NEW YORK CITY AND THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS ENCOURAGE NEW YORKERS AND VISITORS TO ENJOY THE CITY’S WATERFRONT ON FIRST-EVER HARBOR DAY
More Than 150,000 Attendees Expected to Enjoy Activities and Events at Six Waterfront Sites Celebrating Dutch Heritage and Bringing NY400 Week to a Close
New York City (September 13, 2009) —NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, NY400 Ambassador Eric Niehe and Their Highnesses, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of The Netherlands, today launched New York City’s first-ever Harbor Day. Harbor Day, produced by NYC & Company, is a citywide day of festivities along six waterfront sites: The Battery, Battery Park City, Hudson River Park, Governors Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Snug Harbor. Harbor Day will become an annual event to signify the progress New York City has made in reclaiming its waterfront and opening harbor parks and greenways. Harbor Day marks the end of NY400 Week, a citywide celebration of events and activities to highlight the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in 1609 at what is now New York City.
“Harbor Day brings New York City together like never before, providing a new opportunity for New Yorkers and visitors to experience and celebrate the City’s waterfront,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “This is an exciting day for New York City. Today, we begin to look forward to not only the annual celebration of Harbor Day, but today we also celebrate the culmination of NY400 Week and a year-long partnership that commemorates 400 years of shared heritage and values with our Dutch friends.”
“For too long, New Yorkers have been cut off from the waterfront that surrounds our neighborhoods, and Harbor Day is an incredible opportunity to recognize our City’s history and to enjoy a world-class amenity right in our backyard,” said Deputy Mayor Lieber. “I encourage all New Yorkers to spend today – our first Harbor Day - at the many festivals and celebrations at our waterfront and to continue to reclaim the water’s edge throughout this year and every year.”
"We are proud to be part of New York’s first Harbor Day, and we hope that many will join us in celebrating the Dutch heritage of New York,” said NY400 Ambassador Eric Niehe. “The replica of the Half Moon reminds us of the courage, entrepreneurial spirit and open-mind of the early Dutch-American pioneers. But, today is about our shared vision of the future - in which our orange bicycles serve as a reminder of the need for healthy and sustainable transportation systems.”
“The Parks Department has been proud to host numerous NY400 events celebrating the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s arrival to New York City - from planting 150,000 orange tulips, celebrating Dutch culture at the West Harlem Piers Fishing Festivals and numerous other activities throughout the summer,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Thanks to the generous grant from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, we unveiled the New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion last week to mark the ongoing partnership with the Dutch that started 400 years ago. As the area now called Battery Park did in the past, the plein and pavilion will serve as a hub for transportation, culture and activity in lower Manhattan.”
New Yorkers and visitors will enjoy Holland on the Hudson, a colorful flotilla of 86 modern and historic Dutch and American yachts. Also in the harbor will be a variety of sailing vessels that include: two Dutch naval frigates - the HNLMS Tromp and Van Speijk, replicas of the Half Moon (the Dutch ship that moored off Manhattan in 1609) and the Onrust (the first European ship to be built in North America), and a fleet of Flying Dutchman sailboats. Visitors can see the ships up-close via video screens at The Battery.
Harbor Day, sponsored by ING, will take place across the City’s waterfront with food, drink, entertainment and activities that commemorate this milestone in New York City history. Activities include the Hudson River Park Oyster Festival, Harmony on the Hudson – a family music festival, Super Powerboat races, free bike rentals, outdoor concerts, Dutch films, performances at the New Island Festival on Governor’s Island, children’s bike clinics at Brooklyn Bridge Plaza and other celebrations. All events are open to the public and linked by free bike rentals and free hop-on/hop-off boat service. Visit www.nycgo.com/harborday for more information.
In January, Mayor Bloomberg, Cabinet Minister Frans Timmermans and Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen announced a year of special celebrations, events and performances, in both New York and Amsterdam, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Hudson’s arrival in New York. NY400 is the result of an initiative by the Dutch Government in close co-operation with Dutch local and provincial authorities, with New York City and New York State, and with active participation of a great number of organizations from the private, cultural and not-for-profit sectors. NY400 is funded through a $10 million grant of the Dutch government.
In 2008, last year New York City welcomed a record 241,000 visitors from the Netherlands, surpassing the record 181,000 visitors in 2007. New York City is the number one destination for Dutch travelers to the U.S. The Dutch market represented more than $455 million in spending power in 2008, up from $328 million in 2007.
Contact: Kimberly Spell / Tiffany Townsend (NYC & Company) (212) 484-1270
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