NYC & Company Toasts Tourism

December 10, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

NYC & Company Foundation's Leadership in Tourism award dinner Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers Tuesday, 12.03.02, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
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New York's reinvigorated tourism industry gathered at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers for the second annual NYC & Company Foundation's Leaders in Tourism awards. A crowd of more than 500 people raised more than $800,000 to support the foundation (which creates events that bring in tourists) and to get a pep talk from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Despite telling a bad tourism-related joke (something about a hotel guest getting trapped in his room because the door had a “Do Not Disturb” sign), the mayor was very optimistic about the prospects for New York. He noted that crime is still going down despite increases in other cities, visitors at places like the Metropolitan Museum are at pre-9/11 levels, and there is a waiting list for apartments in lower Manhattan. And he renewed his pledge to develop the entire lower Manhattan area, expand the Javits Center, and bring the 2004 Republican National Convention, the 2008 Super Bowl and the 2012 Olympics to New York.

The awards portion of the evening was a lovefest between presenters and honorees Stephen Ross, chairman and CEO of the Related Companies; Dennis Swanson, executive vice president and COO of Viacom Television Stations Group; and the Coca-Cola Company, who were honored for their work in helping the New York tourism industry's post-September 11 recovery.

Barbara Lorber, NYC & Company's senior vice president of major events and promotions, kept a tight grip on the proceedings—the group promised the event would end by 9:30 PM—by having all the major speeches and presentation early, and WCBS anchor Dana Tyler kept the evening moving as M.C. (Honoree Swanson is her boss.)

During his speech, NYC & Company chairman Jon Tisch acknowledged his father, Robert Preston Tisch, who chaired the New York City Convention and Visitors Bureau (NYC & Company's precursor) for 19 years. After dinner, NYC & Company president Cristyne L. Nicholas showed some new commercials that are playing in conjunction with the NFL's Times Square promotion, and the evening ended with a performance by Broadway Inspirational Voices, a gospel group made up of cast members from such shows as Aida, Rent and Hairspray.

One nice touch: Caterer Abigail Kirsch served hot chocolate and cookies as guests left, and NYC & Company assured that it was easy to leave the Chelsea Piers complex by having a free shuttle along with cars from car service TWR waiting to be hired on the spot.

David Adler

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