Friends of Javits Meets With Governor’s Staff on Boat Show Date Changes

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR

New York, NY – Little progress was reported August 14 after a delegation from the Friends of Javits met with the New York governor’s office to seek a compromise in the unprecedented decision to give plum January dates at the Jacob K. Javits Center to the New York Boat Show.

Friends of Javits met with members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff to convince the governor to back off from the unilateral move. The organizers of at least five January trade shows were knocked off track in their planning and the decision could ultimately impact an estimated 17 shows.

The meeting, however, proved to be more of a listening session in which Cuomo’s people made no promises to the show organizers. “After meeting with representatives of Gov. Cuomo’s office, we look forward to working through this matter in good faith in the coming days,” Friends of Javits said in a statement. “We remain hopeful that we can reach a collaborative resolution.”

Sources within the organization, however, told Trade Show Executive there was very little progress made and legal action remained the most likely recourse for the show organizers.

Cuomo this month took a unilateral step to prop up the boating industry in his state to recover from Superstorm Sandy, which trashed scores of pleasure boats and many marinas. By enabling the date shift of the New York Boat Show from the heart of the holiday season to mid-to-late January, the outcome of the governor’s strategy was expected to draw in larger crowds of potential customers.

Friends of Javits said Cuomo’s move flew in the face of Javits Center policy, which grants scheduling priority to trade shows and events that generate the most economic impact for the state and for New York’s hotel industry. The Friends contend the Boat Show has been leaking attendees in recent years, and a small percentage of the customers who did show up were likely to stay in hotels.

Although contracts for shows are signed annually, show organizers depend on gentlemen’s agreements with Javits [and other facilities] to hold preferred dates open in their planning and marketing.

Friends of Javits asked that no contract be issued to the Boat Show pending further discussions. They also asked for a guarantee that the current Javits Center booking policy would not be thrown out altogether.

Reach Randy Mastro, counsel for Friends of Javits, at (212) 351-3825 or rmastro@gibsondunn.com