2004-04-28 / Editorials


Welcome Visitors To GOP Convention

New Yorkers are, for the most part, a pretty classy bunch. This has been shown to be true in tragic times as well as on happy occasions—in our reaction to the September 11 atrocity and in the way we behave at special events which, although they’re celebrations, draw huge crowds that can create an especially stressful situation, like New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

At times like these, our pride in ourselves and in our city help to carry the day and make us a shining example to the world.

One such occasion will be coming up in late summer when the Republican National Convention is held in Madison Square Garden. Between convention delegates who will participate directly in nominating President George W. Bush for a second term, and friends, relatives and others, New York City will be playing host to some 50,000 visitors before and after the convention, which will be held from August 30 to September 2.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued a call for some 8,000 volunteers to help get us through what is expected to be a hectic couple of weeks. About 2,500 have already been enlisted to man help desks and guide delegates and others around the city and airports. They will be assisting a huge force of police officers, about 10,000 by some estimates.

Former Mayor Edward Koch has offered his services to the NYC Host Committee 2004; the organization created to host the GOP convention and to organize the welcoming of thousands of guests. The irrepressible pol is already appearing in two advertisements pushing the volunteer program.

In formally announcing the volunteer program last week and Koch’s role in it, Bloomberg stressed the nonpolitical aspects of the event.

"This is going to be a lot of fun for people that want to volunteer, and it’s not a partisan thing," said the mayor. "This is why we asked Ed to do this. This is for people who take pride in the city, regardless of who you are gong to vote for in the election. A successful convention means the future of this city."

That success will be measured not only in the city’s image as a gracious host during the convention and beyond, but also in giving the local economy a boost as the visitors shop in city stores, eat in city restaurants and go to see Broadway shows and other attractions.

There’s no hiding the fact that the convention—or any other event like it which attracts visitors to the city in large numbers, is a big deal. That’s the way the Gazette sees it, so we’re 100 percent behind the mayor on this one. We would urge all of our readers to give him their full support and not let any political considerations get in the way.

We would also urge every citizen to strongly consider volunteering to help in this effort. As the mayor said, it’s going to be a lot of fun and it’s a chance to show your pride in our city and to put your best foot forward.

Remember, volunteers are needed from August 18 to September 3. Apply to volunteer by going online at www.nyc 2004. org. New York City residents can call 311 to find a public library with free Internet access.

Volunteering will make you part of this historic and interesting event and give you the opportunity to help move the city forward.

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