Ever thought of looking at poor families in line for a food bank as entertainment? Well, Real Bronx Tours did.
The New York tour-bus company offered, until earlier this week, a sightseeing jaunt featuring "a ride through a real New York City 'GHETTO,' " where tourists could gawk at poor families in line for food banks. But according to Gothamist, community outrage made the company change its tune.
The tours were led by one Lynn Battaglia, originally from Pittsburgh. According to the [New York] Post, one of the tour's lowpoints was St. Mary's Park, where she told the group, "If it were 1980 and you said to me, 'Lynn, I want to die.' My answer would be, 'You're in the right neighborhood.'" And she warned that the park was still scary and dangerous, crawling with pickpockets and con artists who would rip you off — which is why you need to pay Battaglia $45 to teach you street smarts!
Well, all that's over — has shiftor is it? It appears the company is still offering the tours through its website, but it's no longer describing them as "ghetto" tours. (You can see the archived version of the site here.) Instead the tour now promises a taste "of the real Boogie Down Bronx." But the Post reports today that the Bronx Tourism Council has received a letter from the company promising to "cease all scheduled tours to the Bronx."
"To have foreigners come and gawk at a long line of people who are less fortunate than they are and to make money off of that and to view them as they are some sort of entertainment is pretty disgusting," Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz told the tabloid.
Read more at Gothamist.