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PR- 233-04
September 1, 2004


Music, Culture and Entertainment Theme Day Part of "Experience NYC" Program

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined delegates and guests of the 2004 Republican National Convention at a luncheon following their visit to the Bronx Zoo as part of "Experience NYC", a four-day program produced by the New York City Host Committee to give visitors to the Convention the opportunity to experience activities and events unique to New York City.  Today's theme day, "Music, Culture and Entertainment," showcased the City's rich cultural heritage and attractions.  Convention visitors toured cultural institutions including the Apollo Theater, Studio Museum in Harlem and Sylvia's Restaurant in Manhattan, the Bronx Zoo, and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island.  Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Verna Eggleston and Senior Vice President for Public Affairs for the Bronx Zoo, John Calvelli also joined the Mayor and guests at the luncheon.

"From the smallest dance companies and theaters to our largest museums, New York City's cultural institutions and attractions are renowned throughout the world and essential to the City's vitality," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "I am proud to be able to share some of these great organizations with our Convention delegates and guests on the third day of 'Experience NYC.' The Convention has been a chance for us to show off the City and all we have to offer.  New York is stronger than ever and the Convention is helping us grow even stronger by boosting hotel occupancy, created jobs and generating millions of dollars in economic activity.  I would like to thank our participating institutions for hosting these tours and showing our guests the diversity and vibrancy of New York's cultural life."

"New York City's artists and cultural organizations define our City for the world and are key to the quality of life for New Yorkers," said Kate D. Levin, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.  "Non-profit culture fuels our economy, transforms our neighborhoods and contributes immeasurably to the education of our children.  Today's tours highlight the wealth and diversity of cultural organizations and give us the opportunity to show why millions of visitors come here each year to explore and experience the City's vibrant and unrivaled cultural life."

"The amazing thing about New York City is no matter where you go, you see something interesting and new," said Kevin Sheekey, President of the New York City Host Committee. "With 'Experience NYC' we wanted to show our guests from the Republican National Convention that no other place offers what New York City offers. Our cultural institutions are simply world class, and our guests are making the trip to seek them out."

Members of the delegations of Alabama, Texas, Arizona, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Maine enjoyed a special tour of New York City's legendary Bronx Zoo, beginning with a breakfast reception with welcome remarks by Richard Lattis, Wildlife Conservation Society Senior Vice President and General Director for Living Institutions. Convention guests experienced a tour featuring a visit with the Bronx Zoo's elephants Happy and Samuel R. II, and a tour of the Zoo's award-winning Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit - home to exotic African rain forest animals including 22 Western Gorillas.

In Harlem, members of the delegations of Colorado, Mississippi, West Virginia, Georgia, Washington D.C., New Jersey, and Alaska and their guests began their tour at the legendary Apollo Theater. Apollo CEO Jonelle Procope delivered brief welcome remarks, followed by a private behind-the-scenes tour led by Joel Grey, host of the Amateur Night program.  Guests were then taken to the Studio Museum in Harlem, where they were greeted by development director Cheryl Aldridge and led on a private gallery tour.  The morning concluded with lunch at Harlem's famed culinary landmark, Sylvia's, where Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields addressed the attendees.

Congressman Vito J. Fossella led members of the delegations of Kansas, Nevada, West Virginia, California, Arkansas and Washington D.C. to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center via New York Water Taxi, where they saw breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Upon reaching Staten Island, the group had a meet and greet with the executive directors of five of the cultural organizations located at Snug Harbor in the John J. Marchi Exhibition Hall, Snug Harbor's oldest building, a New York City Landmark.  Guests then had a tour of The Noble Maritime Collection, the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden and The Staten Island Children's Museum.  They later had lunch in the Great Hall, which was formerly a "recreation building" for Sailors' Snug Harbor built in 1918, where New York City Community Assistance Unit Commissioner Jonathan Greenspun, Fran Huber President and CEO of the Staten Island Botanical Garden addressed the group.

In cooperation with the Partnership for NYC and its President and CEO Kathy Wylde, Independence Community Bank Corporation and HIP Healthplans are sponsors of these tours and receptions at cultural institutions.

The New York City Host Committee's "Experience NYC" program is showcasing a variety of New York City's attractions each day of the convention, including its Fashion and Retail industries, sports and parks, arts entertainment and culture, and its history.  Mayor Bloomberg shopped with delegates at Macy's on Monday and joined others at Shea Stadium yesterday.  The NYC Host Committee 2004 is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization created to help host the 2004 Republican National Convention and is responsible for organizing the welcome and execution efforts of this unprecedented event.


Edward Skyler /Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Paul Elliott/Ethan Davidson (Host Committee)   (212) 630-8085

Sara Rutkowski   (Cultural Affairs)
(212) 643-6690

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