I am thrilled to welcome you to Gracie Mansion for the annual "Crystal Apple" Awards, where we recognize some of the people who have made New York City a thriving center for cinema and television. And tonight we also salute the biggest star of all -- the city herself.
Every street, every skyscraper, every vista is our studio backlot, which is why feature film production has jumped 142 percent since 1993. Under the leadership of Pat Scott, The Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting logged in more than 21,000 shooting days in 1996 -- a nearly 6,000 day increase over 1993, and the highest number in the 31-year history of the office.
And it's not just for the big budget studio films, but for smaller budget independent films -- which thrive here like nowhere else.
Film and television productions in the city spent $2.2 billion in 1996 -- that's up from $1.4 billion in 1993. To put that in perspective, that is almost as much money as "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" earned in its first weekend at the box office.
The city's television industry is thriving as well, with the help of young hits like "The Rosie O'Donnell show," "Cosby" and "Spin City" -- which is the first sitcom produced by Dreamworks S K G, though not realistic at all, I must say -- it's about a bumbling mayor and his young, suave deputy mayor.
And strong veteran shows like "The Late Show with David Letterman," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and "Law & Order" continue to advance our reputation as a City that produces quality as well as quantity.
That's not all. Broadway -- the number one tourist destination in a city that is the number one tourist destination in the world -- just had a record-breaking season.
So in all these industries, we have seen not only explosive creativity, but a spirit of cooperation between government and the arts which is leading this unprecedented success.
Our administration has helped the film, television, and theater industries capture the essence of New York City as never before. To encourage investors to expand their participation in theater productions, we eliminated the commercial rent tax for the entire first year of a theater production's run.
We also eliminated the four percent sales tax on supplies, making it more affordable to do business here and making it that much easier for films and television productions to set up shop. It is this kind of effort that has created the healthiest, most vibrant environment ever for film, theater, and television in the city.
The people we honor here tonight -- Danny Aiello, Edward Burns, Ron Howard, Greg Mottola, Jerry Orbach, and Jane Rosenthal -- have led this wave of success. I thank them for their endless energy, their skill, their attention to storytelling, and their love of New York City.
I thank them for giving New Yorkers good reasons to turn on the television and go to the movies.