NEW YORK -- Before we head into Super Bowl weekend (we've made it, people), here are some thoughts on Radio Row:
*»* The random factor is pretty high. I encountered a clearly lost Frank Caliendo at one point. Head down a flight of steps and there's Kevin Costner close-talking with an attractive blonde woman. Darryl Strawberry, Arli$$, Chelsea Handler, Jesse Pinkman, the guys from "Workaholics," the Rev. Jesse Jackson -- it goes on and on and on.
» What day you arrive at Radio Row tour says a lot about your place in the pop culture firmament. Monday is easily the low end of the bar in terms of celebrity. Vito from "The Sopranos" was hanging out, curiously lugging around a giant water jug in a Giants coozy. Former running back Jamal Lewis was also making the rounds. Radio hosts will take what they can get.
» Chris "Mad Dog" Russo can be heard anywhere, and at all times.
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» Some athletes clearly use Radio Row as a chance to test the waters for a career after football. But most athletes and celebrities are there to sell something. It's common to walk by one of the dozens of radio shows set up in the ball room and hear a host say something like, "So, (INSERT CELEB'S NAME), why are you here?" This is the publicist-requested question that counts as the only reason why Joe Montana is talking to the afternoon-drive guy from Wichita.
» A new wrinkle this year came in the form of the Super Bowl Media Lounge. With it's turquoise carpets, white furniture and large glass windows, it feels like Tony Montana's living room has been transported to midtown Manhattan. There's also a day spa in the room that makes the whole place smell like a Sephora. Or, I guess, a day spa.
» I think this is pretty well-established now, but I can again confirm that ESPN's John Clayton does not have a ponytail.
» Overheard while cruising past a Brian Baldinger interview: "I still have my real knees." Victory!
» If you've ever wanted to know what it sounds like when 5,000 men are talking at the same time, come to Radio Row. My impression: Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ...
» The biggest celeb buzz this year belonged to Jamie Foxx, who rolled in on Friday to do his SiriusXM Radio show. Lots of people had their iPhones out for Ray Charles.
» Jennifer Garner showed up Friday to promote that "Draft Day" movie starring her and Costner. Bill Simmons once wrote that Garner was the most beautiful celebrity he'd ever seen in person during his days working on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." I get it.