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Ghetto Tours Stopped: Outraged Residents Protest South Bronx Bus Tour Company

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: May 23, 2013 01:07 PM EDT

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A series of "ghetto" tours has been stopped after Bronx residents protested against the tour company that provided them.

Real Bronx Tours had a tour that took tourists from Manhattan to the South Bronx by bus so they could see it "from a safe distance." The company announced this week that it is going to stop the tours immediately.

The bus tours left three time a week for $45 and took tourists past food-pantry lines, a housing project and a park a guide described as a pickpocket hangout, the Associated Press reported. The company advertised the South Bronx as a dangerous location, saying "this borough was notorious for drugs, gangs, crime and murders."

The Bronx is also famous for large fires as hundreds of buildings were destroyed by landlords who wanted to collect insurance money.
Yet residents weren't happy with the way their neighborhood was being represented on the tour.

"Those days are over, the Bronx is being rebuilt, it's rising again,"  Bronx resident and Grammy-nominated musician Bobby Sanabria told AP.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Councilwoman Melissa
Mark-Viverito sent a letter to the company on Monday saying that they were "sickened by the despicable way" the borough was being portrayed to tourists.

"We strongly urge you to stop profiting off of a tour that misrepresents the Bronx 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," the letter read.

The tour company's website is now down. It is not clear if the company is going to operate any tours. The company has been removed from NYC & Company, the city's tourism bureau.

Other tour companies still offer guided tours to the Bronx. Many focus on the positive aspects such as the Art Deco architecture and Yankee Stadium.

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