City Island tourism, a perennial feature of summer in the borough, is getting a boost from NYC & Company.
NYC & Company just launched a new campaign, both locally and internationally, called Island Hopping, highlighting the exciting features found on the six smaller islands within the city.
Included among well-known tourist destinations like Ellis Island and Liberty Island was City Island, which Chris Heywood, NYC & Company vice-president said is much like ‘the little Newport, Rhode Island of the city.’
“We thought it is summertime in New York City and we want to make sure that not only New Yorkers but visitors know that we have these wonderful islands around New York City and…island hop,” said Heywood.
Heywood said that he finds City Island charming and summer is the perfect time to head to the New England-like community.
Materials produced by NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization for the city, highlighted the seafood restaurants and antique stores on City Island.
It featured New York Sailing Center, as well nearby Orchard Beach and the Bartow-Pell Mansion.
Gerard ‘Skip’ Giacco, City Island Chamber of Commerce president said that the effect on island business would depend on how much effort NYC & Company puts into Island Hopping, adding that in general promotion certainly can bring more visitors.
What he thinks is significant is the causal atmosphere and described it as a great place for people to take a stroll and have a bite to eat, he said.
“It is just the opposite of the gentrified area; if there is an appeal, that is the appeal,” said Giacco of the island, adding that visitors who stop in his place, Lickety Split Ice Cream, appreciate not being inundated.
He said that this stands in contrast to many places, including Coney Island or parts of Brooklyn, which more actively court tourists.
He added that City Island is basically a residential community.
Paul Klein, CICC vice-president, said that any good tourism-based publicity could translate into business and is a plus.
“Any promotion of City Island is a good idea,” said Klein, adding just getting the word out about the unique atmosphere of the island in relation to it being located in the borough and city is a good thing.
Klein’s business, Kaleidoscope Gallery, was mentioned in the NYC & Company’s promotional materials for Island Hopping.
Klein said that the 2009 film City Island and a recent German magazine article have drawn tourists from all over the world.
In terms of worldwide appeal, NYC & Company has 17 representative offices around the world serving 28 global regions, said Heywood, in addition to a push for local appeal.
“We have eight and a half million people (in the city) who may or may not have heard of City Island,” he said.
John Doyle, City Island Civic Association board member, said that he thinks island tourism is good and does provide jobs for some islanders.