Volume 21, Number 35 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 9 - 15, 2009

City Clerk

Photo by Julienne Schaer/Courtesy of NYC & Company

One of the city’s new wedding chapels, which will open Monday at 141 Worth St. in the old Dept. of Motor Vehicles center. The city is hoping amenities like bridal dressing rooms will draw wedding tourism.

Brides, take a number for upscale City Hall weddings

In a bid to boost the wedding tourist trade, the city is opening a new $12.3 million Office of the City Clerk, the home of the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, at 141 Worth St. on Monday, replacing the marriage bureau in the Municipal Building.

The thousands of annual weddings at One Centre St. were typically no-frills, bureaucratic ceremonies, often done for immigration reasons.

The new 24,000 sq. ft. ground floor wedding venue will feature a system that tells couples how long they have to wait before a clerk is free to officially tie the knot. It will have one-stop window service instead of separate windows, and there will be 14 computer kiosks for online marriage license applications. Credit card processing, eliminating the need for money orders, and large restrooms with vanities and full-length mirrors will be among the amenities.

The wedding chapels will have artwork on loan from the Brooklyn Museum of Art and an area where couples can have their pictures taken will have a backdrop image of City Hall. A branch of City Store will have fresh flowers for sale as well as disposable cameras, film, N.Y.C. novelty items and costume jewelry rings in case the best man forgets to bring one.

Customers will be able to speak to clerks in their preferred language using a telephone interpretation system available in 170 languages. Pamphlets in the new Marriage Bureau will be available in Spanish and English.

Marriage Licenses will cost $35, the same as they do now, and the same $25 fee will pay for the ceremony.

The marriage bureau also provides marriage licenses, domestic partnership registrations, copies and amendments of marriage records, registrations of marriage officiants and other marriage documents.

To help boost wedding-related tourism, NYC & Company, the city’s marketing agency, is developing honeymoon and wedding packages. The agency will target overseas media to promote the city as a wedding destination, help create foreign and domestic travel packages and reach out to city merchants to create wedding deals and packages.

“New York is one of the world’s most exciting and romantic wedding destinations and with the opening of the city’s new marriage bureau, New Yorkers and visitors from all parts of the country and around the world can now tie the knot in an attractive and vibrant setting that enhances one of life’s most celebrated moments,” George Ferritta, head of NYC & Co. said in a statement.

“The magnificent new quarters at 141 Worth St. 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 Acting City Clerk Michael McSweeney.

The Clerk’s office will be employing retired professionals referred by ReServe, a volunteer organization, to greet and direct visitors to the new office.

— Albert Amateau




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