Cultural tourism takes plenty of malodorous forms, but there’s a mild difference between drunken co-eds wearing Native American headdresses at music festivals and what’s been found at a Bronx bus company advertising “a ride through a real New York City ‘GHETTO'” which just turns out to be… the Bronx. The New York Post has a galling account of going on a tour with Real Bronx Tours, which shepherded a bus full of “mainly white Europeans and Australians” through some of the Bronx’s less immediately photogenic spots such as a food pantry line, while dropping insensitive narration intended to other for the audience delight.
This quote was a particular lowlight—“I might encourage you to walk with a New Yorker, not because you’re going to get shot, just because sometimes people take advantage if they know you’re a tourist, either charge you too much or maybe someone would pick your pocket”—but the whole trip is fairly appalling, because it’s 2013 and yet there are people treating an entire borough like it’s a novelty to gawk at from behind a safe space. There’s already a stereotype of New York City as glamorous Manhattan and artisinal Brooklyn only, with less attention paid to Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island—and with stuff like this, it’s easy to see why. See all the poors congregating to be fed! Joke about all the murders that used to happen 30 years ago! This and more for the low, low price of your empathy and/or common sense. Come, let us shame this shitty business into change or fiscal insolvency.