New video shows how New York City Cultural Institutions are vital for our city’s economy: local businesses and jobs

Wednesday, the Porcupine, is back!

NEW YORK (May 4, 2009) – Taking a page from the classic “Harry and Louise” health care commercials from the 1990s, the Wildlife Conservation Society has released a new video showing how New York City cultural institutions are vital for business. The new “Harry and Louis” parody features several creatures – both human and the four-legged type – killing time in a local bar – just to eat the free peanuts. Wednesday, the Bronx Zoo porcupine, has another cameo appearance.

The video was released today as WCS launches a campaign to restore city funding for the city’s 34 cultural institutions. The Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium, alone, face a reduction of $2.3 million – that’s 23 percent less than Fiscal Year 2009 support. The city's 34 cultural institutions are facing a loss of $18 million in city operating support- approximately 25 percent less than Fiscal year 2009 support.

The parody video can be viewed at:

Visitors are urged to go to to send a message to City Hall that they need to restore the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium funding to keep New York a great city.

“New York City is great because of its great cultural institutions,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs. “We realize that the city faces challenging fiscal realities but we need support from City Hall to weather the current financial storm. We only ask that the City recognize the important and unique role of cultural institutions by restoring our funding. By restoring funding of the city’s 34 cultural institutions, the city will be investing in the education of our children, the employment of our residents, the economic survival of our merchants and businesses, and the quality of life for all New Yorkers and visitors to our great city.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society alone pumps more than $400 million annually into the state’s economy. More than 4 million visitors come to WCS’s five facilities each year. And just in the Bronx, WCS is the largest youth employer, hiring more than 800 teens each year and employing more than 1,000 seasonal workers, including students, retirees, and people on public assistance.

The video is designed to help restore funding for all of our city’s 34 cultural institutions, including: The Wildlife Conservation Society; American Museum of Natural History; Carnegie Hall; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The New York Botanical Garden; Queens Museum of Art; Brooklyn Children's Museum; Staten Island Zoo and many more.

According to a 2008 national public opinion survey, 79 percent of Americans believe that zoos and aquariums are good for their local economy, and 80 percent believe that zoos and aquariums are important enough to local communities to be supported by government funding.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit:

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to:

Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682;
John Delaney: (1-718-220-3275;