Palm Trees and Swimsuits in Grand Central Terminal

January 28, 2014 Updated: January 28, 2014

NEW YORK—New York City had another frigid day Tuesday with a high of just 20 degrees Fahrenheit. But it was a beach day in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,: 80 degrees Fahrenheit with sunshine and clouds.

That’s the message the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau hoped to bring to commuters passing through Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

What better way to interest commuters on a very cold day than to hold a beach party.

“The promotion is to remind New Yorkers that there’s a very warm, very enjoyable beach vacation just three hours away from New York City,” said Virginia Sheridan, managing partner at Finn Partners, which represents the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The one-day promotional event in Vanderbilt Hall, called Hello Sunny Beach, featured lifeguards in swimsuits, palm trees, and lounge chairs, as well as a giant screen with live video of a Fort Lauderdale beach.

At a Sunny Dome visitors could sit with their heads in an immersive sphere with video, sounds, scents, and even a mild breeze. This sensory experience might attract New Yorkers toward the city known for its canals and nicknamed “Venice of America.”

JetBlue Airlines co-hosted the event. The airline schedules dozens of flights each day to Fort Lauderdale from all three NYC-area airports.

JetBlue flight attendants at the event handed out JetBlue’s signature Terra Blues potato chips. Each hour they gave away one free Fort Lauderdale vacation getaway to the lucky winners who signed up.

Sheridan said millions of New York state residents visit Greater Fort Lauderdale each year for its miles of beaches, warm weather, and many other attractions.

“New Yorkers love Greater Fort Lauderdale,” she said. “And Greater Fort Lauderdale loves New Yorkers.”

Matt Gnaizda is a special correspondent in New York.

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