Published May 20, 2013
Tourists are crowding onto a Bronx bus tour that promises “a ride through a real New York City ‘GHETTO’ ” — and local politicians are furious.
Three times a week, Real Bronx Tours takes riders — mainly white Europeans and Australians — on a trip that includes stops at food-pantry lines and a “pickpocket” park.
Last week, on the first stop of the $45 tour, guide Lynn Battaglia, from Pittsburgh, pointed out a housing project. She then mocked the Grand Concourse, modeled after a Parisian boulevard.
“Do you feel like we’re on the Champs-Elysées?” she teased a couple from Paris.
As the bus idled across from historic St. Ann’s Episcopalian Church, Battaglia launched into a description of the crime, poverty and violence that plagued the South Bronx during the 1970s recession.
As she spoke, a line of two dozen poor people — including one man visibly agitated by the onlookers — waited for handouts from the church pantry.