By Desirée Taylor
MetLife Stadium stood virtually empty this afternoon. The Secaucus Junction train station almost deserted. Compare this to the post-game crush when thousands of passengers pushed their way through here, leaving the NFL’s first mass transit Super Bowl. Some were annoyed and complained.
“Three hours we got out of our seats and it took three hours. We got down to the bottom of the line, we got to our hotel which was only a mile away from the stadium. There just were a lot of people and alack of direction. They didn’t seem to load the trains very fast. It seemed inefficient,” a Super Bowl attendee said.
“I thought Gov. Christie might have held up our train system last night,” another game attendee said.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski’s calling for a review. Today, NJ Transit played its best defense.
“The reality is we delivered a whole lot of people; 40 percent of people to and from the game safely, efficiently and securely,” said NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein.
Weinstein also rejected claims that a host of passengers passed out from the heat.
“There were some tweets about that, they were not true. There were some incidents in which emergency service personnel provided people with a bottle of water and some fresh air,” Weinstein said.
Today’s weather created more transportation problems. Delays and cancellations plagued travelers at Newark Liberty International Airport. Some fans at the Homewood Suites Hotel considered spending another night.
“It’s better the snow came today than yesterday for the game. My flight was canceled,” said Seattle Seahawks fan Leticia Perez.
The undisputed Super Bowl champion — Seattle. Still undecided — whether New Jersey scored any significant economic benefits for hosting the event.
“I would expect the NFL’s number of $500 million will be accurate. There was a lot of activity in New York and New Jersey. The lion’s share may have been New York, but there was a lot of activity in New Jersey.”
Chamber officials admit they were wrong about one prediction — that hotels would be booked months in advance. In fact, some had vacancies during Super Bowl weekend.
Kirkos, who attended the game, claimed the roads around MetLife Stadium were surprisingly free of traffic yesterday, contrary to the gridlock many had predicted. And he believes authorities appropriately handled Friday’s security scare — when area hotels received envelopes with a powdery substance initially identified as non-hazardous, perhaps cornstarch.
“That’s the true test, and because it was handled immediately and promptly and professionally that makes us a reason to host big events in the Meadowlands,” said Kirkos.
He hopes New Jersey will host another Super Bowl.