NEW YORK — A large portion of Iowa’s fan base wasn’t enthusiastic about the Hawkeyes being shipped to the Pinstripe Bowl. They preferred a warmer weather climate.
Then there is Laurie Craven. She reacted to the bowl game in Yankee Stadium the way most of the fan base did for the Rose Bowl after the 2015 season.
“The atmosphere, the celebration, the excitement,” she said. “You can’t beat New York on Christmas.”
Ticket sales for the bowl were slow, and a big Iowa turnout isn’t expected for the game against Boston College on Wednesday. But for a subsection of the fan base, a postseason contest in the Big Apple was ideal. The central theme for these Hawkeyes fans is a love of New York. The bowl game is just an excuse to visit one of their favorite cities in the country.
“I love New York City, just the hustle and bustle,” said Brenton Croll, from Shenandoah, Iowa. “You can do anything.”
Even see the Rockettes at 10 p.m. on Christmas Day. It’s how Craven spent the evening with her husband, Pat.
“It was amazing,” he said. “We saw them in Branson (Mo.), but on Christmas night at Radio City [Music Hall] was classic.”
New York at Christmas was a big draw for some who made the trip. The tourist attractions were must stops.
Times Square was a must visit. There is the Christmas tree and ice skating at Rockefeller Center. The Saks Fifth Avenue light show receives rave reviews. The Empire State Building was lit up in Iowa and Boston College colors on Tuesday night.
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) December 25, 2017
The options, especially around the holiday, are limitless.
“We came to New York last Christmas for a week,” Laurie Craven said. “We love coming to New York.”
The Pinstripe Bowl is the first bowl Seth Johnson and Croll arrived at prior to game day. They took in the pregame press conference, planned on taking a Yankee Stadium tour and were heading to the Hard Rock Cafe to eat later on Tuesday.
“We didn’t get in for the Outback or Rose bowls early,” said Johnson, from Stanton, Iowa. “We made sure to get in for this one. We got to our hotel at 1 a.m. (on Tuesday morning) and now we are going to explore New York.”
Pat Craven, like so many others, preferred a warm weather destination, but wasn’t going to complain. Not when the trip included a Christmas Day bus ride around the city and a meal at Junior’s.
“We had to go there,” Pat Craven said. “They have world famous New York cheesecake. [Laurie] got the split pea soup. The food is just great there.”
They are hoping to say the same thing about the bowl game. Iowa fans aren’t coming in droves for the contest, but those that did are making sure to carve out time from their other activities for the game.
“We need that win,” Pat Craven said. “We have to snap that bowl losing streak.”