Hey, Mr. Mayor, we’re over here!
Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a new initiative, Neighborhood X Neighborhood, “designed to support local businesses and encourage tourism in neighborhoods outside traditional tourist locations across five boroughs.” But according to the Brooklyn map that goes along with the initiative, nothing south of Prospect Park appears to be worth seeing.
The guide focuses on Bushwick, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, BoCoCa, Downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Williamsburg. In addition, City Sights NYC, a large tour bus company, is “expanding” its services to Brooklyn. Buses will go over the Brooklyn Bridge, but only stop off at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Brooklyn Museum and the Barclays Center.
But the hundreds of thousands who live and grew up in the southern portion of Brooklyn – neighborhoods such as Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Sunset Park, Canarsie, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Marine Park, Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach, to name a few, say they are frustrated with constantly being shortchanged.
These neighborhoods have a plethora of tourism-worthy sights from colonial-era farmhouses and churches to awe-inspiring nature trails and promenades, plus restaurants featuring foods from around the world.
“The city wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for us. We didn’t run away when things got tough,” said Victoria Hofmo, a lifelong Ridgeite and president of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum, adding that Bay Ridge is home to the city’s oldest street fair, the Third Avenue Festival, and has fantastic access to the waterfront.
“I pay New York City taxes. It’s not really fair that [southern Brooklyn] gets cut off,” she said. “Obviously you take resources from us. We should be getting the same services from the mayor.
“We have authentic neighborhoods,” Hofmo contended. “It’s not created, it actually exists. The administration is not including us and it’s a huge problem.”
Browse our Short Tourism Guide To Southern Brooklyn here.