Nyack, Nimble And Blessed, Can Still Attract Tourists — Even Those From Rockland County
By Tina Traster
Nyack has for years actively understood that it is an asset to be marketed for tourism. The charming Victorian village on the banks of the Hudson River has a strategic mix of restaurants, shops, culture, sports, and physical beauty to make it a destination.
Rockland County, which for many years has handed out annual tourism grants, agreed. In February, which feels like a lifetime ago, Visit Nyack, the nonprofit that drives tourism to the village and beyond, was awarded $30,000 — a portion of the $50,000 originally granted.
Given the fiscal challenges affecting all levels of government we are grateful that we were still able to provide Visit Nyack the largest tourism grant award in the County,” said County Executive Ed Day. “The closure of Rockland, NYS and much of our country due to COVID-19 forced a constricted timeline for tourism related promotions and as such we had to reevaluate the original grant award. Our Office of Economic Development and Tourism worked closely with Visit Nyack as they pivoted to attract more local visitors.”
The coronavirus pandemic was a spoiler – the world as we knew it collapsed and tourism became an elusive concept. The lockdown kept us sequestered through early June, and even as restrictions have lapsed, summer travel was anemic.
But Visit Nyack, which is nimble and creative, was not prepared to let the ship go down. Like many businesses, the organization took a hard look at what “Visit Nyack” really means and pivoted with advertising targets that are closer to home by putting an emphasis on a safer, COVID-friendly experience for visitors. Many have been cooped up and are looking for re-entry into the world but are more inclined to stay closer to home.
Visit Nyack’s eight-year program has, up to now, successfully branded the village with its “Art & Soul on the Hudson” campaigns. Funded by both local business groups and Rockland County, Visit Nyack marketing campaigns have included advertising in print in The New York Times, Time Out New York, New York Magazine, and others as well as digital, broadcast and other media, including billboards on the West Side Highway and ad cards in Metro North commuter trains.
The award-winning program brought thousands of visitors to Nyack, many from the New York City metro area, as well as tourists from around the world.
Visit Nyack co-founder Art Clark says this year’s message is tailored to a more local audience, including Rockland County, for the first time.
‘Businesses and cultural organizations have slowly and carefully kept up the forward momentum, and most important, are now making a strategic “pivot” to new operating models and creative ways to attract customers and serve the public,” said Clark. “In tandem with this vital shift, the village’s marketing and tourism arm – Visit Nyack, Inc. – is now pivoting as well.”
Visit Nyack’s tourism message has shifted regionally via a new marketing program comprised of social media, radio and digital ads that offer flexibility to keep the pivot going in whatever directions are most promising. Key to the new messaging is that Nyack can be seen as a COVID “Safe Haven,” particularly because of its many outdoor attractions and precautions merchants are taking to practice social distancing.
And the timing of the opening of the Shared Use Path (SUP) on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge could not have been better.
Nyack’s COVID-friendly assets include:
- Locally sourced farm goods and other products on Thursdays at the Nyack Farmer’s Market
- Curbside take-out and delivery from Nyack’s eateries, including the Culinary Arts Center — many offering locally sourced foods and economically priced “dinners to go”
- Every other Friday night, the village closes the streets to traffic to offer a festival-like experience for dining, shopping, live music, art exhibitions, story time, fashion shows, and mask-making activities. “Maskarade” – a creative mask competition offering great prizes to be awarded at a red-carpet event on October 30, will be sponsored by Nyack Merchants United
- Nyack Boat Charter offers Hudson River sails and high-speed water sports
- Edward Hopper House museum is holding jazz concerts in the museum garden
- Rivertown Film pivoted with virtually streamed movies with commentary from actors, directors, and producers
- Zoom readings from Elmwood Playhouse and live in-person “Porch Stories” from the theater’s outdoor balcony
Nyack has even found a way to salvage its renown Halloween Parade: “Halloween at Home” – will be an online event featuring photos, videos, a “drive-through viewing” of decorated homes, and more, sponsored on Facebook by the Nyack Chamber.
“Pivoting in the COVID era is survival,” said Clark. “Nyack is nimble. It’s a great place to visit, even in these trying times.”