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Organizers Plan ‘Nametag Day’ To Make New York A ‘Happier City’

Volunteers To Hand Out As Many As 200,000 Name Tags On June 1
Woman Puts On Name Tag

A single New Yorker puts on her name tag before an 8 Minute Dating speed dating event May 27, 2003 in New York City. (Credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Real life will imitate a “Seinfeld” episode in about a month, as a group is encouraging New Yorkers to spend a day wearing nametags.

Organizers, led by Williamsburg filmmaker Michael Morgenstern, have declared Saturday, June 1, Nametag Day in New York City. Between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. that day, volunteers all around the city will hand out tens of thousands of nametags in an effort to “encourage New Yorkers to talk to each other more and make the city friendlier.”

“The size of the event depends on who gets excited about it,” Morgenstern said in a news release. “We want to hand out 200,000 of these, and if we can, we will.”

Organizers hope to encourage people to interact who otherwise might not, and break down social, demographic and other barriers that might stand in the way of friendliness.

“A nametag is more than a name. It says, ‘Hi! I want to talk to you,’” Morgenstern said in the release. “That openness propagates outward exponentially over time to make a happier city. Think of the number of conversations or joyfully spontaneous interactions that will be had by everyone who takes a name tag.”

Nametag Day has set up a website urging people to volunteer to hand out nametags, or help document the day by tweeting photos and videos from Instagram and YouTube.

If the idea sounds familiar, it was suggested almost 20 years ago in the Seinfeld episode “The Non-Fat Yogurt.” The episode dramatizes the then-current mayoral contest between David Dinkins and Rudolph Guiliani, and involves Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Elaine Benes character suggesting the idea of handing out name tags citywide to her boyfriend as a campaign idea for Dinkins.

“Nametags! Nametags!” Jason Alexander’s George Costanza character said in the episode. “What kind of an idiot thinks anybody would be interested in an idea like that?”

The news release about the real upcoming Nametag Day did not mention any current mayoral candidates weighing in on the idea.

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