local music? There's always plenty of shows in the area, but the Super Bowl has the schedule beefed up even more. Depending on your musical taste, you can check out TLC at the Beacon Theatre, John Fogerty out on Long Island, or the New Politics at the Bowery Ballroom - or, if comedy is your thing, then you can check out one of Shawn & Marlon Wayans' two shows at Caroline's on Broadway.

Then again, you are here for a sports bonanza, and you have two hot choices for the night: you can head back to MSG for Knicks vs. Cavaliers, or, if three basketball games in four days isn't your bag, you can take one of 11 subway lines and return to Barclays Center for FOX Fight Night, a boxing card headlined by WBA International Welterweight Champion Luis Collazo defending his title against Victor Ortiz.

FRIDAY NIGHT: Hello (again), Brooklyn!
Brooklyn may be becoming a second home by now, but once again, there was another pretty good basketball game in the BKN Friday night when the Nets hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder. J-Kidd's squad started their so-far 10-2 January with a win in OKC on Jan. 2, while the Northwest Division-leading Thunder were fresh off a Wednesday tilt in Miami that carried them into New York on a nine-game winning streak. The Thunder proved too much for Brooklyn, but the Nets held their own in holding Kevin Durant under 30 points for the first time in 12 games.

SATURDAY: School's in session, but the night's alright for fightin'
Saturday was another busy day on the hardwood at Madison Square Garden, as the so-called "World's Most Famous Arena" hosted an afternoon double-dip of college hoops, featuring the local St. John's Red Storm against Big East rival Marquette followed by Georgetown's massive upset against No. 3-ranked Michigan State.

Once that was over, it was just a hop, skip, and a jump via Penn Station out to Newark, where UFC crashed the Prudential Center that night with a card headlined by two title fights, Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber for the Bantamweight Title and Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas for the Featherweight crown.

The Garden rocked again that evening as the Knicks played host to the defending-champion Heat. New York hung tough with LeBron James and Co., but the Heat pulled away from the still struggling Knicks.

SUNDAY: The (video) game before the game
Congratulations, you've made it to game day! Most fortunately, the weather played nice, allowing you to tailgate in comfort. But if you don't want to sit outside in a parking lot all day and don't want to sift through hours of pre-game hype, then why not head to the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens for a tribute to video games?

"Madden NFL: 25 Years and Running" opened at 11:30 a.m., and allowed you to simulate Seahawks vs. Broncos on a handful of Maddens from systems past - including the original 1988 Apple II computer version - before heading to the real thing; those two teams were actually AFC West rivals 25 years ago, so the original might be the way to go.

MONDAY: So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye?
It's been a long week, traveler -- though you know doubt enjoyed your stay more than the Broncos -- but now it's time to say goodbye to all our company as life gets back to "normal" here in NYC. I mean, you could stay for Nets/Sixers at Barclays, another Billy Joel performance at MSG, Devils/Avalanche at Prudential Center…

Do you see now why they call this the City That Never Sleeps?

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