It was 1985, Super Bowl XX, the first for the New England Patriots, playing Chicago, also their first. I was living in Boston at the time, and a friend of mine from Japan was visiting the country on business and asked if I could have dinner with him on Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday.
He didn’t know.
Well I told him he was in luck, that I was probably the only Caucasian male in Boston willing to go out with him, so he, my wife and I made plans for a night on the town in Boston.
We made reservations in the North End at a nice Italian restaurant, I think Trattoria, but first went for drinks to the rotating bar on the top of the Hyatt Hotel overlooking the Charles River.
There were only three parties there. Us, a group of women, and a group of Asians. Huge room, almost empty.
We looked out over Storrow Dr and Memorial Dr., the two main roads running along either side of the river. There was no, and I mean no traffic. The streets were deserted. I’d never seen it like that.
Finished our drinks and drove to the North End. Went to the restaurant and, well, we didn’t need to have made a reservation. There was one couple just finishing when we got there. We were the only ones there.
The wait staff tried to conceal their disappointment that we had showed up. We could hear them watching the game in the kitchen, cursing as Refrigerator Perry and the Chicago defense crushed the hapless Patriots. I think they took out their frustration on our food. It was terrible, and the service was, well he tried to be civil and professional.
They were glad to see us go.
Were we mad? No, mostly amused. And amazed at what the Super Bowl could do to a city like Boston. And glad to have shown my Japanese friend a slice of American life.