FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES JAMAICA REZONING AND JUST ASK THE LOCALS CAMPAIGN IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, September 16, 2007
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Tourists and business travelers are continuing to flock to New York City in huge numbers. Last year, we hosted a record 43.8 million visitors, and every indication is that 2007 is going to be another banner year. In just the month of May, for example, 9.6 million passengers used our regional airports; that's 9% more than in May 2006.
"As popular as we are as a travel destination, however, we can't take anything for granted. Our tourism industry-which supports more than 368,000 jobs in restaurants, hotels, and other businesses throughout our city-faces stiff, non-stop competition from other cities around the world. And that's why in recent days, we've taken some important steps to sharpen our competitive edge in an area so vital to our economy.
"Last week, for example, the City Council approved the wide-ranging rezoning we proposed for Kennedy Airport's neighboring community of Jamaica. Covering almost 370 City blocks, the rezoning is the product of nearly five years of hard work by City agencies, local elected officials, and civic leaders. It now clears Jamaica for take-off as a thriving business district linked to our busiest regional airport-the kind of airport business hub that most of the world's other great cities already have. Specifically, the rezoning sets the stage for the development of three million square feet of new office, retail, and hotel space, 9,500 new jobs, and also 5,200 new homes in a community well-served by mass transit.
"To maintain the single-family home character of residential streets in Jamaica, the rezoning protects nearly 160 blocks from construction of 'out of scale' buildings. And to make Jamaica a more attractive place to live, work, and do business, the City also plans new open spaces, significant upgrades to sewer and water systems, and other improvements.
"All that will complement progress at Kennedy itself, like last month's opening of American Airline's new $1.3 billion terminal. The biggest project Kennedy has seen in decades, it's a major vote of confidence in New York's future by an important employer in our city - a company that already operates more than 240 daily flights in and out of the New York area.
"At the terminal's opening, NYC & Company, the city's official marketing and tourism promotion agency, also launched its new 'Just Ask the Locals' campaign. Maybe you've seen or heard some of the ads that are part of the campaign. They encourage visitors to get the most out of the New York experience by going to the experts: Us - all 8.2 million of us. Drawing on the examples of celebrity locals like Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore, and Tiki Barber, the 'Just Ask the Locals' campaign also urges New Yorkers to help visitors enjoy everything that the world's greatest city has to offer. So let's all share our insider tips on New York. It's a chance for us to show the world just what a friendly city this really is. And it's also a good way to say 'Thank you and come back soon' to visitors who make a nearly $25 billion-a-year impact on our economy. That's not just good manners; it's good business, too.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address