Misty Copeland, Plaxico Burress and other stars flock to pre-Super Bowl events

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New York doesn’t have a team in the Super Bowl this year and the game itself is being played in New Jersey, but the big game has made a huge impact on the social scene of the city that never sleeps. Any given night on the days leading up to the Super Bowl are filled with multiple event and party options, some featuring today’s top athletes.

Under Armour, an athletic apparel manufacturer, kicked off its four-day takeover of Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall with a special presentation by the company’s CEO Kevin Plank and appearances by brand ambassadors American Ballet Theatre ballerina Misty Copeland, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and MMA fighter Georges St. Pierre.

“I never thought I’d be saying this, but it’s my pleasure to introduce Under Armour’s first ballerina, Misty Copeland,” said Plank as he introduced Copeland and gave her a hug. Not to be left out, Newton quickly got in on the hugging action too. “I want a hug!” he exclaimed as he playfully embraced the dancer, who is about half of his size.

The splashy event, which served as the official launch of a marketing campaign for its Apollo Speedform running shoe, also featured a fashion show full of diverse models showing off their athletic builds in Under Armour apparel. Through February 2, Under Armour will be hosting a 6 am – 9 pm “brand experience” that includes free workouts with trainers, Hot 97 DJs, celebrity appearances and first come, first served training camps.

Copeland stayed for the Apollo SpeedForm marketing campaign launch, but had to leave in order to make it to her performance with R&B group TLC. She is also prepping for the launch of her memoir Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, due out in March. Busy ballerina!

Just a little south of Grand Central Station, another sports-related event took place at the Carlton Hotel. Pittsburgh Steeler Plaxico Burress held a black tie event to raise money for his eponymous foundation and One Goal, One Passion, the foundation of fellow Michigan State University alum Mateen Cleaves. Burress’ foundation provides scholarships to under-resourced and at-risk youth and Cleaves’ foundation offers basketball camps to youth, including those in Cleaves’ hometown of Flint.

“I don’t know if you’re familiar with Flint,” said Burress. “But it’s one of the poorest cities in the country and it’s also been listed as one of the most dangerous. One Goal, One Passion does important work. So, when we were thinking about the work that each of us do with youth, we thought it would be good to come together and support each other.”

The swanky affair featured well-dressed guests sipping cocktails, bidding on signed sports memorabilia at the silent auction and listening to Phyllisia Ross belt out tunes while playing the piano.

Ballerinas, football players, cocktails and pianos–just another night in New York City. And also proof that you don’t have to have a team in the Super Bowl to party like you do.

Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter at @Love_Is_Dope and connect with her on Facebook.