Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and The History Channel(R) Open the ‘NYC Heritage Tourism Center’

State of the Art Visitor Center Makes City Hall Park Gateway to NYC History

NEW YORK, July 28 /PRNewswire/ — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, The History Channel USA President Dan Davids, New York City Chief Marketing Officer Joseph Perello, The History Channel Marketing Senior Vice President Michael Mohamad and NYC & Company President and CEO Cristyne L. Nicholas today officially opened the City’s new state-of-the-art ‘NYC Heritage Tourism Center’ located at Broadway and Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan. The tourism center is the core element of a groundbreaking partnership between the City of New York and The History Channel to promote heritage tourism to New York City. The partnership leverages The History Channel’s assets such as media, programming and history expertise to help make New York City a premier heritage tourism destination. In conjunction with the unveiling of the new tourism center, the City and The History Channel announced three new television spots promoting heritage tourism in New York City that are slated to start airing nationally on the cable network Monday. The advertising, marketing and direct revenue of the partnership is valued at $19.5 million over three and a half years for the City. City summer tourism is projected to total 12 million visitors from Memorial Day to Labor Day — a record-breaking summer tourism forecast.

“Through this creative alliance the City has found a corporate partner who is committed to promoting New York City,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This innovative partnership will make New York City’s history itself a destination. I’m proud that we have constructed a state-of-the-art visitor’s center focused on New York City history, and created a powerful media vehicle which gives us a way to advertise New York City and compete for tourism dollars in the global marketplace.”

Built with the financial support of The History Channel, The ‘NYC Heritage Tourism Center’ is owned and operated by the City, and will serve as the central location for detailed information on history-themed tours, and activities and events for historical sites throughout the City. Staffed by two specially trained tourism experts, the Heritage Tourism Center will be at the crossroads of New York City History. The new Center replaces the tourism information kiosk at the southwestern tip of historic City Hall Park on Broadway between Vesey and Barclay Streets, which was established in June 2002 in response to a growing number of visitors to lower Manhattan after 9/11. The ‘NYC Heritage Tourism Center’ will be open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. weekdays and 10:00 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekends.

“We entered into this partnership with the City of New York to help make New York City’s history a destination,” said The History Channel USA President Dan Davids. “Today, we launch this extraordinary NYC Heritage Tourism Center with Mayor Bloomberg and the City. It will provide New Yorkers and visitors alike with valuable information on all our City has to offer, and for us at The History Channel it fulfills our goal of bringing history to life in a tangible manner. We will use our network’s programming, educational and promotional resources to help preserve New York’s rich history for future generations.”

“Partners like The History Channel are helping us tell the true and compelling stories that make New York City a wonderful place to explore,” said New York City Chief Marketing Officer Joseph Perello. “Our new visitor center makes City Hall Park the gateway to New York City’s history.”

The state of the art visitor’s center is a unique, contemporary design made of glass and steel, with two large canopies that will shield people from the elements. The New York City Economic Development Corporation, through a facilities contract with Bovis Lend Lease, oversaw the design and the construction of the ‘NYC Heritage Tourism Center.’ The 8′ x 13′ kiosk is heated and cooled and is large enough for two workers. It also functions to display rotating exhibits featuring artifacts from some of the cultural institutions in Lower Manhattan. In addition, two 61″ plasma screens will provide continuous programming of historic information and events in the City.

NYC Advertising and Programming

To coincide with the opening of ‘NYC Heritage Tourism Center,’ The History Channel will begin airing three promotional spots nationally to the network’s 88 million households. The spots promote the kiosk center and New York City. In addition, from August 15th until August 19th, The History Channel will air nightly programming about New York City’s landmarks such as the City’s subways, bridges, and storied architecture. Over the lifetime of the partnership, The History Channel will devote $15 million in airtime to promoting New York City. NYC-TV, the City owned and operated television network, is receiving $1 million worth of New York City related programming from The History Channel.

“By the time George Washington was inaugurated as President of the United States at Federal Hall, New York was already filled with historic sites and monuments connected to our nation’s rich history,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Cristyne L. Nicholas. “This innovative partnership between the City and The History Channel allows us to market New York City as a heritage destination to millions of potential visitors. That television marketing, combined with the new NYC Heritage Tourism Center, The History Channel New York CityPass and heritage tours, will help grow New York City’s tourism industry, which supports nearly 300,000 jobs in all five boroughs.”

“To further New York City as a destination The History Channel is sponsoring The History Channel New York CityPass and ‘Passport to NYC History’ Sweepstakes,” said The History Channel Marketing Senior Vice President Michael Mohamad. “These programs are designed to enhance the overall New York City experience and to encourage historic tourism.”

Historic Walking and Trolley Tours of NYC

The History Channel is sponsoring a variety of historic tours for City visitors and New Yorkers alike, including new walking tours and a unique heritage trolley tour. The New York City Official Heritage Tour is operated by Gray Line New York Tours and features old-fashioned trolleys that are guided by history experts dressed in authentic costumes providing commentary from the perspective of a renowned historic figure of a bygone era. The 90-minute tour begins in Times Square and allows visitors to board a trolley and enjoy historic sites such as Chinatown, the Empire State Building, the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and the Titanic Lighthouse Memorial.

The History Channel has also partnered with MORE NYC to promote tourism throughout New York City. MORE NYC is a four-borough coalition dedicated to promoting Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. Together, with the City of New York, visitors and residents can take advantage of walking tours of the boroughs, led by a borough insider on Fridays and Saturdays. Sites include: Snug Harbor Culture Center, Flushing Meadow Park, Old Stone House and the Bronx Zoo.

Historic Walking Tours of Downtown New York, in partnership with Downtown Alliance, J&R Music and Computer World, and led by Big Onion, offers a new 90 minute tour of Lower Manhattan helping tourists and New Yorkers discover the background of significant buildings and sites including the African Burial Ground, St Paul’s Chapel and Newspaper Row. The tours are free and leave every Tuesday at noon from the NYC Heritage Tourism Center.

The History Channel New York CityPass ‘Passport to NYC History’ Sweepstakes

‘The History Channel New York CityPass’ is a booklet that offers discounted admission to six major attractions and over a dozen significant historical points of interest in all five New York City boroughs, special offers to visit Historic House Trust homes in New York City parks, Harlem Home Tours, shopping discounts and helpful visitor information.

The History Channel and New York City are working together to provide history buffs across the Country with the opportunity to win a “Passport to NYC History” sweepstakes. Five grand prize winners will experience three days of the City’s history including a private heritage trolley tour, The History Channel New York CityPass that will provide free passes to historic sites throughout the City, Radio City Christmas Spectacular show tickets and a behind the scenes tour and private lunch at Fraunces Tavern, a unique historic site. The sweepstakes launches today and will continue through the summer with winners announced September 9, 2005.

This new partnership is a five-borough effort made possible in collaboration with all five boroughs and includes the following organizations: NYC & Company, MORE NYC — a program of the Arts and Business Council, New York State Council on the Arts, The Bronx Tourism Council, Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island, Queens Council Overall Economic Development Corporation, the Flushing Town Hall/Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, Harlem One Stop, a program of the Arts and Business Council, Hamilton Heights-West Harlem Community Preservation Organization, Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Queens Council Overall Economic Development Corporation, and the Downtown Alliance.

In addition, there are eight City agencies and commissions participating and benefiting in this new arrangement including the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Education, the Art Commission, the Historic House Trust, the Department of Records and Information Services, and the Department of Information, Technology & Telecommunications.

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