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Harlem Rocket Announces UniverSoul Circus as Sponsor for New High-Speed Waterfront Tours, Activations

<strong>Harlem Rocket Announces UniverSoul Circus as Sponsor for New High-Speed Waterfront Tours, Activations</strong>

The Harlem Rocket, an exciting high-speed boat tour on the Hudson River, has announced a new sponsorship and collaboration with UniverSoul Circus, the world-class, live entertainment attraction that has captured the hearts and imaginations of over 19 million people. The May 2023 debut of the Harlem Rocket, launching on the famed Harlem and Upper Manhattan waterfront at the award-winning West Harlem Piers, brings a new, Black-owned attraction with cross-promotions of UniverSoul Circus, the African American-owned and operated company led by founder and CEO Cedric Walker.

“It is absolutely thrilling to join forces with UniverSoul Circus, a world-renowned, storied entertainment group capturing the hearts and imaginations of a new generation of families for over three decades,” says Garry A. Johnson, founder and CEO of Paradise Express Ferry and Harlem Rocket LLC. “As thrilling as it is educational, the 90-passenger Harlem Rocket tours aspire to make a similar impact — a memorable and unparalleled experience that shares unique cultural and historical contributions to the surrounding community.”

UniverSoul Circus joins a growing list of founding supporters and collaborators for the Harlem Rocket, the first phase of the Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative, adds Johnson. Other sponsors include global maritime electronics leader Raymarine, joining in late last year.

“At UniverSoul Circus everyone gets to share in our culture and the audience leaves with the excitement of everyone belonging, it is truly a transcultural experience,” says Universoul Circus CEO Cedric Walker. “Just as the UniverSoul Circus is for all to enjoy, The Harlem Rocket is a new immersive experience created by Garry Johnson’s team for the people to join in and participate in the fascinating story of Harlem’s waterfront.”

The Harlem Rocket, a uniquely branded and technology-enhanced maritime attraction, integrates novel drone, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-storage technologies so that guests can capture and share their experiences of the Upper Manhattan waterfront and the New York City skyline, “like never before.” Part of the Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative, it will join with other new attractions to create a “one-of-a-kind tourist destination and cultural center employing hundreds of local residents,” adds Johnson.

Led by Paradise Express Ferry, New York City’s only Black-owned, Harlem-based commercial maritime operator, the Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative and the Harlem Rocket are sparking a dynamic economic development engine that mitigates the higher unemployment rates and negative health outcomes experienced in a historic African American community. According to Johnson, who also volunteers his time as Economic Development Chairman for the NAACP New York State Conference, the broader initiative utilizes a workforce development model to create exciting career opportunities and jobs that empower local communities and sustain scalable economic development, not only in maritime operations but also in renewable energy and offshore wind.

“We are delighted to partner with the Harlem Rocket and collaborate on new entertainment experiences and a long-term vision of the Harlem waterfront, a location that is beautiful yet underserved,” says Paula D. Murphy, executive vice president and COO of UniverSoul Circus. “This is such an influential and significant place, a flash point for art, music, literary genius and social consciousness, and Garry’s team joins us in crafting forward-thinking ways of transforming it into a magnetic and sustainable global destination.”

Says Michael A. Preston, cofounder and vice president of Government Affairs & Customer Experience at Paradise Express Ferry, “We are so excited to welcome UniverSoul Circus as a founding sponsor. We share the same goals and beliefs in not only the historic importance of Harlem but also its potential as one of the world’s most innovative and exciting places full of unforgettable experiences.”

Preston adds that both Harlem Rocket and UniverSoul Circus are committed to bringing new skills and career opportunities for young people in such areas a maritime, hospitality and tourism. “Our attractions and initiatives stimulate local spending, create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in the maritime, entertainment, and related sectors in the community, and encourage business growth along the waterfront,” he says.

In addition to securing sponsor support, The Harlem Rocket has generated wide enthusiasm among local government and community leaders. When the first tour launches in May 2023, it will be the first major new tourist attraction in Harlem in over 30 years — marking a new era of opportunity, prosperity and family fun in a historic New York City neighborhood.