- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The company Real Bronx Tours has dropped its billed trips to see a real, live New York City “ghetto,” after local politicians railed and termed the tourist draw — which grabbed at the European and Australian market — a despicable example of capitalism run amok.

“I am happy to hear that ‘Real Bronx Tours‘ has decided to end its inaccurate and disrespectful tours of our beautiful borough,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., in a written statement. “The Bronx has come a long way in the past few years, and we will not accept such a despicable and irresponsible depiction of our borough.”

He was referring to the tour highlights touted by the bus company: The marked stops to point out high-crime areas. The pauses to gawk at church food pantry recipients. The pointed remarks about a park that was once a noted crime zone.

“We are more than happy to welcome tours to our community that celebrate the rich culture and history of our neighborhoods,” Mr. Diaz said. “But using the Bronx to sell a so-called ‘ghetto’ experience to tourists is completely unacceptable.”

The tours came to light earlier this week with a New York Post story on the $45-per-ticket trip. The Post said that Europeans and Australians were especially drawn to the bus ride. Tour guides would tell them to “walk with a New Yorker” through one South Bronx park because even though crime rates had improved, the chance that “maybe someone would pick your pocket” was still high, The New York Times reported.

Mr. Diaz said he now wants the company to apologize.

“Although ‘Real Bronx Tours‘ has reconsidered and is no longer hosting this tour, I ask the company to communicate an official apology to the 1.4 million residents of this great borough for their terrible portrayal of our communities,” he said in his written statement.

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