Every year, New York City hosts hundreds of events and welcomes more than 50 million visitors from all parts of the globe.
And Valentine’s day weekend, the jam-packed schedule of events surrounding this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend kept New York City heated up despite the freezing temperatures outside.
According to ESPNNewYork.com, parties were happening all over the city as early as Wednesday night; Thursday night, however, is when things really started to pick up, with rapper and self-proclaimed god Kanye West shutting down the Flatiron District for a massive outdoor performance. Some 10,000 tickets were handed out for the concert; fellow rapper Drake was one of the more prominent members of the crowd.
Friday saw the sports side of All-Star Weekend gain momentum, with the celebrity game at Madison Square Garden and the Rising Stars Challenge at Barclays Center. There were plenty of viewing parties at exclusive venues for those who couldn’t get a ticket to either event.
In the financial district, the Jordan Brand celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan shoe with its All-Star party. Derek Jeter and Jay-Z were among the many A-listers in attendance, and the event featured performances from Ariana Grande and Prince.
Even New York’s indie crowd got to partake in the night’s events — the Rock On Foundation Alt Star Party, which featured a concert from The Hold Steady and a DJ set from Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, completely sold out, NBA.com reports. Butler cheekily spun a mash-up of Beck’s hit “Loser” with West’s “Jesus Walks” in a nod to the previous week’s notorious Grammys incident. This event, hosted by San Antonio Spurs player Matt Bonner, helped raise money for youth arts and sports programs.
“Like any cross-section of culture, there are a lot of indie rockers who like basketball,” said Vampire Weekend’s Chris Tomson, who also played a DJ set on Friday.
By the time Sunday rolled around, it was time for the big game at Madison Square Garden. With performances by Christina Aguilera, Nas, Ariana Grande and a cameo from Nicki Minaj, there was never a dull moment to be had at the Garden.
This year marked the first time New York City has hosted an NBA All-Star Weekend since 1998. With all the events going on in these four short days, it’s clear New Yorkers were making up for those 17 years of lost time.