A New York company offering tours of Bronx neighborhoods has shut down after officials objected to its advertising that claimed to give visitors “a ride through a real New York City ‘ghetto’,” according to a statement from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The tour’s controversial description states that when thinking of the Bronx, people envision when the borough “was notorious for drugs, gangs, crime and murders.” It promises to take visitors on a three-hour journey into “this diverse and mysterious borough called the Bronx.”
The website for the tour company, Real Bronx Tours, was no longer accessible on Thursday, but an advertisement for the tour is still viewable on NewYorkPass.com, a site intended for purchasing tourism tickets.
According to an open letter on Monday from Diaz and New York City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, the tour strongly misrepresents the borough.
The letter, addressed to Real Bronx Tours company owner Michael Myers, urges the company to stop profiting off of a tour that paints the borough “as a haven for poverty and crime, while mocking everything from our landmarks to the less fortunate members of our community who are availing themselves of food assistance programs.”
“Using the Bronx to sell a so-called ‘ghetto’ experience to tourists is completely unacceptable and the highest insult to the communities we represent,” the letter read.
In a second statement from Diaz on Tuesday, he announced that in response, the tour company had decided to end its “inaccurate and disrespectful tours.”