NEW YORK (AP) — A company that promised sightseer tours to the Bronx that included a New York City "ghetto" has stopped the bus rides under protest from an outraged neighborhood.
Real Bronx Tours, which took mostly European tourists from Manhattan to see life in the South Bronx "from a safe distance," issued a statement last week saying it would immediately cease all tours there.
Three times a week, the $45 ride took visitors past food-pantry lines, a housing project and a park a guide described as a pickpocket hangout.
Tourists were told they’d get a look at the Bronx that reflects one of the darkest chapters of the city’s history, the 1970s and ’80s, when the tour website said "this borough was notorious for drugs, gangs, crime and murders."
The Bronx lost hundreds of buildings to fires intentionally set by landlords to collect insurance money, hence the phrase, "the Bronx is burning."
On Monday, Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito sent an open letter to the company owner, Michael Myers, saying they were "sickened by the despicable way" the borough was being portrayed to outsiders.
The tour company did not respond to calls and emails requesting comment. It was not clear whether they would resume any of their tours. And by Thursday, the website of the company was no longer accessible.
Other companies in the city still offer regular guided trips to the Bronx.