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.
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.
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.
Follow Jenny Peters and Spywitness on Twitter at @jennpeters.