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Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg And The History Channel� Announce Partnership Supporting City Tourism And Historic Preservation Efforts

December 8, 2004

Agreement Celebrates NYC History including Advertising to Boost Tourism, Establishment of NYC's Official History Center and Restoration of Key Historical Sites and Monuments

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, The History Channel USA President Dan Davids and New York City Chief Marketing Officer Joseph Perello today announced a multi-year corporate marketing partnership to boost tourism, and preserve and promote the City's rich history and heritage.  The innovative collaboration, valued by the City at $19.5 million, consists of $15 million in advertising of New York City, $3.5 million for historic preservation, and $1 million in programming.  It includes the establishment of a New York City's Official History Center, owned and operated by the City and sponsored by The History Channel; the development by The History Channel of New York City historical tours; the creation of a package of advertising to air on The History Channel and affiliated networks to help attract targeted segments of potential tourists to the City; and the preservation of historic City landmarks and monuments. NYC & Company President Cristyne L. Nicholas and The History Channel Senior Vice President of Marketing Michael Mohamad attended the announcement in the Governor's Room in City Hall.

"Tourism is one of our top industries but we don't spend any where near what our competitors do on national advertising," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We need to market New York City more aggressively, and The History Channel partnership will help accomplish that.  This agreement is an exceptionally innovative way to help showcase New York City's rich history and diverse cultural heritage, which are among our most valuable assets, and marks a new chapter in our ongoing efforts to promote New York City as the world's premier tourist destination and assist in our extensive historic preservation activities. We look forward to enjoying a partnership with The History Channel that will benefit residents and visitors for years to come."

"The History Channel is delighted to enter into this collaboration with New York City," said The History Channel USA President Dan Davids. "The mission of The History Channel is to make the past come alive, and there is no place better than New York City to launch this unprecedented effort.  Through this new effort, we now have the opportunity to help showcase the City's rich heritage while furthering our mission of enhancing historical education and encouraging historical preservation."

"The City's partnership with The History Channel reflects Mayor Bloomberg's goal of creating a new model for promoting the City globally and enhancing its image by developing innovative public private partnerships that serve all New Yorkers by generating revenue for key programs and priorities without raising taxes," said New York City's Chief Marketing Officer Joseph Perello.

"We are proud to partner with The History Channel to create the City's first Official History Center at City Hall Park and other official tourism programs so that the nearly 40 million visitors to our great city can include more of New York's historic treasures on their itineraries," said NYC & Company President Cristyne L. Nicholas.

"History lives on The History Channel, and we want history to live in New York City in the same way," said The History Channel Senior Vice President Michael Mohamad. "Through this exciting new venture, we are affording our viewers and tourists, the opportunity to enjoy one of the country's oldest city's rich heritage and important landmarks in innovative new ways."

Promoting the History & Heritage of New York City

The History Channel is committed to air 30-second commercial advertisements over the partnership term to promote New York City tourism on The History Channel and its affiliated networks (History International, The History Channel en Español and the Biography Channel), as well as airing five one-hour New York City themed segments featuring the best of their New York City content. And New York City also will provide to The History Channel with an outdoor media package that will consist of bus stop shelters, phone kiosks and street pole banners. Other elements of this part of the agreement include the:

  • Creation of "NYC's Official History Center," a visitor information center owned and operated by the City that will serve as the central location for information on tours, activities and events for historical sites throughout the City. The kiosk will be located at the southwestern tip of City Hall Park on Broadway between Vesey and Barclay Streets and will open in May 2005. At that event, The History Channel will launch a tourism contest to highlight New York City as a premier heritage tourism destination.
  • Development of historical and heritage bus tours of New York City, for launch in 2005. The History Channel has contracted independently with Grayline to conduct the tours promoting visits to key New York City historic sites.
  • Design of New York City heritage tourism marketing materials including maps, passports, brochures and itineraries. A unique "Passport" program will be created to encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to explore cultural treasures and historical sites throughout the five boroughs.
  • Hosting of The History Channel/NYC & Company travel and tourism industry trade reception to introduce hotel concierges to "NYC's Official History Center" and the historical and heritage tours of New York City.

The Historic Preservation Program

The History Channel in partnership with Department of Parks & Recreation will sponsor the restoration and refurbishment of key monuments and Historic House Trusts sites across the City including the following:

  • Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, Brooklyn: The relocation of a 200-year-old barn from New Jersey to Brooklyn will create a new educational resource and experience (Clarendon Road at Ralph Avenue, Fidler Park).
  • Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, Manhattan: The original windows of the theatre built for the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 will be restored. (Central Park Drive West, Central Park).
  • Bartow Pell Mansion Museum, Bronx: A fundamental restoration including cornice and facade repair and replacement of the existing gutters will be done (895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park).
  • Robert Richard Randall, Staten Island: This 1884 monumental bronze statue of Robert Richard Randall, founder of the former Sailors Snug Harbor, will be cleaned and waxed and its nautical motif stone base will be repaired and cleaned. (Sung Harbor Cultural Center).
  • Christopher Columbus Sculpture, Brooklyn: This fragile marble sculpture of explorer Christopher Columbus stands in front of Brooklyn's Supreme Court Building. The stonework will be cleaned, repaired, and consolidated (360 Adams Street).
  • Bronx River Soldier, Bronx: Maintenance work will be performed on the 1890's granite statue that portrays a Civil War soldier standing sentinel in a military uniform (Bainbridge Avenue and East 208th Street).
  • Column of Jerash, Queens: Due to weathering, the marble column originally erected in 120 AD by the Romans in the ancient Jordanian city of Jerash requires structural refurbishing to protect its structural integrity (Flushing Meadows Corona Park).
  • Alfred E. Smith Monument, Lower Manhattan: The 1950's bronze portrait of Governor Alfred E. Smith requires testing and maintenance will be performed (Monroe at Catherine Street).
  • Verdi Monument, Manhattan: The condition of this 1906 marble sculpture group that honors Giuseppe Verdi will be tested and maintenance will be performed (Verdi Square, West 72nd Street and Broadway).
  • Netherlands Memorial, Manhattan: This monument honoring the first European settlement in what is today New York will receive maintenance work on its stonework, bronze and gilding (Battery Park).

In addition, The History Channel will sponsor an "Adopt a Monument/Site" program in conjunction with NYC Department of Education, Parks and Historic House Trust.

Education and Public Awareness

Lastly, The History Channel will engage in a number of education and public awareness initiatives including:

  • Producing a version of their "Save Our History" curriculum focused on NYC Historic Houses and Monuments for NYC public schools to use.
  • Donating educational History Channel DVD's to 1,000 NYC public school libraries.
  • Creating introductory videos that will be featured at select "NYC Historic Houses."
  • Establishing the "Save Our History in New York City" History Teachers of the Year Award to recognize outstanding history teachers in NYC public schools
  • Creating introductory videos that will be featured at select "NYC Historic Houses."
  • Providing NYC TV with $1 million in New York-centric historical programming, geared towards strengthening the network's Emmy award-winning line-up, as it rolls out its new season in mid-January. The History Channel shows will air commercial-free on NYC TV.
  • Designing free tours of City Hall, Tweed Court House and Historic Houses including Gracie Mansion in partnership with Art Commission, Historic House Trust, NYC & Company, More NYC and Harlem One-Stop.

About the NYC Marketing Selection Process

NYC Marketing advertised the opportunity to engage in partnerships in the broadcast television category in the City Record and in the leading trade publication. The History Channel expressed an interest in a corporate marketing partnership. Research conducted on behalf of the City by a leading consulting group indicated this type of tourism is a key growth segment for New York City.  The History Channel partnership is non-exclusive and does not restrict the City from doing business with any other competitor in the category.

This partnership does not include a physical concession (like a vending machine) or franchise (like a bus stop shelter) requiring the approval of the Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC).  The partnership does include two elements, involving intellectual property, specifically, "New York City's Official History Tours" and "New York City's Official History Trolley" to promote the City as a premier tourist destination.  Currently these elements are required to be presented to the FCRC for its approval, which NYC Marketing will do before implementing them.  It is anticipated that the matter will be presented to the FCRC in February, and term of the agreement end on June 30, 2008, but the bus tours and related activities will not commence until May 2005, when the New York Official History Center will be completed.

NYC Marketing is a local development corporation created by the Mayor to provide alternative ways to generate revenue, support City agencies and promote New York City globally for the growth of jobs and tourism.  Officially known as the New York City Marketing Development Corporation, NYC Marketing explores the full potential of New York City's powerful brand to achieve these goals, in accordance with applicable law.  By developing innovative public-private partnerships that use the City's well regarded image and vast set of resources, NYC Marketing helps qualified partners grow their business while helping make New York City a better place to live, work and visit.

Now reaching more than 87 million Nielsen subscribers, The History Channel brings history to life in a powerful manner and provides an inviting place where people experience history personally and connects their own lives to the great lives and events of the past. In 2004, The History Channel earned five News and Documentary Emmy® Awards and previously received the prestigious Governor's Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network's "Save Our History®" campaign, dedicated to historic preservation and history education.  The History Channel web site is located at Civic Entertainment Group, a marketing and promotions firm based in New York City, represented The History Channel in developing the heritage tourism program and negotiating its partnership with the City.

This new partnership is a five-borough effort made possible in collaboration with the offices of all five Borough Presidents, and will include the following organizations: NYC & Company, MORE NYC - a program of the Arts and Business Council, New York State Council on the Arts; The Bronx Tourism Council; Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island; Queens Council Overall Economic Development Corporation; the Flushing Town Hall/Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts; Harlem One Stop, a program of the Arts and Business Council; Hamilton Heights-West Harlem Community Preservation Organization; Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association; the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone; Queens Council Overall Economic Development Corporation; and the Downtown Alliance. 

In addition, there are eight City Agencies and Commissions participating and/or benefiting in this new arrangement including the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Education, the Art Commission, the Historic House Trust, the Department of Records and Information Services, and the Department of Information, Technology & Telecommunication.  Lastly, the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City will be responsible for administering the allocation of funds for all programming elements to participating City agencies and commissions.

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