“New York City is committed to reaching out to you and making you feel welcome,” Dan Doctoroff, New York's deputy mayor for economic development, told an elite group of meeting planners at a history-making breakfast at Gracie Mansion, the official mayoral residence.
Why history-making? Because the event launched a new partnership between a New York mayor and NYC & Company, the city's convention and visitors' organization. It was the first of five Industry Leadership Summits co-hosted by the office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Convention, Exhibition, Meeting and Event Committee formed by NYC & Company in response to the city's economic downturn after 9/11.
CEME already has nearly 200 members — planners, marketers, and industry suppliers. By hosting its briefing at Gracie, “the mayor is sending a clear message: We want your business,” said Cristyne Nicholas, president and CEO of NYC & Company.
After breakfast, the group boarded a double-decker bus for a look at what's new and hot in NYC: the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South (a redo of the former St. Moritz), the W Hotel in the theatre district, the brand-new Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan.
At Broadway and 47th Street, a four-story restaurant and event venue, Noce, is being developed by the Emil family, which owned Windows on the World, the restaurant that was atop the World Trade Center. Attendees were treated to a description of Noce, opening this month, by its enthusiastic chef, Michael Lomonaco, himself a symbol of the city's resilience. Formerly the chef at Windows, Lomonaco is alive today only because on the morning of 9/11, he made a last-minute decision to stop at his optician before work.
After a stop at the World Trade Center site, planners headed uptown, to “21” for a closing lunch. There, Greg Gibadlo, vice president, convention development for NYC & Company, noted that CEME is bigger than most convention bureaus in other cities. “It's a true coalition. There are five or six DMCs in this room today, working together,” he said. “If you come to New York, you'll find dedicated, knowledgeable people who'll work damn hard to help you.”