Thursday, March 1, 2007

New Bronx City

The Bronx is building.

The Bronx is beatifying.

The Bronx is blooming.

The Bronx is Bloomberging.

The Mayor of New York has launched a campaign to lure 50 million tourists a year. He hired a Madison Avenue marketing agency to convince the world that the city is not too costly or too dirty or too dangerous.

News like this never used to reach the Bronx. No matter how they spun Madison Avenue, the poorest borough in the city was always too dirty and too dangerous.

But things are changing. Over four million people came to Yankee Stadium and they don’t want them scared off by our grime and crime.

It starts with a new awning at the Yankee Deli-Grocery, then a reconstructed underpass on East 161st Street, and eventually a whole new Stadium.

Tourists, it seems, want a ball yard that is equal parts shopping mall and theme park.

They call it Heaven in the suburbs.

We call it Hell in the Bronx.

We love our intimidating old Stadium. We like our rats big, our passages narrow, our stairs treacherous, and our seats steep enough to make first-timers queasy.

But we are losing that edge. Suburban hipsters will soon stroll leisurely along friendly concourses lined with cute little shops before walking up wide aisles to spill stuff on our scorecards.

The Bronx is really burning.

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