Mayor Bloomberg held a press conference today to announce that the city hosted 50 million tourists this year. As guests of honor for the conference, the city invited British couple Craig Johnson and Lucy Foulger. The pair had been married only an hour earlier.
Johnson and Foulger, those gentle souls, were merely cogs in Bloomberg’s idea to have the symbolic 50 millionth tourists attend the presser. Tourism officials apparently wanted to bring in British people for this role since the U.K. is the number one source of tourism for NYC. And thus Johnson and Foulger’s wedding day was “hijacked” — though not without its perks:
For agreeing to merge their special day with one of the mayor’s, the couple will be rewarded handsomely: They have been offered a bundle of prizes — mostly in the form of gift cards and tickets to shows — with a face value of considerably more than $25,000.
Among the merchants that contributed to the bounty were American Express, Travelocity, Bloomingdale’s, F.A.O. Schwarz and the Tribeca Grill restaurant. NYC & Company, which derives its revenue from its corporate members and from allocations of city money, has agreed to pay any taxes the couple incur on the prizes, but is not assuming the costs of their trip or the wedding, a city official said.
Submitting to a random fit of whimsy by the mayor doesn’t sound so bad!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 20, 2011