New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision last week to change the dates of the New York Boat Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center — a move that has rankled show exhibitors outside the marine industry — followed a personal meeting with a boat dealer who knows him.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association has lobbied for years to have the dates of its show, now 108 years old and counting, moved to avoid conflicting with the holiday season. The reason for the change in dates was first reported Monday by Crain's New York Business.
"We didn't see any hope," NMMA executive vice president Ben Wold told Crain’s. Wold declined to identify the boating executive except to say that he was able to persuade the governor to change the dates. "My attitude is that the governor cared about small businesses and he acted."
Cuomo said Thursday that the show dates will change — a move he said was being made to aid the state’s $5.8 billion boating industry, hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The change will not occur until 2015, when the show, typically held at the dawn of the new year, will move to what the governor described as the “more favorable dates” of Jan. 21-25. The show will be held Jan. 1-5 in 2014.
Cuomo's office did not immediately return a call or an email message seeking comment, according to Crain’s.
A group of trade show organizers at the Javits Center expressed concern last week about the change of dates for the show.
“Friends of Javits, an organization representing trade show exhibitors — none in the marine industry — called on the New York Convention Center, known as the Javits Center, to reverse its arbitrary decision that will displace six major trade shows at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The decision violates a longstanding policy of the Javits Center to schedule exhibitions that maximize their economic impact on the city and state of New York,” the group wrote in an Aug. 8 letter to the center’s chairman Henry Silverman.
“This move gives unprecedented preferential treatment to the New York Boat Show, which has been a declining exhibition, dropping 30 percent in attendance over the past three years,” the letter continued. “No reason was given for this decision and we are aware of no economic impact study that was conducted regarding its effects. It will have a negative economic impact on tax revenue, jobs, as well as a number of industries, including hotels, restaurants and transportation.”
The group also sent a letter to Cuomo.
“As you are aware, it is longstanding policy that exhibition dates at the Javits Center are carefully chosen based on tax revenue generation for the city and state of New York, as well as economic opportunity for the New York hotel, restaurant and transportation sectors,” that letter reads. “For your administration to give the boat show preferential treatment over more successful and qualified exhibitions stands in steep contrast to this policy …”