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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #05-84

City Kicks Off Shea Stadium Metro Card Giveaway

The New York City Department of Transportation, in collaboration with NYC & Company and the International Gemological Institute (IGI), the world’s largest independent laboratory for testing and valuating gemstones and fine jewelry, announced today that Wednesday, November 23, 2005, marks the beginning of the holiday season Metro Card giveaway at Shea Stadium. IGI, through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, has donated over 1,000 complimentary, round trip ($4) Metro Cards to promote the use of mass transit during the holiday season. The cards will be distributed every Wednesday (Matinee Days) from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, from November 23rd through January 4, 2006 to visitors who park at Shea Stadium and use mass transit to enter Manhattan.

“During the holiday season we experience some of the heaviest traffic of the year and, while we’ve put together an extensive plan to accommodate extra vehicles, the best way for people to get to their destination quickly and safely is by taking advantage of the City’s mass transit system,” said DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall. “We want everyone who visits Manhattan this holiday season to enjoy the City’s great restaurants, shopping and sightseeing attractions and our hope is that this program will encourage people to use public transportation to get where they need to go.”

"We are pleased to offer this service to visitors and hope it will add to the wonderful experience of shopping for gemstones and fine jewelry in Manhattan during the holiday season," said Jerry Ehrenwald, president of IGI. "All of us at IGI are proud of our commitment to consumers as we continue to serve as their independent expert appraiser of diamonds and gemstone jewelry."

“NYC & Company is proud to partner with the Department of Transportation and the International Gemological Institute to launch Park & Ride this year,” said Cristyne L. Nicholas, President & CEO of NYC & Company. “What better way to add sparkle to the holiday season than to team up with IGI and the DOT to provide visitors to New York City with an enhanced experience.  This holiday season, more than 8.2 million people from around the world will travel to New York City to visit our cultural centers, dine out, shop for gifts and enjoy live theater. This initiative will help ease traffic congestion on the busiest day of the week and enhance the visitor experience.”

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Contact:Ted Timbers (212) 442-7033
Chris Gilbride