snug-harbor-staten-island Hey, NYC tourists, forget Times Square, the Financial District and Soho — Staten Island is where it’s at.

Starting next month, New York’s tourism offices will start promoting lesser-known neighborhoods, such as Jackson Heights, Washington Heights, Fort Greene and Staten Island’s Snug Harbor. The campaign, which kicks off March 6, will highlight a different area every month, city tourism branch NYC & Company told DNAinfo.

“They’re places that are fun and exciting and that really embody the ever-changing energy of the city,” NYC & Co. spokeswoman Kimberly Spell told DNAinfo. “These neighborhoods are hidden gems.”

The city hosted a record-breaking 52 million visitors in 2012, up 2.1 percent from the previous year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office announced December 31. Tourists “generated an estimated $55.3 billion in economic impact to the city’s economy, with direct spending reaching $36.9 billion.” The Big Apple’s goal is to hit 55 million visitors and $70 billion in economic impact by 2015.

The new campaign aims to spread the tourism wealth beyond the usual geographic suspects and to appeal to budget-minded travelers, who might balk at dropping $500 a night for a hotel in Midtown.

But how will NYC & Co. lure tourists away from iconic, Sex-and-the-City sights? Spell hopes that new, zeitgeist-y shows, such as HBO’s Girls, might encourage travelers to go off the beaten (and beaten, and beaten) path: “We see it as part of our job to kind of level the playing field for the other boroughs.”

We’re all for exploring new neighborhoods and making NYC less prohibitively expensive for travelers. But don’t blame us when tourists leave New York with a bad impression because the first thing they saw was the Gowanus Canal.

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