Tourists beat a path through Brooklyn portal

The Brooklyn Paper
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It works out to about 10,000 a year.

Nearly 50,000 tourists −− from as far away as New Zealand and as close as Manhattan −− have passed through the portals of Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, to take advantage of the services offered by the Brooklyn Tourism Visitors Center in the five years since the center was opened.

That steady stream of visitors, Borough President Marty Markowitz said, is just the beginning, as the borough increases its offerings meant to draw visitors across the East River.

At an event held at Borough Hall celebrating the center’s fifth birthday, Markowitz noted, “I always say Brooklyn is the proud home to everyone from everywhere,’ but we’ve truly taken on a new role, ‘proud host to everyone from everywhere.’

“With all the energy in borough tourism, the indications are it’s only going to keep on growing, and if visitors want to take a day trip into Manhattan, that’s okay,” Markowitz added.

Among the borough’s drawing cards that Markowitz cited are its “restaurants and nightlife,” and “the character of its diverse neighborho­ods,” all of which, he stressed, “means real money coming into Brooklyn.”

Also enticing visitors over the East River are the borough’s special events, said Markowitz, and, he predicted, they will only become bigger and more exciting with time. The Brooklyn Book Festival, for instance, now in its fourth year, drew “over 25,000 book−lov­ers,” Markowitz said.

“In years to come,” he added, plans are to expand the event from one day to a full weekend.

Markowitz also mentioned the smART Brooklyn Art Gallery Hop, which debuted last year, and the new Shop Brooklyn Boutique Fashion Nights, being developed in coordination with, that, said Markowitz, will draw shoppers to boutique−laden commercial strips on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, this summer, to enjoy fashion shows, food and shopping discounts.

The borough is also making inroads in terms of outreach, said Markowitz, through the tourism kiosk at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, as well as through the production of maps for distribution by hotel concierges and inclusion on tourism passes and tour routes, such as a “Slice of Brooklyn” pizza tour and another tour that takes visitors to Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and Brighton Beach, before heading over to the site of Ebbets Field and Juniors.

The goal of all the efforts, Markowitz emphasized, is to “make sure Brooklyn is on the map.

“How could it not be?” he added, with a rhetorical flourish, praising the borough’s “Style, moxie and pizzazz.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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