An ad campaign designed to buff up the image of Long Beach as it recovers from superstorm Sandy will soon boast about the city's coastline, nightlife and proximity to New York City with the help of comedian and favorite son Billy Crystal.
"This is our comeback," said Fran Adelson, Long Beach City Council president at a news conference Thursday announcing the $700,000 effort. "We're really proud to say Long Beach is open for business."
A new website for the campaign, visitlongbeachnewyork.com, was on display at Long Beach's Allegria Hotel, where Adelson was joined by other city officials and members of the advertising team that designed the project.
Along with the website, the campaign will include television, radio, print and billboard advertisements with a focus on luring visitors and their wallets back to the beachside city, which suffered more than $200 million in damage from the storm.
The massive storm, which hit the area Oct. 29, knocked out the city's sewage system, flooded roads, swept away tons of sand from its popular beachfront and destroyed the iconic boardwalk that officials depended on every summer as an enticement to out-of-town tourists.
City Manager Jack Schnirman said as he and other Long Beach officials struggled to deal with the unending list of challenges in the days and weeks after the storm, they never lost sight of rebuilding as quickly as possible.
"Even as the city lay in ruins," he said at the news conference, "we knew we'd be able to have a summer season."
Schnirman and others involved in the project are hoping the ad campaign will help repair the city's image as a warm-weather destination and pump money into its still-recovering economy.
The television ads feature Crystal, who grew up in Long Beach and recently raised $1 million to help in the city's Sandy recovery efforts. The three different versions show Crystal referring to life in Long Beach as "another day in paradise" as he lounges in a beach chair on one of the city's popular stretches of oceanfront sand.
The website also features Long Island Rail Road travel times from Penn Station and the Atlantic Terminal to Long Beach.