In 1977, New York State Department of Economic Development blanketed the airwaves with a huge promotional campaign to promote tourism in New York State. Following in the footsteps of the initial media blitz, NYSDED teamed with CMG a marketing firm, trademarked the I love NY logo and started selling caps, t-shirts and the infamous bumper sticker adorned with this node's title.
In the fall of 2001, following you-know-what this campaign has been ressucitated as 'More than ever, ...'

Of course, there's already a node about this but I wanted to document the origin of the bumper sticker, specifically.
If this node's title shows up as I♥NY, or is otherwise broken; refer to writeup for an explanation.

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New York in the late 1970s was having serious problems. The social unrest of the 1960s was mostly avoided (at least in comparison to, say, Chicago), but the city was still suffering. People were starting to hate the city they lived in, saying the crime was too high, the dirt was everywhere, the subways were unsafe and graffitti-filled. During Abraham Beame's tenure as mayor, the City nearly went bankrupt, and President Ford refused the city federal money. Beame managed eventually to obtain federal aid and started to try to rekindle New Yorkers' faith in their city, as was his pledge on his first day of his administration:
"I hope to be a matchmaker in the years of my administration, wedding our people to their city, encouraging them to identify with this great metropolis that is their home."
The city hosted the 1976 Democratic Convention as well as a large celebration of the nation's bicentennial. But people were still not coming to New York, and the people who were there were trying to leave. The City needed to find a way to revitalize itself.

State Commerce Commissioner John Dyson decided that the city and state needed to find a simple way to promote itself, to clean up its image (for although New York State was not having the crime and dirt problems that the City had, everyone then, as now, thought of New York City when they thought of New York), and to bring tourists back to the great metropolis (and maybe, you know, Niagara Falls or something, while they're there); specifically, in fact, enough tourists to recoup the cost of this advertising slogan.

Several slogans were offered and rejected, including gems such as "New York, New York, It's a Heck of a State" (from "New York, New York" from "On The Town") and "New York. A State for All Seasons". The committee was getting desperate for a slogan. It is claimed that the paltry budget offered to the team was the inspiration for the slogan, since people approached to help with the project obliged not for the money, but because "they love New York".

The now-famous heart logo was designed by Milton Glaser, the three typewriter-style letters surrounding a red heart on a white field; Glaser created it free of charge. Steve Karmen, previously a jingle writer, wrote and composed the accompanying song (which is now the Official State Song), also donating his labor to the cause.

The City (and state) soon recovered from the problems of the 1970s, and tourists started flocking back to New York City (and, probably, places like, i don't know, Cooperstown). Under Mayor Koch, the city started to come out from its financial crisis, and the public mood lightened as their city started to come back to life. The city started to rebuild itself in the 1980s with this new money, and Koch also instituted the 'Clean Car Program' which removed all graffiti from the subway cars, for better or for worse.

After the World Trade Center attacks, the "I ♥ New York" slogan was brought back out to unite the country behind New York and the horrors it suffered. The familiar (at least to New Yorkers) refrain (sing it with me: D-C-D-E) was again heard on New York television, with Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki urging Americans to come back to the Greatest City In The World (and maybe see the lovely Hudson River Valley or whatever while you're there, if it's not too much trouble), with a slight variation that makes it even truer:

Now More Than Ever,
I N Y

Some facts about the slogan:
It's hard for a New Yorker, at least one who actually does love New York, to adequately explain his feelings to the rest of the world. There really is something about this city, something alive, something that makes you look past the litter on the streets and the homeless and the famous brusqueness of the inhabitants and even the police into its heart. The city holds a piece of us, those of us who chose to make it our home (for even those born in New York don't always appreciate their hometown and set off elsewhere; like living everywhere else, people who love where they live chose to live there) know what i mean.

There is no place else in the world that is like New York.

Watch Ghostbusters and try to understand why the last line of the film is I Love This Town! Listen to Lou Reed and try to figure out why he can't leave New York no matter how awful it gets. Read New York City, read New York, read Secret of New York City, read basically everything that perdedor has to say. (guess you can't now... ) Or better yet, come to New York, not as a tourist, but go with one of us who has truly made New York our home and will try to show you how much we love New York.


Sources:
http://1010wins.com/topstories/StoryFolder/story_1363016787_html
http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/nyc100/html/classroom/hist_info/mayors.html#beame
http://www.50states.com/songs/newyork.htm
www.thepeaches.com/music/frank/NewYorkNewYorkfromOntheTown.txt (Google cache)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/nograffiti/html/pr379-95.html

Uhm, New York State is nice, too.

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