As you already read here and probably elsewhere, this past weekend, The New York Post published an article on Real Bronx Tours that was offering a “ghetto” tour of our borough to mostly Australian and European tourists at $45 bucks a pop.
As of Monday, the company has since stopped its Bronx tours as pressure mounted by angry Bronxites and folks all around the internet who were upset at how we were not only being portrayed but also treated as if we were some sort of zoological exhibit.
There’s even a silver lining to all of this.
After conversations with the Bronx Borough President’s office as well as with Olga Luz Tirado, who in June of last year was named as executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council, I was able to encourage them to check out MCNY Tours which not only provides quality, historical tours of the Bronx but most importantly, it is run by Bronxite Alexandra Maruri and is a Bronx based company – one of our very own.
Olga Luz Tirado agreed that it is important to utilize our best resources – our residents – whenever available and that her office is and will continue to do so whenever the opportunity arrises. It was a pleasant discussion on our love and passion for the Bronx and Olga’s dedication to promoting our great borough to the North we know that literally the rest of the world is missing out on.
(Watch Olga Luz Tirado and Alexandra Maruri being interviewed by PIX11’s Joe Mauceri)
Many lessons have come out of this negative fiasco. What happened with this disgusting tour company is the very reason I launched Welcome2Melrose and Welcome2TheBronx over 3 years ago for I was tired of the one sided stories filled with negative imagery of our community being published.
These last several days since the story was first reported by the New York Post proved to me once more about the power of our voices. It has been a wonderful community building exercise that brought together people on a very grassroots level and provided a platform for the citizens to interact with our government. It also proves to me once more that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We must NEVER stop speaking up.
This is a big win for our borough for it shows that we will not tolerate the exploitation of our fellow Bronxites let alone let some outsiders control our narrative. We pull together, make our rounds of calls to other concerned citizens and get things done. Consider this a fair warning to any entity who thinks that they will come into our borough and do such things and think they won’t be exposed.
Don’t forget to check out MCNY Tours and also thank Olga for her tough job of promoting our borough’s image. As the executive director of the Bronx Tourism Council, in many ways she is one of our top ambassadors and has to battle decades of negative media abuse of our hometown that is still seared into the psyche of the rest of the world.