NEW CITY CLERK'S OFFICE AND MARRIAGE BUREAU OPENS FOR BUSINESS ON JANUARY 12
Enhanced Customer Service and Stylish Design Expected to Increase Marriage Bureau's Popularity
The City today announced that a new Office of the City Clerk, home of the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, will open for business on January 12, 2009. The new facility, at 141 Worth Street in Lower Manhattan, is part of a complete physical and operational overhaul of how New Yorkers and visitors receive marriage licenses and other documents. The new marriage bureau replaces the facility currently in use at One Centre Street.
"New York City is already a legendary location to tie the knot, but this new location will give customers an even better, smoother experience that is more enjoyable and more memorable," said First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, who oversaw the renovation project. "The enhancements we have made will transform one very important aspect of the City Clerk's office - the Marriage Bureau - and will help make New York City an even more desirable wedding destination for people around the country and the world."
"New Yorkers and visitors visit the Clerk's Office on one of the happiest days of their lives," said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "So it is fitting that the Clerk's Office and Marriage Bureau are housed in a beautiful new facility that will give New Yorkers an elegant place to get married, and give tourists another reason to visit New York."
The new 24,000 square foot ground-level space, significantly larger than the current space, features a new line-management system that tells customers their wait time; fourteen computer kiosks for online application processing; one-stop windows for service instead of multiple windows; credit card processing (replacing the need for money orders); large restrooms with vanities and full-length mirrors; refinished and decorated chapel space; an area to take photos in front of a backdrop of City Hall; a branch of the City Store where fresh flowers can be purchased, as well as other sundries such as disposable cameras, film, costume rings, and NYC merchandise. The wedding chapels feature artwork on loan from the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the City Hall backdrop was supplied by Duggal Visual Solutions. Literature in the new Marriage Bureau will be available in English and Spanish. Customers can also speak to clerks in their preferred language using a telephone interpretation system available in 170 languages. The design and construction of the project cost $12.3 million.
"The magnificent new quarters at 141 Worth Street will advance our ability to serve visitors in a speedier and more customer friendly atmosphere than ever before in our long and storied history," said Michael McSweeney, First Deputy & Acting City Clerk. "We now have the resources to make the process of getting married one of the happiest experiences of our customers' lives."
The City's Marriage Bureau provides marriage licenses, domestic partnership registrations, marriage officiants registrations, copies and amendments of marriage records, certificates of non-impediment, and other services.
To help boost wedding related tourism, NYC & Company, the City's marketing agency, is developing potential honeymoon and wedding packages as well as partnership opportunities. These include targeting overseas media outlets; conducting outreach to NYC & Company members to create deals, rebates and packages; using marketing programs for increased awareness and exposure; and creating travel packages for domestic and foreign markets.
"New York City is one of the world's most exciting and romantic wedding destinations-and, with the re-opening of the City's marriage bureau, New Yorkers and visitors from all parts of the country and around the globe can now tie the knot in an attractive and vibrant setting that enhances one of life's most celebrated moments," said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company.
The City Clerk website, available through www.nyc.gov, has also been enhanced, and individuals may now submit this information online prior to their visit.
The Customer Service Group at the Mayor's Office of Operations has been working with the City Clerk's office to enhance the experience for the City's customers during their visits to the Clerk's Office. For example, the City Clerk has made comment cards available to capture customer feedback. Also, the City Clerk's office has created printed materials, available at the information desk, providing customers with necessary information about the process for acquiring services and a map so customers can find services appropriate to them.
Working with the Mayor's Office of Operations and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the City Clerk has trained its front-line staff in customer service practices. To further improve the visitor experience, the Clerk's Office is employing workers from ReServe, a not-for-profit organization that connects New York City's retired professionals with civic engagement positions. ReServists will help greet and direct visitors to expedite and improve the process within the facility.
While Manhattan is its most heavily trafficked location, the City Clerk has offices in each borough. The Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island offices have recently received aesthetic and structural enhancements and the staff in those offices will receive customer service training. These offices also now accept credit cards, can receive applications electronically, and access translation services.
The City's Economic Development Corporation oversaw the management of this project, along with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the manager of the property, and the Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications. Also assisting with the project is Bovis Lend Lease, Loffredo Brooks Architects, and Drake Design Associates.