Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a campaign to promote tourism for Long Island businesses and communities that were impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The Governor has organized a partnership between the MTA Long Island Rail Road and the City of Long Beach with local businesses in a promotional campaign to boost the region's summer tourism season. The announcement comes just weeks after the Governor convened New York's first ever tourism summit with industry leaders and business owners to identify ways to advance and capitalize on the state's significant tourism assets.
"We want everyone to know that, despite the damage we faced from Superstorm Sandy, Long Island's summer destinations are back and better than ever," Governor Cuomo said. "New York State has unparalleled assets when it comes to tourism and we want to take full advantage of that to help the areas of Long Island that are still recovering from Sandy. This LIRR Long Beach package is a great opportunity for Long Island, and a great attraction for New York's tourists."
The LIRR Long Beach package will now include numerous merchant discounts as well as the ability to ride for free on Long Beach's shuttle bus and trolley serving the city's West End. The package also offers a 26% discount off of the regular cost of train fare and beach admission. Over 58,000 Long Beach packages were sold in 2012, amounting to more than half of a million dollars in revenue for the city.
LIRR President Helena E. Williams said, "Long Beach is one of the Long Island Rail Road's most popular beach destinations. We know how important this beach season will be as part of the Sandy recovery process and that's why we are pleased to be partnering with the City of Long Beach to offer LIRR customers extra values, including merchant discounts and bus/trolley shuttle transportation around Long Beach."
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said, "With the assistance of Governor Cuomo, our summer destinations are back in business following damage from Hurricane Sandy. I invite everyone to come down to Nassau County to enjoy our beaches, pools, golf courses and downtown villages."
Long Beach City Council President Scott J. Mandel said, "We welcome everyone to join us this summer on the beach, in our restaurants and shops, and at our concerts and festivals. Long Beach is open for business. We are truly going to have a tremendous summer season."
The City of Long Beach sustained heavy damage to public and private property when Superstorm Sandy struck last October. Tons of sand had blown off the beaches and the City's famous boardwalk -- now being rebuilt -- was destroyed. Many in the city of 33,000 saw their homes damaged or destroyed. The storm also ruined hundreds of cars and contaminated drinking water for days.
The Long Island Rail Road sustained the heaviest damage from Sandy in the Long Beach area, with electrical substations knocked out of action and service suspended south of Lynbrook for almost two weeks. Long Beach Branch service was restored on November 14, 2012 with hourly diesel service and on November 26, 2012 with electric service fully reconnecting commuters to their jobs in New York City, the clearest sign that the comeback was underway. Last month Long Beach formally launched the start of reconstruction of its 2-mile long boardwalk.
The city is ready to invest up to $44 million in the new boardwalk with sections opening to the public throughout the summer. Although the project will not be fully completed until November, access to the beach and the ocean is unaffected.
With that in mind, the LIRR and the city have created a package that will allow LIRR customers traveling from Manhattan and Brooklyn to purchase a round trip ticket, beach admission, island wide shuttle bus or trolley service and merchant discounts for $22, a savings of 26%. For those traveling from Jamaica Station, the package will cost just $18.75.