2008-07-17 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor's Desk ...

This Week New York Was Really An All-Star City

This week, the eyes of every baseball fan turned to New York City in anticipation of the 2008 All-Star Game. The game was an incredible moment in New York baseball history and a wonderful way to say farewell to the most storied ballpark in the world - Yankee Stadium.

And before the first pitch was thrown, there were plenty of ways for everyone to join in the fun. Working with Major League Baseball, we planned exciting activities across town to celebrate the 'Midsummer Classic.'

New Yorkers took part in the baseball FanFest convention at the Javits Center, and we hosted an All-Star red carpet parade up Sixth Avenue, featuring legendary Hall-of-Famers, including such greats as Willie Mays and Reggie Jackson.

The influx of All-Star Game fans and visitors brought new business to our city's shops, cultural institutions, and restaurants - and gave every New Yorker something to cheer about this week. We anticipated that the game and all of the activities leading up to it generated nearly $150 million in economic activity for our city.

Tourism is a key industry for New York. It supports more than 370,000 jobs. We want to make sure that all five boroughs benefit from the economic activity that visitors bring, and that all visitors benefit from the cultural opportunities in each borough. That's why NYC & Company, the City's marketing and tourism arm, has been working closely with local elected officials to help each borough showcase its great attractions.

For example, Gray Line New York Sightseeing recently added Staten Island to its famous 'hop on, hop off' bus tours. That one step will make the island's attractions even more accessible to the more than one million tourists who already ride the Staten Island Ferry each year. And it will also make it easier for New Yorkers to explore top borough destinations, such as the historic Alice Austen House and the Staten Island Zoo.

There's a reason why a record 46 million people came to visit us last year - and why we've remained the top U.S. destination for foreign tourists in 2008. We're the greatest and most diverse city anywhere - and we're always working to be better than ever.

Someone once asked New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio what motivated him to play so hard every single game. He said it was because there was always some kid who might be seeing him play for the first time or the last time - and he owed him his best.

That's a great philosophy - and it's one we should apply to every person visiting our city. When you run into tourists on the street, you never know if they're seeing the Big Apple for the first time or the 50th.

So, if you come across a tourist puzzling over a subway map, or wondering where to get a great slice of pizza, why not be an All-Star New Yorker and offer some expert advice?

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