By Jorge Sidron
NEW YORK -- The Big Apple will celebrate a centenary in 1998
with a series of cultural exhibitions, concerts, walking tours and
other events commemorating the consolidation of more than
three-dozen separate municipalities into five boroughs.
City tourism officials said they want as many visitors as
possible to come to the party. To that end, the New York Convention
and Visitors Bureau said it will roll out a winter tourism
marketing campaign to raise visitors' awareness of the events and
to get them to participate.
The bureau will launch a "Do N.Y. Right Centennial Fun Pass"
promotion from Jan. 1 to March 31, a period when hotel occupancy
levels drop following the busy fall season. Like earlier Fun Pass
promotions, next winter's campaign will feature a special-edition
Transit Authority Metro Card good for discounts at city hotels,
restaurants, shops and cultural institutions.
Fun Passes will be available free of charge at participating
hotels and by calling the bureau at (800) NYC-VISIT. The Fun Pass
also will be offered to rail commuters originating from a 400-mile
radius of the city. The bureau said an airline partner, possibly
the Delta Shuttle, is likely to participate.
The bureau said it will produce 250,000 of the Fun Passes, which
will be available in December. A pocket-size information kit, with
participants' names and their offers, a calendar of events and a
city map, will accompany the card.
As with earlier versions, Fun Pass Metro Card users will be able
to use the cards on the subway and city buses by encoding them for
any amount from $5 to $80. Encoded or not for transportation,
however, the winter Fun Pass will offer the steepest discounts
In addition, whereas participants in earlier Fun Pass promotions
could set their own offers, next winter each participating
industry, such as Off-Broadway shows and restaurants, will offer a
Meanwhile, cultural institutions, which are planning yearlong
exhibitions and activities with a centennial theme, will provide a
free gift for every $25 spent in their gift shops.
The Fun Pass will concentrate the bulk of its discounts on
hotels, with approximately 30 of the bureau's 129 hotel partners
offering discounts on their rack rates.
The bureau will advertise the Fun Pass promotion in major
metropolitan dailies, including the New York Times, the
Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe and the Washington