New York City Hearts Twentysomethings

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New York City & Company, the city's official marketing and tourism organization, has a new ad campaign. It's an attempt to promote New York to those who are clearly missing out on all of its joys. You know, poor, sad under 30s who are sitting somewhere outside of New York City every night in their footie pajamas with nothing to do, because this city, does it have anything good to offer at all?

Such youngsters, it has been determined by someone in marketing, must be wooed to the Big Apple with "Cheap eats. Last calls. Art openings. Pickup games. Vintage shopping. Velvet ropes. Concerts every night. Clubs all night." And, incorporating the text-and-IM-speak of the millennials they hope to engage, the tagline: "NYC <30." 

Maybe it's our eyesight, but that's some hard-to-parse emoticon-ing. Is that NYC hearts zero? NYC is less than 30? NYC is into baby trends? NY1 explains that the goal of the program is to "attract 55 million visitors to the city annually by 2015." According to The Wall Street Journal, "The initiative will encourage youth to travel to New York by promoting discounted offers and highlighting what makes the five boroughs a hub for young travelers. On the city's tourism website, a new page beckons to young people by advertising attractions like the city's best slices of pizza, vintage clothing shops, and night clubs." (A network of hostels is also in the works.)

In 2010, 30 percent of the visitor volume to the city was made up of under 30s. Will the new campaign boost those numbers? And what will the over 30s do about that? We wait, with bated pizza breath.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.