Welcome to Brooklyn! Visitor center gets a high-tech makeover

for Brooklyn Paper
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Welcome to Brooklyn!

The hot buzz is visitors to the coolest borough can shop, dine, sight-see, and enjoy the best of Kings County with less headaches and more glee, thanks to an upgraded tourist office opening in mid-March.

A revamped Brooklyn Tourism Visitors Center and Gift Shop, an interactive information hub inside Borough Hall, will lead travelers virtually by the hand to their destinations of choice, whether they want to catch a Cyclones’ game in the People’s Playground, attend a concert at Barclays Center, or admire the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park. The joint venture between Borough Hall, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and One Brooklyn Fund will work to ensure travelers this side of the East River enjoy their stay and return for more.

The facility, first opened by former Borough President Marty Markowitz in 2004, has been modernized with iPad stations connecting users to a gift shop promoting borough-made products as well to the website, Explore Brooklyn, whose physical home at the guidepost will help to generate and share content on dining, lodging, recreation, and shopping. Chamber members will stock the center with Brooklyn-made products to help promote local artisans and small businesses.

An estimated 15 million people flocked to Brooklyn in 2014, making it a haven for tourists and a lucrative trademark for dwellers, said its chief booster.

“The popularity of our brand must translate into prosperity for all Brooklynites, and tourism is a vehicle to achieve that mission,” said Borough President Adams. “Tourists want a memorable experience when they travel, and our new and improved center will set the stage for a day trip, weekend getaway, or longer excursion that excites their senses and expands their horizons.”

The facility will still feature historic photographs of area attractions, memorabilia related to the Brooklyn Dodgers and other borough institutions, and guides to places of interest, while a rotating display curated by Brooklyn Borough Historian Ron Schweiger highlights local history. An ongoing exhibit on local sections of the Underground Railroad in Brooklyn that enabled slaves in their search for freedom honors the past and present, in a collaboration with the Weeksville Heritage Center.

The makeover is a win-win, according to its brainstormers.

“Brooklyn is one of the world’s most iconic places,” said Brooklyn Chamber president Carlo A. Scissura. “Each neighborhood — from Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay to Crown Heights and Brownsville — will be promoted to tourists, so they spend their time and money in our businesses.”

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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