'N Sync Takes Manhattan By Storm

 (7/27/00, 6 p.m. ET) 'N Sync has been in the New York City area all week long, creating a fan frenzy wherever they show up. Tonight (July 27), the group's concert performance from Madison Square Garden was broadcast live on HBO. Tomorrow (July 28) 'N Sync will start the day early with an interview and free concert live outside the Today show studios in Rockefeller Plaza - for which fans started lining up more than 48 hours in advance, despite pouring rain.  Later Friday (July 28) afternoon, the pop superstars will take part in a press conference at Planet Hollywood alongside celebrity friends, including Pink, Kelly Price, Fat Joe, Donell Jones, Usher, Jordan Knight Rockmond Dunbar, Shannon Elizabeth, Darren Henson, Antawn Jamison, Josh Keaton, Stephon Marbury, Dennis Scott, Eric Strickland, Isaiah Thomas, and Youngbloodz.  All of the above- mentioned stars are among the participants in 'N Sync's Challenge For The Children II charity basketball game on Saturday (July 29) at St. John's University in Queens (tip-off time 7:30 p.m. ET). This second annual event will be followed by a post-game bash later that same evening at an undisclosed location.  'N Sync member Chris Kirkpatrick explained to LAUNCH this week why the basketball game is important to the group. "'N Sync has a charity called Challenge For Children that we're doing an event for on Saturday," he said. "Everything that we get involved with has to do with children because that's our main audience and that's who we can reach out to. We're also doing some things--which I really can't talk about right now--but we're doing some commercials coming up to make children aware on other important issues."  Kirkpatrick added that Challenge For The Children was founded by 'N Sync in 1999 to offer financial support to a variety of children's programs and charities across the nation. "It's not one charity where we give to children's cancer or to children's leukemia," he pointed out. "It's a very general children's organization where we divide it up among a lot of children's organizations. Because, you know, there's so many times that if we just focused on one disease or one thing it would be so easy to pigeonhole all the money just into that one charity, but since it's such a broad thing we can help out--not a lot--but a little in a lot of places."  Some of the organizations benefiting from this year's game include Arnold Palmer's Hospital For Children & Women, The Justin Timberlake Foundation, and the Nordoff-Robbins Foundation.  'N Sync will also make a brief appearance singing the national anthem at the annual Jayson Williams Celebrity Softball Challenge at Riverfront Stadium in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday (July 29).  -- Jason Gelman, New York