Tennis great Serena Williams enjoys the GBK & Aruba DirecTV Gift Lounge during the 2014 NYC Super Bowl weekend.
Tennis great Serena Williams enjoys the GBK & Aruba DirecTV Gift Lounge during the 2014 NYC Super Bowl weekend. (Photo courtesy GBK.)

New York City rolled out the red carpet all over town during the days leading into the NFL's Super Bowl XLVIII, with parties popping up from river to river, uptown and downtown. From huge bashes to small intimate affairs, there was so much going on that celebrity attendees were literally spread across the city.

The fun started with collecting some swag, at the GBK & Aruba DirecTV Gift Lounge at the Gansevoort Hotel on 13th Street. Athletes including Deion Sanders, Serena Williams, AJ MCCarron and Desmond Howard, along with actors like Peter Facinelli and Nina Dobrev made the scene, where they received plenty of gifts, from a four-night vacation to Aruba to diamond-studded Luxorman watches from www.ItsHot.com, top-shelf products to stay gorgeous from Keratin Complex and Very Pretty Skin, as well as Contraband Hats to keep warm in the frigid New York temperatures and even a custom-designed Bobblehead made in their own image from www.AllBobbleheads.com. They nibbled on Sabra hummus and guacamole, tried beer-and-potato-chip cupcakes from Cake That! and sipped on Liquorizh, who served their flavored vodka cocktails in commemorative Super Bowl XLVIII Tervis tumblers topped off with vodka-infused "Liquor Whipped" cream.

Getting properly lubricated was a theme of the weekend, as liquor companies vied for partygoers' attentions. Patron Tequila joined forces with Maxim Magazine for a "Big Game Weekend" presented by Talent Resources Sports, two nights of revelry at Espace way over by the Hudson River on 42nd Street; that top-shelf libation as well as food catered by Phillippe Chow and performances by DJ Sebastian Ingrosso and Kendrick Lamar drew lots of familiar faces, from "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul to gorgeous Alyssa Milano. But the big buzz there came late Friday night, as Justin Bieber swept in at 2 a.m.

 The Vampire Diaries  beauty Nina Dobrev attends the Don Julio 1942 Super Bowl bash at Liquid Cellar in NYC.
The Vampire Diaries beauty Nina Dobrev attends the Don Julio 1942 Super Bowl bash at Liquid Cellar in NYC. ( Photo courtesy Don Julio Tequila)
, surrounded by burly bodyguards. He closed the joint at 4 a.m., but wasn't willing to engage any of his fans who hung out nearby, hoping for a moment with the bad-boy teen superstar. Instead, he gave them the finger at one point.

Over at Liquid Cellar on 27th Street on Friday night, Don Julio Tequila offered up an elegant soiree that started at midnight and drew actors Ryan Phillippe and "Fruitvale Station" star Michael B. Jordan, dancer Maxim Chmerkovskiy and rapper J. Cole in for a few sips of their 1942 Anejo. That tequila was so good that at nearly 2 a.m., J. Cole was inspired to jump on stage and do a quick set of his Grammy nominated hits!

Way downtown on Friday night at Pier 36 on the Lower East Side, the hot-ticket ESPN Party packed Basketball City for a bash that included performances by Kendrick Lamar and headliner Robin Thicke.
The Patron girls served up plenty of tequila at Maxim Magazine s  Big Game Weekend  Super Bowl parties.
The Patron girls served up plenty of tequila at Maxim Magazine s Big Game Weekend Super Bowl parties. (Photo courtesy Talent Resources Sports)
Naturally, the crowd formed, including elite athletes Michael Strahan, Evander Holyfield, Lindsay Vonn, Tim Tebow, Keyshawn Johnson and Terrell Owens as well as director Spike Lee and actors Ice T, Aaron Paul (he was at almost every party all weekend!), Laura Prepon, Holly Robinson Peete and Wendell Pierce.

Saturday saw Jay Z and wife Beyoncé performing at the DirecTV Party at Pier 40 at Hudson River Park, while earlier in the day ex-pro footballer Hank Baskett and his very pregnant wife Kendra Wilkinson were throwing a party that benefited a good cause. At the Celebrity GAEMS XP Pro Gaming Party, held at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Hotel, Baskett and his VIP friends, as well as the general public, played all sorts of video games, watched complicated drones take off into the air and danced in a competition, hoping to win an LG 55-inch television.
Sabra feeds  Twilight  star Peter Facinelli hummus at the GBK & Aruba DirecTV Gift Lounge during the 2014 NYC Super Bowl weekend.
Sabra feeds Twilight star Peter Facinelli hummus at the GBK & Aruba DirecTV Gift Lounge during the 2014 NYC Super Bowl weekend. ( Photo courtesy GBK)
In a huge silent auction, Baskett offered up plenty of sports memorabilia, including a signed Russell Wilson Seahawks NFL helmet for $900 (and probably worth twice that by Monday morning), with all proceeds going to the Griffin Gives Foundation, which is dedicated to helping charity organizations continue their vital work. That was a refreshing element to a New York Super Bowl weekend that was all about over-the-top partying!

Follow Jenny Peters and Spywitness on Twitter at @jennpeters.