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.
“I don’t know what that line’s about, but every Wednesday we see it,” Battaglia told the tourists. “We see them go in with empty carts, and we see them come out with carts full.”
The bus stopped in front of St. Mary’s Park, where she credited Mayor Rudy Giuliani for curbing crime.
“If it were 1980 and you said to me, ‘Lynn, I want to die.’ My answer would be, ‘You’re in the right neighborhood,’ ” she said.
Read more: NYPost.com