With New York's tourism appeal at an all-time high, the city is
brimming with new facilities, services and values that can help
agents sell New York while increasing their clients' enjoyment of
the Big Apple. Following is a sampling of current offerings.
Agents' Sales Tools
Agents who are promoting the Big Apple to their clients can
order a new 14-minute film from the New York Convention &
Visitors Bureau Called "New York City ... Come Visit the World,"
and narrated by James Earl Jones, it provides an overview of the
city's attractions, activities and people. Celebrities making guest
appearances include New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, actor/director
Robert DeNiro, builder/hotelier Donald Trump, "Today Show" co-host
Katie Couric, meteorologist Al Roker, Jonathan Tisch, president and
CEO of Loews Hotels, and fashion designer Nicole Miller. To obtain
the video, call (800) NYC-VISIT.
Joining the NYCVB's Millennium Club is a good way to get the
latest news on millennium celebrations planned by New York City
restaurants, hotels and attractions. To receive detailed
information and the bureau's newspaper, "What's New in New York,"
send $20 to the bureau (see below) ATT: Millennium Club.
Broadway theater is booming, and agents who want to make sure
their theater-going clients are up on all the newest hit shows can
do so by calling these information numbers set up by the League of
American Theaters and Producers: (888) BROADWAY, or (212)
Tips for Clients
Thanks to its success last summer, "Insider's Hour," a program
designed to help visitors make the best use of their time in New
York, is being repeated this year. From July through September,
more than 40 participating cultural institutions, including
museums, performing-arts venues, botanical gardens, zoos and
historical sites, will offer guided one-hour tours of their
facilities. For more information, contact the NYCVB.
Although visitors are often skeptical about New York's subway
system, savvy residents use it all the time, chiefly because it's
usually the fastest way of getting around town. With the
introduction of the money-saving MetroCard, visiting clients also
have an incentive to get on board. The MetroCard is good for use on
both the subways and city buses. The regular fare on both is $1.50,
but with the card, riders get such bonuses as free transfers
between trains and buses and one free ride for every $15
Also, MetroCard vending machines in the subway stations dispense
unlimited-ride MetroCards, available for one day at $4, seven days
for $17 and 30 days for $63. The cards also are available at
certain other locations. For information on where to buy a card,
call (212) METROCARD, or access the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority's Web site at www.mta.nyc.ny.us.
One of New York's most venerable landmarks, Grand Central
Terminal, completed a $200 million restoration and facelift last
fall. Grand Central Terminal opened in 1913 and its original Sky
Ceiling, adorned with the heavenly constellations, now sparkles
again; the marble balustrades and nickel- and gold-plated
chandeliers shine brightly, and light streams through the
terminal's enormous windows. New facilities include Michael
Jordan's Steakhouse and about 100 specialty stores, restaurants and
retail outlets, including branches of Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole
and Godiva Chocolates. For information on free tours of the
terminal, call the Grand Central Partnership at (212) 883-2468.
Next year, the former Queens home of one of America's great jazz
legends, Louis Armstrong, will open as a museum. Armstrong, who
lived for years in Corona, is just one of many jazz musicians
associated with the borough. Others who lived in Queens include
Billie Holliday, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie,
who, like Armstrong, is buried in Flushing Cemetery. For more on
Queens, its jazz legends and other attractions, contact the Queens
Tourism Council at (800) 454-1329 or (718) 647-3387.
It may not look like the Napa Valley, but New York's Lower East
Side has one thing in common with Northern California's
grape-growing region: a famous winery. This year, Schapiro's Winery
will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding by a Polish
immigrant, Samuel Schapiro, who opened it as part of a restaurant
in 1899. In 1907, he closed the restaurant and moved the winery --
Schapiro's House of Kosher Wine -- to 126 Rivington St., where it
has remained ever since. Schapiro's, which is now run by the
original patriarch's grandson, offers Sunday tours of its cellars,
which are stocked with about 110 wine tanks. Tastings are also
available. The winery carries traditional sweet kosher
Concord grape wines, as well as the French and Italian varieties
it has been selling since the 1980s. Call (212) 674-4404.
One of the icons of New York's glamorous heyday is back. Night
Owls at El Morocco recently opened on the site of the original El
Morocco at 307 E. 54 St. The club was acquired last year by an
investor from Ireland who undertook a complete renovation and
restoration. For decades, from the 1930s through the 1970s, the
night spot's famous zebra-striped banquettes were graced by such
entertainers as Joan Crawford, Natalie Wood and Errol Flynn,
usually photographed sipping martinis or champagne from El
Morocco's signature champagne flutes. Call (212) 355-1254.
Clients who are art and antiques buffs can stop in at a Wendy
Antiques Show, held on scheduled dates throughout the year at the
7th Regiment Armory on Park Avenue and 67th Street and other venues
around the New York area. Specialties include 17th-, 18th- and
19th-century American and European furniture, paintings and
decorative accessories as well as rare books. For schedules and
other information, call (914) 698-3442.
This spring, the NYCVB opened a visitors center at its
headquarters where clients can speak with multilingual counselors
and obtain brochures, maps and admission tickets to top
attractions. In cooperation with American Express, the CVB
installed touch-screen kiosks -- NYC VisitorNet -- which visitors
can use to access information about the city as well as admission
tickets to various attractions. Eventually about 20 such kiosks
will be installed at key locations throughout the five boroughs.
There is also an American Express ATM cash dispenser on site and an
NYC Store featuring New York City-themed merchandise.
The bureau also opened a visitors center late last year in
London at 33-34 Carnaby St., where representatives provide sales
and marketing expertise to the travel industry and information and
literature to consumers.Summer in New York: New York CVB Information
New York Convention & Visitors Bureau, 810 Seventh Ave., New
York 10019; (800) NYCVISIT to order material; (212) 484-1200 for
information and assistance (agents should ask for the tourism
department); fax (212) 246-6310; www.nycvisit.com, and www.newyork.citysearch.com.
The bureau also has offices in Chicago (312-372-2200) and