New Yorkers, Come Visit New York

go local stickerlogo New Yorkers, Come Visit New YorkAre skyrocketing gas prices nixing your vacation plans? Here’s a cheap getaway: Stay home.

NYC & Company is launching a new campaign this week called "Go Local."

"We’re somewhat bored with the word ‘staycation,’" noted George Fertitta, CEO of the city’s tourism agency.

Beginning Thursday, NYC & Company street crews will be hitting up all the major transit hubs, passing out pamphlets about all the events, activities, and attractions happening right here in the five boroughs — things like the Governors Island Folk Music Festival, Latino Film Fest, and, yes, those makeshift waterfalls that everyone seems to be talking about.

"This isn’t a consolation prize — this is as good as it gets," said Mr. Fertitta. "It’s not a concession to stay in New York… I mean, I never used to go to the restaurants in Queens. I live in Manhattan. The first time I went to a Greek restaurant in Queens, I literally felt like I was on vacation. I didn’t know anybody in the restaurant; everybody was dressed differently. The whole mood was infinitely different than this hypersophistocation of Manhattan. It was fabulous! And it was half the price! Which is even better."

Herewith, full announcement:

NYC & COMPANY ENCOURAGES RESIDENTS LOOKING TO VACATION THIS SUMMER

TO ‘GO LOCAL’

Six-Week Initiative Highlights Activities Across the Five Boroughs to Help Residents Explore One of the World’s Top Travel Destinations and Off-Set Vacation Costs during Recession—

—Weekend of July 25 events include Governors Island Folk Music Festival, Rockaway Beach Sandcastle Contest, and the Latino Film Festival

New York, NY (July 23, 2008)—As part of the recently announced ‘Go Local’ campaign, NYC & Company—New York City’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization—will kick off a six-week initiative, beginning tomorrow, encouraging local residents to discover the City’s five boroughs this summer. Growing economic concerns and rising gas prices has made travel difficult, but ‘Go Local’ will help New York City residents still get the most out of their summer with weekly itineraries on the top activities taking place across the five boroughs. Over the next six weeks, the NYC & Company campaign will encourage residents to explore the City they live—a city widely recognized as the media, culture, dining, sports, and arts & entertainment capital of the world. Campaign elements will include print advertising, up-to-the-minute online information at nycvisit.com/golocal and street teams at locations across the city including Grand Central Terminal, Union Square and the Bedford Avenue subway stop in Brooklyn.

“With rising gas prices and an uncertain economy, our goal is to make New York City accessible and appealing to locals and visitors alike–regardless of their budget,” said George Fertitta, CEO, NYC & Company. “While some may find traveling difficult this summer, they should not feel like they have to compromise their normal getaway plans. Nearly 12.5 million people from around the world are expected to come and experience the excitement and vibrancy of New York City this summer—our residents have a tremendous opportunity to do the same. There is an abundance of activities across the five boroughs, many costing little to no money, and everyone—from our citizens to our 46 million visitors—should take the opportunity to explore them.”

New York City forecasts an estimated 12.5 million visitors between June and August this year, up from 12 million visitors in 2007. Hotel occupancies remain strong, with the month of June reaching an 89 percent occupancy rate with an average daily room rate of $325.

This week’s top highlight: Governors Island, one of New York City’s most historically interesting yet undiscovered attractions, offers one of the best vantage points for viewing The New York City Waterfalls, as well as numerous free outdoor activities including free Bike Fridays (govisland.com), which allows visitors to borrow a bike entirely for free on Fridays. Also on Governors Island, on Saturday, July 26, folk-blues balladeer Eric Bibb will perform as part of the Governors Island Folk Music Festival (folksontheisland.com), which takes place every Saturday at Colonel’s Row through August 2. The free folk music festival features outdoor concerts beginning at 1.30pm. Traveling to and from the Island is free and easy with the frequent ferry service which leaves for Governors Island from the Battery Maritime Building at the corner of South and Whitehall Streets in Lower Manhattan

