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Tourism Cares Event Draws 600 to NYC

Courtesy Tourism Cares

NEW YORK — Tourism Cares brought more than 600 tourism industry volunteers to help restore two New York icons affected by Hurricane Sandy during the organization’s 10th-anniversary give-back event, Tourism Cares for America, May 30-31.

Volunteers worked in Brooklyn and Queens in a daylong beautification effort at Coney Island — one of America’s most famous beachside amusement areas — and Fort Tilden, a former military base on the Rockaway Peninsula known for its pristine beaches and trails. Tourism Cares joined with NYC and Company, the National Parks Service, NYC Service, the NYC Parks Department, the Coney Island Alliance and the New York Aquarium to coordinate 6,000 hours of volunteer work designed to enhance efforts already undertaken by the city and the federal government, and to preserve two important tourist attractions for years to come.

“We are pleased to welcome volunteers from around the nation to New York City for the 10th anniversary of Tourism Cares for America’s give-back project, and we can’t think of a more fitting way than this week’s volunteer effort to beautify and preserve these sites for the enjoyment of future generations of visitors,” said NYC and Company CEO George Fertitta.

Tourism Cares’ volunteers painted lamp posts and water fountains along the Coney Island Boardwalk; refurbished Coney Island’s Nautilus and Brighton playgrounds; painted murals near the new Steeplechase Plaza; painted fences, cleaned up and put in plantings at the New York Aquarium; and cleaned the beach at Coney Island.

At Fort Tilden — part of the Gateway National Recreation Area — volunteers installed new dune fencing along one mile (6,000 feet) of beach and at Riis Landing, painted two historic batteries at the site and completed beach cleaning.

“Tourism Cares is thrilled to return to New York City in celebration of our 10th anniversary and to help our partners here continue efforts to restore Coney Island and Jamaica Bay, two of the area’s most beloved sites by tourists and locals, in the largest travel industry volunteer program ever,” said Bruce Beckham, Tourism Cares’ outgoing executive director. “Over the last 10 years, Tourism Cares has been proud to bring together travel industry leaders who have volunteered, many of whom have been repeaters, to truly make a difference at historic sites around our nation by remembering, restoring and showing the world that tourism truly cares and always will.”

“NYC Service is honored to be partnering with NYC and Company and Tourism Cares to engage volunteers in a day celebrating tourism and the important role volunteers have in restoring areas affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said New York City Service chief service officer Diahann Billings-Burford.

During the Tourism Cares for America event, volunteers were invited last evening to an opening reception in Lower Manhattan aboard the Zephyr, a one-of-a-kind luxury yacht, and a cruise past the original restoration site: Ellis Island. Attendees also enjoyed a closing barbecue event at Luna Park following the volunteer activities.