Tag Archives: Gap

MetroCards feature front-facing ads for first time


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Straphangers are accustomed to staring at ads while riding city subways and buses, but now they can see them every time they swipe their MetroCards.

On Sunday, October 7, the MTA started selling MetroCards with front-facing advertising for the first time announced the transit agency. It was also the first time that the MetroCard hasn’t featured its gold and yellow front with blue lettering since 1997.

The advertisement, which is on the front and back of MetroCards, is for the Gap, promoting its remodeled 34th Street flagship store. It also offers a 20 percent discount to anyone who presents the MetroCard at a local Gap retailer from now until November 18.

“Opening up the front of MetroCards to advertising gives the MTA a new source of revenue,” said MTA chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota. “We will monitor public acceptance of ads going forward to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with use of the transit system. There is no reason why the MTA shouldn’t put every resource it can toward helping its fragile finances.”

Approximately 10 percent of MetroCards sold each month will feature the advertisement, and will only be available at 10 Manhattan subway stations. They were selected based on their proximity to the Gap’s flagship store and their high ridership, said the MTA.

It’s not the first time, however, that MetroCards have featured advertisements. Since 1995, they have had back-facing ads.

The Gap ad is just the beginning of the MTA’s new “full-face” advertising initiative. The transit agency expects a new MetroCard advertiser in December and January, and many more to come after that time.

“Since we first announced that we would accept branded MetroCards, our phones have been ringing non-stop with inquires,” said Paul J. Fleuranges, the MTA’s senior director of corporate and internal communications.

Queens cutie cast as ‘Dora’


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesey of Nickelodeon

Queens kid Fatima Ptacek has been cast as the new voice of “Dora the Explorer” — a spunky little girl with a penchant for adventures.

For her first “Dora” audition at the Nickelodeon offices, Ptacek read a few lines and sang two songs — “Rocketeer” by Far East Movement and “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Ptacek was unsure of the part she was auditioning for at first, but several lines into her mock dialogue, she knew it was for “Dora.” About a month after her original audition, she went back to the studio for a test run in the audio booth, reciting more lines and singing behind a microphone.

On November 8, 2010 she got the call. She was “Dora.”

“I was screaming like a madwoman and crying tears of joy,” exclaimed Ptacek. “I never imagined that this would be possible for me to get this opportunity at such a young age. I was so excited.”

Once a week for the past year, Ptacek has headed to a Manhattan sound studio where she records Dora’s dialogue and songs. Her first episode aired on Monday, January 30. Just like “Dora,” Ptacek is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. Her mother is Ecuadorian and her father is of European descent.

“I’m a proud Latina, and I’m not afraid to show it!” laughed Ptacek.

Aside from multilingual abilities, Ptacek feels that she and “Dora” exemplify several other similar characteristics.

“Dora is super determined and all for having adventures,” said Ptacek. “She makes sure she starts and finishes her adventures right. We’re also really positive.”

Ptacek said that her friends have been really supportive and encouraging, while many kids at her school are in disbelief.

“Some kids don’t believe it,” she said. “They’re in awe.”

Ptacek said her parents — a business owner and homemaker — have always been supportive of her budding career in the limelight, helping her run lines and prepare songs, driving her to auditions and doing anything necessary to ensure the starlet’s success.

Ptacek is no novice to the spotlight. The 11 year old is signed to Wilhelmina Models and has appeared in ads for Gap, The Children’s Place and Ralph Lauren and has won spots on “Royal Pains,” “Body of Proof” and “Sesame Street.”

Regardless of her fame, Ptacek says she’s happy staying in school and being a normal kid. She loves spending time in Queens, enjoying the borough’s diverse cuisine and spending time with her parents. Ptacek is also a level-seven gymnast and is currently learning Mandarin Chinese.

“I’m definitely still a kid and I’m definitely always going to be a kid until I have to be an adult,” said Ptacek.

The sixth-grader has been watching “Dora” for as long as she can remember, and recalls growing up with the character. She said that playing the part has yet to sink in.

“I wake up every morning and say I still can’t believe I’m ‘Dora the Explorer!’” she said.

“Dora the Explorer” airs weekdays at 10 a.m. on Nickelodeon.

Steinway Street Swarmed by Shoppers on Black Friday


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

Shoppers swarmed Steinway Street on November 25, searching to save some green on the “blackest” day of the year.

Black Friday took Astoria by storm, as hundreds of residents shopped at stores along one of the neighborhood’s premier streets. Among the shops that offered significant savings were P.C. Richard & Son, GameStop, Gap, Express, Foot Locker and Modell’s.  

“I think all the stores are doing really well this year,” said Renee Borys, who was shopping for clothes and toys for her nephews. “I’m very impressed with the deals. Hopefully I’ll save money today. I couldn’t get up really early this morning. I work in the city and I went to the Toys “R” Us in Times Square last night and it was crazy. It took two and a half hours to get into the electronics section. Black Friday on Steinway Street is way better, and Queens overall is better than the city.”

For some shoppers, Black Friday signals the start to “the most wonderful time of the year.”

“I’m hoping to get good deals here today,” said Martha Jacome, a resident of Ridgewood. “I love the excitement of Black Friday. For me, it means the beginning of Christmas.”

Others were unimpressed with the discount opportunities – treating one of the busiest shopping days of the year as if it were any other Friday.

“I don’t buy into this whole Black Friday thing – it is too crazy,” said Atlas Kalmeta, who was visiting P.C. Richard & Son to purchase touch-up paint. “Peoples’ priorities are all wrong. The commercialism is ridiculous. People are willing to kill each other for electronics. It is not a priority for me.”