If you're keeping track at home, not only do city officials want us to not smoke, not eat trans fat, not say the N-word or potentially the B-word, and not look out our windows and into our neighbor's, it also wants us to — this is so hideous we can barely even say it — be nice to tourists. According to today's Sun, the city has launched an international marketing campaign called "Just Ask the Locals." Even worse, apparently Bloomberg wants to get 50 million tourists to the city each year by 2015. Can you imagine: 50 million midwesterners and Germans, all asking us about things? With their fanny packs? And their slow walking? And their enormous bags from American Girl Place? The horror is almost too much to comprehend. But at least there's this: We're so happy the office just moved from midtown.
'Just Ask the Locals,' City Is Telling Tourists [NYS]
You can argue all you want about whether Giuliani saved the city or destroyed it, whether Bloomberg is trying to protect it for the future or make it a playground for the rich, whether it's really right to be nostalgic for a time when crime rates were astronomical and infrastructure was decaying. But as Gotham Gazette's indispensable Eye Opener points out this morning, today's New York has just been called dull by MSN. That stings.
The 'New' New York [MSN via Gotham Gazette]
Our favorite thing about this Brooklyn Bridge–on–a– beautiful day pic, which we just spotted on Flickr? It's slugged simply "Another NYC bridge." Oh, God bless you, tourists.
Another NYC Bridge [BrentMid's Flickr]
It may be hard for us locals to believe, but the global image of New York is still, apparently, that of crime and grime: streetwise swindlers, filthy sidewalks, and brusque passersby. Enter George Fertitta, the man Bloomberg has picked to mount an NYC ad campaign the likes of which the world hasn't seen (unless one counts every Hollywood romantic comedy of the last twenty years). Fertitta is a logical choice for the mayor who famously called his city "a luxury product." As a co-founder of Margeotes Fertitta & Weiss, he's previously been peddling Godiva, Remy Martin, and Orrefors crystal. Bloomberg has set a goal 50 million visitors a year by 2015 — six million more than now — a bar Fertitta finds almost dispiritingly low, "a layup," he says. So how will NYC & Company, the city's self-promotional arm, with a $45 million budget, lure Europeans to New York on Fertitta's watch?
So how was the big Florida–in–Times Square event the Orlando tourism people planned for this morning? And how was the big how-dare-you-bring-tropical-animals- to-this-frigid-climate protest PETA promised? As it turned out, really, really disappointing. On all counts.
How do you say "It's on!" in Animal Kingdom–speak? As New York reported in this week's magazine, animal-rights activists were considering a protest of the Orlando, Florida, tourism bureau's plans to stage a "mini-Orlando" in Times Square tomorrow morning. Why? The stunt is set to include penguins, flamingos, and live gator-wrestling, and PETA doesn't think too highly of moving tropical animals to frigid New York — let alone wrestling them. Now it seems the activists weren't kidding: We've received a press release promising a protest at 8:30 a.m. Maybe they'll even catch Anna Wintour on her way into work! — Tim Murphy