Hey Big Spenders,
A B'way Giveaway
By PAUL H.B. SHIN
vacationing couple from
Australia were among the first to cash in on the city's
latest attempt to boost its sluggish economy yesterday,
turning their shopping spree into free Broadway tickets.
"Spend Your Regards to
Broadway" gives two tickets to anyone who spends at
least $500 at stores, restaurants and museums by Jan. 16
(starting Jan. 1). In this case, Rachel and Matthew
Bentley of Sydney opted to see "The Tale of the
Allergist's Wife." The couple's spending spree included
dress shirts at Macy's and cosmetics at Bloomingdale's.
"The purpose of this
program obviously is to support Broadway, but [also] to
support the entire tourism-related industry," said
Cristyne Lategano Nicholas, president of NYC & Company,
the city convention and tourism bureau.
January is traditionally
a slow month for both retailers and Broadway shows, but
both industries are expected to feel the pinch even more
this year because of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the
economic downturn, officials said.
especially those below Houston St., have seen revenues
plummet by up to 50%, said Tim Zagat, publisher of the
"The next month will be
very crucial for all the tourism industries in New
York," said Jed Bernstein, president of the League of
American Theatres and Producers.
Shoppers must rack up
$500 in receipts by Jan. 16, but have till Jan. 31 to
redeem them for tickets. Bring receipts to the Visitors
Information Center, 810 Seventh Ave., between 52nd and
53rd Sts., Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. and
Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets to performances
through March are available for for the following shows:
"Beauty and the Beast," "Cabaret", "Chicago," "Contact,"
"Les Miserables," "Proof," "The Full Monty," "The
Phantom of the Opera," "Allergist's Wife" and
Tourism officials expect
to give away about 34,000 tickets out of 50,000 that the
city bought as part of a $2.5 million bailout for ailing
Broadway shows. About 16,000 tickets were given to
various charities and Ground Zero rescue workers last
Some advocacy groups
have criticized the expense when the city is looking to
slash its budget by $766 million.
But tourism officials
said the latest campaign is expected to generate $10
million to $15 million in sales.
Original Publication Date: 1/3/02