NYC dwellers urged to go ... home

Staten Island: Tourist Destination No. 1?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a program to increase tourism for the borough, kicking off a larger, citywide program aimed at encouraging New Yorkers to vacation at home.

A new, daily Gray Line "hop-on, hop-off" bus tour through Staten Island will begin Monday, July 14, to take tourists through sites such as the Staten Island Zoo and Fort Wadsworth. It also will introduce the borough to Gray Line which does not now service it.

"Millions of tourists already ride the free ferry each year, but most stop short of actually getting out of the terminal and exploring the borough," Bloomberg said at a news conference. "With gas prices driving up the cost of air travel and driving, there's never been a better time to go local and vacation right here in the Big Apple."

The larger program for intracity tourism will be called "Go Local," and will include more than 200 summer discounts at restaurants, at shops, and on tours throughout the city's five boroughs.
New York City Tourism
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NY shuffles alcohol laws

William M. Dowd photo

If you're a New Yorker, or plan to visit the Empire State, you'll find a slightly more relaxed legal attitude toward sales of alcoholic beverages. For one thing, wine tastings will be allowed to begin at 10 a.m. on Sundays, rather than having to hold off until noon.

That's sure to be popular with the state's wine industry, which ranks third in the nation behind only California and Oregon in wine production and is a major tourist draw. Previously, wineries could sell bottles of wine beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays, but couldn't allow tastings.

It is one of a handful of changes signed into law this week by Gov. David Patterson. The others:

• The New York State Wine and Culinary Center (seen above) in Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes is allowed to sell beers and distilled spirits produced in the state rather than being limited to wine.

• Wine now may be widely sold at the annual New York State Fair in Syracuse. It had been restricted to certain areas of the fair even though beer could be sold anywhere.

• Ice cream flavored with wine may be sold up to 5% alcohol.

• Owners of microbreweries that manufacture and sell beer at wholesale now also may own restaurants that sell alcohol.
• New York Wine & Culinary Center
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