Additional highlights throughout the five boroughs are as follows:

Manhattan

Ideal for “summer-Fridays”, locals should take the opportunity to enjoy the new Dali exhibit currently on show at The Museum of Modern Art (moma.org) while admission is free on Friday evenings from 4-8pm. Additionally, on Friday, July 25, RiverFlicks for Kids (nyc.gov/parks.org) will show the classic film E.T at Pier 46 at Charles Street. The free outdoor screening will begin at 8:30pm and includes free popcorn. Continuing the theme of cinema under the stars, on Saturday July 26, Los Paquetes de Paquita will be screened outdoors as part of the Latino Film Festival (nylatinofilm.com/events/under_stars) at Thomas Jefferson Park. Festivities begin at 6pm and will include a special guest appearance by legendary actress and singer Maria Victoria.

Brooklyn

For a perfect view of The New York City Waterfalls (nycvisit.com/waterfalls/ nycwaterfalls.org) at night, locals should walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to enjoy spectacular views of the illuminated monumental-scale public art installation as well as stunning views of the City that residents often overlook. Worth the walk alone, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory situated at Fulton Ferry Landing Pier serves delicious ice cream and is open from noon until 11pm Thursday – Sunday throughout the summer. Reachable by the number 2,3,4 and 5 and B and Q subway lines, on Friday, July 25, world-renowned composer Philip Glass and his ensemble will perform with Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Marta Topferova to avant garde visuals chronicling cultures around the world at Prospect Park Bandshell as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! (briconline.org) 30 summers of free performances festivities, and on Sunday, July 27, the free JellyNYC (jellynyc.com) pool party suitable for all ages will take place at McCarren Pool from 2pm – 7pm.

Queens

Located on the Rockaway Peninsula of Queens, Rockaway Beach is America’s longest municipal beach totaling seven and a half miles, and is a great place to cool off from the summer heat. Lifeguards are stationed on the beaches from Memorial Day through Labor Day and visitors can enjoy the only surfing in New York City, as well as basketball and handball courts, roller-hockey rinks, sitting areas and playgrounds along the boardwalk and adjoining areas. On Sunday, July 27, the 13th annual Sand Castle Contest (nyc.gov/parks.org) will take place from noon – 2pm. Visitors should bring buckets and tools, and for easy access, New York Water Taxi (nywatertaxi.com) operates a weekend ferry service costing $6 each way, between Pier 11 in Manhattan and Riis Landing at Gateway’s Breezy Point District in Rockaway.

Staten Island

A new addition allowing visitors to easily explore Staten Island is the Gray Line Discover Staten Island Tour (NewYorkSightseeing.com) hop-on, hop-off bus service with hourly departures every day. Tickets cost just $15 and the tour includes stops at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Zoo, the Forest Avenue Shopping District, Clove Lake Park, Fort Wadsworth and the St. George Ferry Terminal. Visitors can reach Staten Island via the free Staten Island ferry (siferry.com) where refreshments (including beer) may be purchased on board.

The Bronx

One of the borough’s most popular attractions, the Bronx Zoo (bronxzoo.com), which recently opened its newest exhibit, Madagascar, at a cost of $62 million, is part of NYC & Company’s ‘Summer in the City’ savings program and visitors to the zoo can enjoy discounted entry by visiting nycvisit.com/summerinthecity and accessing the 2008 Saving Pass which features close to 200 special savings offers throughout the five boroughs. On Fridays access to the Bronx Museum of the Arts (bronxmuseum.org) is free and visitors to the borough should combine their visit with a trip to Orchard Beach (nycgovparks.org). Referred to as the “Bronx Riviera”, the mile-long crescent beach located at Pelham Bay Park, is ideal for soaking up the sun and there is a boardwalk for people-watching, as well as a band shell where weekend concerts are held and tennis, paddleball and basketball courts.

For more information about staying in NYC this summer go to nycvisit.com/golocal