New York City has been the backdrop for countless cinematic gems, productions and series, and this year the Mayor will be celebrating 50 years of movie-history magic making. This week Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Commissioner Julie Menin launched new initiatives to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting.

During a kickoff event at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, Mayor de Blasio announced renowned New York City entertainment leaders as MOME Ambassadors, including Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, John Leguizamo, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal.

Over the next 12 months, MOME’s Ambassadors will serve as representatives of NYC’s booming media and entertainment industries, promoting the contributions of artists, entertainers, and professionals to the City’s cultural identity and thriving creative economy. Created in 1966 by then-Mayor John Lindsay, over the last 50 years, the Office has seen explosive growth in the industry–bringing in nearly $9 billion to the City–with this past season shattering records for film and television production.

“New York City becomes a character all its own in the films and television shows that are made here. This landmark anniversary is an opportunity to look back and delight in all of the incredible cultural moments that the entertainment industry here in New York has made possible. I thank our MOME Ambassadors for helping us ring in this spectacular year of events, and look forward to sharing in these celebrations with New Yorkers in all five boroughs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

At today’s event, MOME announced the launch of the following initiatives:

50 for 50: In celebration of the 50th anniversary, MOME will present 50 free events throughout the upcoming year that will provide an inside look at New York’s entertainment industry. All 50 events will be open to the public.

Access Broadway: Over 1,000 free tickets to Broadway shows throughout the year for NYCHA residents.

MOME Movie Matinees: A wide-ranging partnership to provide low-income New York City families in all five boroughs with over 1,000 tickets to attend feature films free of charge in theatres during the month of August.

Broadway in the Boroughs: In an effort to bring Broadway to new audiences, MOME will stage free performances in each borough this summer.

’50 Years of Magic’ mobile app: Free mobile app will provide up-to-date details on all of the 50th anniversary events throughout the year, as well as an interactive map featuring highlights from NYC’s expansive film and TV history.

Industry Retrospective – 50 Years of TV and Film in NYC: New report highlighting achievements of NYC’s film and TV sectors, and their contributions to the City’s economy.

“Fifty years after the formation of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the prospects for New York City’s film and TV industry have never looked brighter. The industry generates nearly $9 billion annually for the City’s economy – up 21% from just four years ago – and employs over 130,000 hardworking New Yorkers with good-paying jobs. We are thrilled to present this year of events and initiatives aimed at exposing New Yorkers from all backgrounds to everything that the media and entertainment sectors have to offer,” said Commissioner Julie Menin.

Prior to the creation of the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting fifty years ago, filming in New York City was extremely onerous, often requiring producers to obtain upwards of 50 permits to film projects. Gaining access to some of New York’s most popular locations was challenging and some officials would block filming based on the subject matter. Mayor Lindsay’s establishment of an official film commission would address these multiple problems and make New York the first city in the world to offer one-stop permits and expedite requests from production companies seeking to use public locations. In an open letter to the public, Mayor Lindsay explained the reasons for encouraging New York-based production. “Each additional feature film or commercial television show means additional jobs for New York residents,” he wrote. “Additional jobs means a healthier economy. And a healthier economy means a healthier city.”

Today, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment serves as a one-stop shop supporting the City’s entertainment industries, and promotes New York as a thriving center of creativity. Each year, MOME issues thousands of permits for filming on public property, facilitating hundreds of film and television projects throughout the five boroughs. New York City stands apart from other film locations as a result of the professionalism and experience of MOME’s production staff, the City’s dedicated NYPD unit that is trained and experienced in managing film shoot scenarios, and MOME’s marketing credit program that creates millions of impressions through free advertisements on NYC subways and buses.

Earlier this year, along with Commissioner Julie Menin’s appointment, Mayor de Blasio also announced MOME’s expansion to encompass the full scope of the media and entertainment industries – including advertising, digital content, music, and publishing. The Agency will also leverage private and public sector real estate assets to drive continued growth across all of these sectors.

MOME’s broader focus reflects the media industry’s growing importance as a key component of New York City’s economy, which creates tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, utilizes a skilled and diverse workforce, brings economic development to neighborhoods across all five boroughs, and promotes New York’s distinct culture to people around the world.

“I am proud to be among MOME’s 50th Anniversary Ambassadors. I fell in love with New York through the movies. I have had the privilege of producing movies and TV in New York for over 30 years. After 9/11 when the city was in its darkest moment, it was the movies that helped create a new memory through the Tribeca Film Festival which over the last 15 years has generated an economic impact of over 900 million dollars to Lower Manhattan,” said Jane Rosenthal, producer and executive Chair of Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder.

“I grew up in New York – I chose to launch my production company here because there is no better setting than New York for your film, no better city to shoot in than New York. I feel fortunate every time I get to make a movie here,” said actor, producer, and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro. “I want to congratulate Julie Menin and the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting on continuing a 50-year legacy of supporting storytelling in our great city.”

“Growing up in New York City, I was inspired by the energy and creativity of the people and places all around me. Attending public schools provided me a phenomenal foundation for my career in music and gave me an understanding of the diversity there is in the world. I’m excited to be an ambassador for MOME this year and support them as they give back to the City’s diverse communities by presenting free events in the outer boroughs in the coming months. This is a great time to be a part of New York’s rich and multi-cultural entertainment industry, and I’m glad to share this moment with New Yorkers from all backgrounds,” said celebrated artist Alicia Keys.

“Throughout my career in film and theatre, my work has been deeply influenced by my upbringing as an immigrant in Queens. The experiences I had in and around my neighborhood as a kid shaped the way I think about the world and express myself through art. Having received a Made in NY award back in 2011, I am grateful to once again receive an honor from MOME during this landmark year – and to help share these 50th anniversary celebrations with all New Yorkers,” said actor John Leguizamo.

You can find more information on the 50 free events that will popping up all over the city on the official website dedicated to the initiative.