Foreigners, who are looking to witness from a safe distance, what a “real ghetto” looks like are paying $45 a pop to take a bus tour through the Bronx, and borough politicos are up in arms, according to the New York Post.
Real Bronx Tours are taking mainly White Europeans and Australians on a tour of the Bronx with stops at for photo ops at a food-pantry line, “pickpocket” park, and housing projects.
According to an unnamed patron on the tour, one of the guides, Lynn Battaglia (pictured), from Pittsburgh, poked fun at impoverished areas, describing the South Bronx, in particular, as a crime-ridden borough infested with poverty and violence, which has plagued the area since the 1970s.
At one point during the tour, Battaglia allegedly told the tourists in front of pantry line, “I don’t know what that line’s about, but every Wednesday we see it,” Battaglia told the tourists. “We see them go in with empty carts, and we see them come out with carts full.”
The bus then reportedly stopped in front of St. Mary’s Park, where she reportedly told the foreigners, “If it were 1980, and you said to me, ‘Lynn, I want to die.’ My answer would be, ‘You’re in the right neighborhood,’” suggesting that the park is unsafe.
As the tour continued, Battaglia allegedly also blamed the borough for coming up with the term “pig” to describe police, “The policeman, his name is Patty, and he would walk up and down that street, and if he ran into an alcoholic, he’d beat them mercilessly. So they’d call him ‘Patty the Pig,’” she said.
“Pig” actually originated in London in 1811!
Borough President Ruben Diaz is incensed about the tour and referred to its guide as “the biggest fool on the planet.” Diaz added, “They should tell people about the Bronx that we all know, and that’s the Bronx that’s had the lowest crime rate since 1963 last year.” Diaz contends, “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 though they are some sort of entertainment is pretty disgusting.”
Meanwhile, Real Bronx Tours failed to provide a comment to the New York Post when contacted.
As an added note, I am from the Bronx and not only has crime gone down, but the borough has been significantly redeveloped since the ’80s. The Bronx is the birthplace of hip-hop, one of the centers of African-American culture, home to the legendary baseball team the Yankees, and has one of the world’s largest metropolitan zoos.
The borough’s yesteryear image of being a lunar wasteland was perpetuated by those who are myopic and pessimistic. And today, the Bronx stands as a shining renaissance!