“I ❤️ NY” is as iconic to the city as any bagel or slice, with it practically painted across every corner of the city from tourist shops to giant billboards.
However, an interesting fact that most might not be aware of is that the original I ❤️ NY campaign followed an urban crisis that struck NYC in 1977. Much of the city was threatened by bankruptcy after jobs moved off-shore, middle class citizens left the city for the suburbs and crime was on an incline.
The I ❤️ NY campaign was intended to “reignite the can-do optimism of New Yorkers, to mobilize volunteer action to build a safer, cleaner, more prosperous city, and to ensure that New York City would remain a great place to live, work and visit.”
And today, Mayor Eric Adams introduced the campaign’s 21st century makeover, changing “I ❤️ NY” to “We ❤️ NYC.”
The reinvention comes at a time when NYC is experiencing similar difficulties as it was in the 70s, possibly even more complicated now, explains the We ❤️ NYC website. It addresses the concept of remote work’s disruption to urban life, public safety concerns, astronomical prices, the technological revolution and racial injustice. Communities are coming together, just as they had at the launch of the original campaign. “Together, ‘WE’ can tackle these challenges and demonstrate, once again, that this is the greatest city in the world,” reads their website.
With plans to continue through 2024, the full revamp will be done in phases. As outlined by the website, the first phase includes: a five-borough clean up drive, an Earth Day celebration of NYC parks, a subway entertainment competition and more.
The campaign also offers tons of civic engagement opportunities for a city of “doers” to get involved and support the city’s post pandemic resurgence.
“This city overcame the darkest days of the pandemic because of the selfless work of everyday New Yorkers, and if each of us gives just one hour a week in an act of service, the result will be transformative,” said Mayor Adams. “The ‘We ❤️ NYC’ campaign asks everyone who loves the greatest city in the world to show it by lending a helping hand and spreading that love to every block across all five boroughs.”
You can learn all about the campaign here.