Abu Dhabi In Times Square, May 2014

Abu Dhabi Hits Times Square

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The seductive red glow seeping out of a massive white tent at Duffy Square in Times Square drew a steady stream of curious visitors this afternoon—part of a free, four-day pop-up visitors center, A Taste of Abu Dhabi, set up by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. Operating from 10am-9pm daily now through May 19, the pop-up is meant to signal the arrival of a New York–based Abu Dhabi tourism office (in Trump Tower) and to raise awareness of this United Arab Emirates capital as a beautiful, cultured, cutting-edge travel destination.

Though the splashy gimmick confused some tourists (who stood on the tent-entry line thinking they were queuing up for Broadway-show tickets at the nearby TKTS booth), most seemed to know where they were, and were curious to learn more about a far-flung destination they knew little about. Inside, guests were shuttled through various stations, treated to platters of dates, tiny cups of strong coffee, henna tattoos, dabs of essential oils like frankincense and sandalwood, and photos of themselves (to be posted online) posing in traditional Arabic garb along with a rather timid-looking falcon. A final stop featured a promotional video about Abu Dhabi, chock full of images including architectural wonders, wide sandy deserts, beautiful beaches, the iconic YAS Hotel and the world’s largest theme park, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, with the world’s fastest roller coaster.  Read more…